Gender workshop - Julia Kisteva and her philosophy com Zuzanna Sanches

The toccatas, the fugues and the origins of Femininity - Julia Kristeva and her philosophy
Zuzanna Sanches (National University of Ireland)
17 de Novembro de 2011, 17h00, Sala 1, CES-Coimbra

Julia Kristeva (born 1941) is a Bulgarian-French philosopher and psychoanalysts. Her writing addresses issues of feminism, abjection, semiotics, motherhood and intertextuality. In Julia Kristeva’s writing existence must be conceived as a relationship of strangers. There the concept of otherness and Otherness mingle where the former stands for the excluded and the latter functions as hypothetical space or place which is of the pure signifier, rather than a physical entity. In this sense strangeness and otherness take on a new meaning not solely within the political sphere but also in psychoanalysis and gender studies. Understanding the intertextuality of our lives can lead us towards experiencing jouissance – total ecstasy or joy at discovering meaning of the meeting between selfhood and otherness: be it in mothering a child or mothering a text.

In this seminar we will be looking closely at Julia Kristeva’s “Toccata and Fugue for the Foreigner”, the first chapter of her Strangers to Ourselves (1991). We will be talking about the theoretical peculiarities of femininity or the ‘women’s time’: their heterogeneity, multiplicity and momentariness according to Kristeva. We will try to answer the question of who is a woman, and whether there is such a place for her, usually designated as feminism.