The Feminist Futures of Reading Diffractively: How Barad's Methodology Replaces Conflict-based Readings of Beauvoir and Irigaray

Rhizomes 30 (1) (2016)
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Quantum leaps happen in texts, too. This reading of the role of the quantum leap in Karen Barad's agential realism is necessary, because arguing that the diffractive reading strategy proposed by Barad's ethico-onto-epistemology mirrors the physical phenomenon of diffraction would indeed be representationalist. Reviewing how Barad—in her own oeuvre—has transformed diffraction into an innovative reading methodology that could not only potentially challenge the epistemological underpinnings of the canonization process that is at work in feminist theory, but could also radically change the canonization practice of feminist oeuvres itself, our article embarks on a detailed examination of the ways in which the oeuvres of Simone de Beauvoir and Luce Irigaray have been mistakenly categorized and canonized in a hierarchical and Oedipalized manner. This conflict-based narrative has not only paralyzed the oeuvres of Irigaray and Beauvoir, but also has had a negative impact on the canonization of sexual difference philosophy as a whole in feminist theory. By (re)reading the oeuvres diffractively, this article brings the feminist philosophies of Beauvoir and Irigaray together by invalidating the idea that the feminist canonization process always has to run along the lines of discontinuity, Oedipalization and dialectization.

Author Profiles

Evelien Geerts
University of Birmingham
Iris Van Der Tuin
Utrecht University


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