Maternal Pasts, Feminist Futures: Nostalgia, Ethics, and the Question of Difference

Maternal Pasts, Feminist Futures: Nostalgia, Ethics, and the Question of Difference

Maternal Pasts, Feminist Futures: Nostalgia, Ethics, and the Question of Difference

Maternal Pasts, Feminist Futures: Nostalgia, Ethics, and the Question of Difference

Synopsis

This book examines the relations among nostalgia, gender, and foundational philosophies through a critique of the lost mother as a ground for thinking about sexual difference. More specifically, the author critiques the nostalgic tendencies of feminist theory, arguing that an emancipatory system of thought must move beyond a maternally oriented structure.

Excerpt

All this time that she remains in the story, in his-tory, she can earn her living only by disturbing the symbolic field. Modifying the first clause, the instrument of reproduction, her only tool. the dissolution of forms, like an end of the world played out on the stage of the flat belly. Her uterus set beside her like a backpack. --NICOLE brossard, L'Amèr

I began by invoking the figure of my lesbian mother. in fact, there's a bit more to this story of women than that: I also have a sister. Alas, I must admit, the place she inhabits in the landscape I'm mapping is even less visible than that of my mother. and yet, my sister's latent presence here promises the possibility of other maps, for reasons that I hope will become clear by the end of the book. For now, let it suffice to say that, symbolically, mother and sister stand at opposite poles of the gendered relational structures this work describes. On one end stands a conservative structure of mother-love in which nostalgia both creates and effaces the object of desire. On the other end stands a more liberatory structure of sister-love in which mutually affirming subjects of desire coexist. It is my hope that by tracing the confining boundaries of the maternal map, the book will open up future sisterly spaces for thinking about relations between women: friends, lovers, feminists in struggle.

So I began this project by asking my sister what she would want to know in reading the introduction to a book called Maternal Pasts, Fem inist Futures . . .

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