Feminist and Postmodernist Metamorphoses Reconsidered

The cyborg is a bad girl […] Maybe she is not so much bad as she is a shape-changer, whose dislocations are never free. She is a girl who’s trying not to become Woman, but remain responsible to women of many colors and positions.1

Some differences are playful; some are poles of world historical systems of dominations. “Epistemology” is about knowing the difference2 


The relationship between postmodernism and feminism is one of debate. Often, postmodernism is taken as the “assumed reference point in a debate that has largely taken place within feminism and has authorized feminism’s reflection on itself through either disavowal or disapproval”.3 Against this background, Ahmed wonders how we, as feminists, might be able to read postmodernism differently — “as feminist and for feminism”.4 Put differently, can we reconsider the relationship between feminism and postmodernism — generating some sort of metamorphosis? Is it possible that this relationship is not marked by authority, hierarchy, and exclusion, but, instead, might be understood as being one of mutual and reciprocal productivity?

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  1. Donna Haraway, Constance Penley, and Andrew Ross,  “Cyborgs at Large: Interview with Donna Haraway,” in: Social Text, No. 25/26 (1990): 23.
  2. Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s,” in The Haraway Reader (New York and London: Routledge, 1985/2004), 20.
  3. Sara Ahmed, Differences that Matter: Feminist Theory and Postmodernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 3.
  4. Ahmed, Differences that Matter, 2.

Wie is er bang voor Simone de Beauvoir (boek) – recensie

Deze recensie is geschreven in de vorm van een briefwisseling door Cas Buijs en Esmée van den Wildenberg. Samen bespreken zij een aantal centrale thema’s en vragen die in het boek aan bod komen, waaronder of de De Tweede Sekse een psychoanalyserend werk is en welke rol De Beauvoirs persoonlijke leven speelt.

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Waarom we vrij zijn als we denken (boek) – recensie

Markus Gabriel – Vertaling: Huub Stegeman – Boom (2016), 277 pagina’s, €29,90 – ISBN 9789089538727

Wie Markus Gabriel weleens heeft horen spreken, weet dat de beste man zijn publiek in een rap tempo het ene na het andere argument om de oren slingert. In zijn boeken is dit niet anders. In Waarom we vrij zijn als we denken, het tweede deel van zijn recent volbrachte trilogie, overstelpt Gabriel de lezer evenzo met argumenten, om aan te tonen dat de mens haar betekenis vindt in haar (geestelijke) vrijheid.

In de inleiding wordt al snel duidelijk op wie Gabriel het gemunt heeft. Hoewel hij zich ook afzet tegen religies en elke andere vorm van ideologie, is de grootste vijand in zijn boek de neurowetenschap. Gabriel beargumenteert dat neurowetenschappers zich schuldig maken aan wat hij neurocentrisme noemt: de overtuiging ‘dat er louter een geschikt stel hersenen voor nodig is om ons tot levende wezens met een geest te maken’. Volgens Gabriel reduceren deze wetenschappers de mens en haar geest tot neurologische processen en machines. Ze stellen immers dat alles bestaat uit materie en processuele relaties tussen deze materiële deeltjes. Hiermee sluiten neurowetenschappers uit dat er zoiets bestaat als de vrijheid van de geest: de mens en haar denken zijn volgens hen gedoemd tot neurologische en/of biologische determinatie.

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“When they start singing – I’m out.” An interview with Markus Gabriel

Markus Gabriel during a Radboud Reflects lecture in 2019 © Ted van Aanholt

Last February, the Dutch Society for Phenomenology (recently renamed as the Dutch Society for Phenomenology and Existentialism) organized a two-day conference on phenomenology, existentialism and realism at our very own Radboud University. Keynote speaker was none other than Markus Gabriel, philosophy professor in Bonn and academic superstar among the ranks of Dennett and Žižek. By now, with his forty years, he might have lost the honorary title of being ‘the young god of German philosophy’, but his credentials are as impressive as ever: full time professor at the age of 29, visiting professor at a dozen of universities around the world (among others, UC Berkeley, the Sorbonne, and the universities of Rio de Janeiro, Lisbon, Aarhus and Venice), an extremely prolific output of more than 20 books and a never-ending list of publications, and a fluent speaker of English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish besides his native German (and yes, he can read ancient Greek, Latin, and basic Hebrew and Chinese as well). On top of that, when he is not busy flying around the world to give lectures, attending talk shows, or writing books in taxi’s and hotel rooms, he is a husband and happy father of two.

Somehow, he also managed to have some time for this interview. After a failed attempt on the night of his talk, we finally managed to steal some of his time during the lunch break of the conference. Even the gods must eat after all. What followed was a roller coaster ride of a conversation – the man talks as fast as he thinks – about the questions that keep him awake at night, his thoughts on (the end of) phenomenology and the future of New Realism, his work ethic and his future ambitions. Full of anecdotes, lots of laughter, and quotes in ancient Greek, it was certainly a memorable interview.