Thursday, March 8, 2012, 4:15 pm
Millett Hall Atrium
Women’s History Month Keynote Address:
The Reversible Flesh of Women and Nonhuman Animals: Rethinking Connection and Difference in Feminist Theory
Although Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved is rarely recognized for its critical portrayals of our varied abuses of nonhuman animals, the bodily experiences of these animals are crucial to the story of violation that the main character, Sethe, returns to again and again throughout the text. Jennifer McWeeny analyzes Morrison’s novel with reference to two areas of feminist theory that are rarely put into dialogue with one another: ecofeminism, whose main proponents have traditionally been white women, and intersectionality theory, which has primarily been put forth by women of color. Through an examination of Morrison’s descriptions of these interspecies relationships, Dr. McWeeny develops a theory of how the lives of oppressed/resistant beings are irrevocably connected to one another while also acknowledging radical differences between these beings. Dr. McWeeny’s account, which is inspired by the philosophical concept of “reversible flesh,” aims to envision the possibility of feminist political coalition that is firmly based in the bodily experiences of the oppressed and yet, does not succumb to the dangers of biological essentialism.
Sponsored by the Women’s Center and Women’s Studies Program.
For more information, contact the WSU Women’s Center at (937) 775-4524.