Notes towards a surfacing of feminist theoretical turns

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Coleman, Rebecca (2016)
  • Publisher: Routledge

This article suggests that feminist theoretical turns are illuminating to study, as they make explicit how Western feminist theory is interested not only in the content of different theoretical turns, but also, relatedly, in how these turns move feminist theory in particular directions. Exploring some of the current and historical debate about turns in feminist theory, I pay particular attention to how these debates might be understood in terms of a wide range of work on the non-linear temporalities of feminist theory. I suggest that one way to understand the non-linear temporalities evident in debates over feminist theoretical turns is through a ‘turn to the surface’. To explicate this suggestion, I offer a series of five indicative issues, terms and ideas, which emerge both from recent work on the surface and feminist theory, and from my attempts to think conceptually about turns, surfaces, and the relations between them. These are: (i) reflexivity; (ii) possibility; (iii) lines; (iv) knots; and (v) diagrams. I conclude by raising a number of further points that emerge through an attempt to engage in the surfacing of feminist theory.
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