NFY lecture: Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir: Reading Irigaray and Butler in the Light of Nietzsche´s Philosophy of the Body

Lecture at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, meeting room second floor, Thursday October 29, 16.15-18.

Luce Irigaray claims that the question of sexual difference is the most important question of our times. The pertinent problems of our  global world are for her based in this question. Judith Butler has been an influential thinker for the politics of difference that have been especially central for contemporary leftist, liberal politics. Both Butler and Irigaray have the body as a focal point of their philosophies, and both are influenced by Nietzsche’s philosophy of the body. In her lecture Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir will raise and discuss the following questions: How is Nietzsche´s philosophy of the body and sexual difference reflected in the works of Irigaray and Butler? How does their Nietzschean philosophical background make apparent the tension between Irigarays difference feminism and Butler´s queer theory? Is Butler´s theory in effect not good for women, like Nussbaum argues? Or basically mostly important for human rights battles? And is Irigaray´s difference feminism outdated essentialism or the most radical feminist position within contemporary philosophy? Is her idea of the love of the sexes a viable vision for feminist philosophy and politics?

Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir is professor of philosophy at the University of Iceland who held the Erkko Professorship at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies in 2014-2015.

She has published on Nietzsche, Beauvoir, Arendt, feminist philosophy, philosophy of the body and nature, and women in the history of philosophy. She is one of the founders of the United Nations University Program on Gender Equality Training and Studies, and chair of the gender committee of FISP.

Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir belongs to a group of feminist philosophers from the Universities of Jyväskylä, Iceland, Oslo and Aalborg who will be running four summer schools in feminist philosophy in 2016-2017 (with a grant from Erasmus). This group was also involved in the organization of the recent conference on Women in the History of Philosophy last June at the University of Helsinki, http://blogs.helsinki.fi/shc-helsinki/2015/03/27/women-in-the-history-of-philosophy-june-15-16-2015/

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