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Title: Experimental writing & the encounter-event in feminist readings
Author: Daly, Ruth
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis examines the political ethics of a feminist practice of reading. Without radically attending to questions of difference and Otherness, I contest, feminist literary criticism will remain confined within the most narrow perimeters. Drawing on Bracha L. Ettinger’s feminist interventions in psychoanalytical theory and aesthetic practice, I develop the conceptual resources for the formulation of a reading practice that has the potential to de-phallicise, de-discipline, and de-colonise the reading and academic study of women’s experimental postcolonial writing. Borrowing specific theoretical resources located in feminist psychoanalytical and aesthetic theories, I propose a reading practice that can dismantle and shift the prevailing, colonial relation of the sovereign Subject and the Other who is positioned to consolidate the sovereignty of the Subject. Working from Ettinger’s innovative thesis of the Matrixial as a supplementary dimension in subjectivity, I elaborate a matrixial reading practice, which, I hope to demonstrate, can constitute the production of new knowledges and shift paradigms for feminist readings. What makes Ettinger’s work significant is that she posits a theory of subjectivity that is not premised on the opposition of self and other alone, that is not based on splitting and separation, that is not based on difference as a mode of constituting the hierarchy of the one and its other. While not displacing the phallic from its necessary psychic and linguistic functions, Ettinger supplements our theories of subjectivity with the concept of a primordial proto-subjectivizing, proto-ethical encounter-event that is premised on subjectivity-as-encounter and on severality. This archaic dimension of subjectivity is termed matrixial and it posits a matrixial feminine as a sexual difference that precedes phallic formation and sexual differencing (plus/minus) but persists as the affective foundations for post-natal ethical and aesthetic processes and thus shifts the phallic paradigm, unsettling its deluded sovereignty over all aspects of subjectivity.
Supervisor: Pollock, Griselda Sponsor: University of Leeds
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available