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

By Lynne Huffer | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
Maternal Pasts

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, Feminist Futures

-6-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Mom 1
  • INTRODUCTION Maternal Pasts 6
  • Nostalgia: The Lost Mother 33
  • Chapter 1- Blanchot's Mother 35
  • Chapter 2- Lips in the Mirror: Irigaray's Specular Mother 55
  • Nostalgia and Ethics: Approaching the Other 71
  • Chapter 3- Imperialist Nostalgia: Kristeva's Maternal 'Chora' 73
  • Chapter 4- Luce 'Et Veritas': Toward an Ethics of Performance 96
  • Toward Another Model 115
  • Afterword Feminist Futures 117
  • 5- CHAPTER From Lesbos to Montreal: Brossard's Urban Fictions 134
  • Reference Matter 141
  • Notes 143
  • Bibliography 179
  • Index 195
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