Subjectivity Without Subjects: From Abject Fathers to Desiring Mothers

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9780847692538: Subjectivity Without Subjects: From Abject Fathers to Desiring Mothers
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What do the Promise Keeper's Movement and the Million Man March reveal about our notions of masculinity and paternal responsibility? What can such films as Varda's Vagabond and Bergman's Persona tell us about contemporary notions of masculinity and femininity? In this provocative new book, well-known feminist and philosopher Kelly Oliver examines the dynamics of identity to develop a new theory which challenges traditional notions of paternity and maternity.

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About the Author:

Kelly Oliver is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Family Values: Subjects Between Nature and Culture (1997) and Womanizing Nietzsche: Philosophy's Relation to 'the Feminine'(1995).

Review:

In her brilliant new book, Kelly Oliver shows us why feminists were so right to insist that the personal is political. Oliver provides us with a convincing argument that our basic ideas of mothers and fathers have left us in a world of subjectivity without subjects. Only by confronting the heart of the matter of personal life can we develop an approach to a feminist politics of liberation that might lead all of us to be significantly less discontented. (Drucilla Cornell, Rutgers University)

Subjectivity without Subjects takes on the much-needed project of theorizing identity and subjectivity as loving openness to difference. Oliver argues that theories of witnessing can overcome the limitations of a Hegelian notion of recognition by acknowledging when recognition is impossible. Her account of a subject as an open system provides a response to contemporary debates about responsibility and agency that avoids the trap of conceiving subjects as either completely active or passive. Oliver's reading of such events as the Million Man March and various films provide practical applications of the theoretical points she makes, rendering this book wonderfully accessible to the student and layperson as well as refreshingly concrete. (Tamsin Lorraine, Swarthmore College)

Oliver reaches beyond the limits of professional philosophy without impairing her ability to be theoretically sophisticated. (Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy)

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Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1998
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