Fantasies of Gender and the Witch in Feminist Theory and Literature
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Purdue University Press
Series: Comparative Cultural Studies
Focusing on the contemporary representations of the "witch" as a locus for the cultural negotiation of genders, in this book I revisit some of the most prominent traits in past and current feminist perceptions of exclusion and difference. I examine a selection of twentieth-century North American (U.S. and Canadian) and European narratives to reveal the continued political relevance of metaphors sustained in the fantasy of the "witch," widely thought...
Chapter One. Functions and Risks of Radical Feminist "Witches"
While rereading the radical feminist versions of the "witch" figure in 1970s scholarship, it is possible to conclude that no matter who she is, or whom she supposedly represents, the "witch" remains a benevolent "wise-woman," a victim of phallogocentric hegemonies. This particular identity construction derives from mythic stories of the "Burning Times" and beliefs in the "Craft of the Wise," both drawing on the historically documented medieval and postmedieval European witch-craze. Following Diane Purkiss, most of these "mythic" sources...
Chapter Two. Splitting the Feminist Subject
The theory and narratives discussed in this chapter shift our attention from the witch as a fantasmatic therapy of a/the woman in culture towards an archaic mother of the semiotic. This archaic figure is of importance here in the context of feminist identifications with the loss of the semiotic mother rather than the loss of the symbolic phallus. The concept of the archaic mother as a continuous separation has been thoroughly explored...
Chapter Three. The Embarrassed "etc." at the End of the List
Building on feminist reconstructions of the hysteric and the archaic mother discussed in previous chapters, I set out to examine the conceptual knots that confuse and hold together historical and contemporary identifications of subjectivity with the social meaning of the symbolic. The constitutive and primary importance of "sexual difference" (Irigaray) within...
Based on tenets of the framework of comparative cultural studies, a framework that pays particular attention to all minorities, the marginal, and the Other and embraces a nonessentialist world view, the narratives analyzed in the first chapter of my book illustrate the second-wave feminist sense of urgency and the need to create a common identification with the historical...
Page Count: 198
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Comparative Cultural Studies
Series Editor Byline: Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek See more Books in this Series
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