Luce Irigaray has written that "sexual difference is one of the major philosophical issues, if not the issue, of our age." Spanning metaphysics, phenomenology, and psychoanalysis, her work examines how sexual difference structures being and subjectivity, organizes our experience of the world, and affects the images and discourses involved in knowledge production and practical action. No other philosopher has paid such careful attention to the consequences of the elision of sexual difference in philosophical thought. However, at a time when notions of sexual and gender difference are hotly contested, Irigaray's thought has often been dismissed as essentialist or reductively binary.
This book brings together leading scholars to consider the philosophical implications of Irigaray's writing on sexual difference, particularly for issues of gender and race. Their essays directly confront the charge of essentialism, exploring how Irigaray's thought opens new possibilities for understanding the complexity of gender identities, including nonbinary and trans experiences as well as alternative configurations of masculinity and femininity. Though Irigaray is sometimes accused of a failure to appreciate racial difference, contributors show the productive role of her work in thinking race. This book also illuminates how Irigaray's work provides creative practices that help realign human experience and our relations with nature and each other.
About the Author
Mary C. Rawlinson is professor emerita of philosophy at Stony Brook University and senior research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies, University College London. Her books include, most recently, The Betrayal of Substance: Death, Literature, and Sexual Difference in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (Columbia, 2021), and she is the cofounder of the Luce Irigaray Circle. James Sares is affiliated faculty in philosophy at Emerson College and holds a PhD in philosophy from Stony Brook University. He is the recipient of the 2018 Karen Burke Memorial Prize, awarded by the Irigaray Circle.