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12 January 2023

New Voices Winter Term 22/23 Talk Series on Women and their body: Cornelia Möser


Talk | 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM | Center for the History of Women Philosophers and Scientists

Abstract: When feminists speak about sexuality they sometimes refer to social and political power structure, sometimes to procreation, others speak about pleasure practices or subcultures and even others refer to questions of identity. At the example of the body, these disparities in feminist thought regarding sexuality become even more evident. While the body has been of crucial interest in feminist and LGBTQ thought, it has only rarely been addressed explicitly and many times in quite negative fashion as Simone de Beauvoir’s very negative views on procreation or menstruation. But also Monique Wittig’s writings on the lesbian body struggle with negative association regarding women’s bodies and more particularly desire between them. It was the so called French feminist school and namely Luce Irigaray and Hélène Cixous that tried to find resources for resistance in the female body and its supposed refusal to submit to the rule of the One imposed by phallocracy. Their writings inspired postmodern and queer studies to inquire new views on the sexual body, on differences between female bodies but also on the possibility of finding lust and pleasure in these bodies. Susan Bordo’s work has become canonical in this sense. In this talk I would like to retrace some of the ways in which the body has been thought of in feminist theories on sexuality in discussing first the body in feminist struggles with psychoanalysis, second, I will address the ways in which the feminist sex wars brought the topic of pleasure back into feminist views on sexuality and gender and, third, I would like to present more recent perspectives on the sexual body including the questions of race and of validity. Can we still find revolutionary potential in our sexual and desiring bodies today?

Biography: Cornelia Möser is a researcher in gender and cultural studies at the French CNRS working in the research institute CRESPPA (Center for sociological and political research in Paris) where she is the head of the work group “Gender, work, mobilities”. Since 2013 she is an associated researcher at the Berlin-based Centre Marc Bloch. Her work is focused on feminist, queer and gender studies in France, the United States and Germany, especially since the 1960s. She has published her PhD-thesis on the French and German feminist gender debates and recently published her habilitation thesis under the title “Libérations sexuelles. Une histoire des pensées féministes et queer”.

This online talk will be held on Zoom. I hope many of you will be able to join us for an interesting talk and a friendly and engaged discussion!  Please register (no registration fees) here: contact@historyofwomenphilosophers.org

If you already have registered for the previous talk, you do not have to register again. The Zoom link will be the same.


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