Anastassija Kostan „Nature’s Language. Feminist Critique in the New Materialisms” – PhD Thesis
Feminist critique in the New Materialisms is not only a turn to the politics of a radically immanent and relational ontology but shifts its focus from dualistic world views to nonhuman agency. Emphasizing a fundamental ontological inseparability, that in some sense encompasses everything and relates allegedly separate things, Feminist New Materialisms entangle being and knowing on a sub-atomic level. Having a special interest in the performative capacities of matter, they decentralize the human subject which is no longer pictured as someone who discovers, describes, and produces knowledge about an outside world. Moreover, the world is seen as expressing itself while surrounding and pervading the human.
My research brings together Elizabeth Grosz’s and Vicki Kirby’s thought on these new materialist motives in relation to ideality and language. The feminist philosopher Elizabeth Grosz describes the world’s capacities not only as material but also as ideal because of its vitality, vibrancy, and affectivity. For her, the world is constantly thriving in its very materiality and its constant movement, as well as its ongoing becoming creates new futures and open possibilities. She perceives the world’s materiality not as some passive and immutable stuff that is acted upon but as acting, emerging, and generating in ways that we most often do not understand. This is what the feminist sociologist Vicki Kirby calls an ontologically universal, or general language which is not only contingent and fluid, but also has some “weird” features as it is performative in its posthuman modes of relations. Nature is constantly (re-)writing and (re-)reading itself in its very materiality which means that nature has an own language that exceeds human culture that claims to speak the only possible language on earth.
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