This essay concerns the contingent and pluralized history of feminist institutions in academia, arguing against two commonly misconstrued oppositions: first, that between the feminist movement and feminist academic institutions; and second, that between the feminist focus on gender (and women) and on sexuality (and minorities). Feminist institutions, the essay contends, are inseparably both academic and activist. Referring to Jean-François Lyotard’s notion of the différend, the essay posits that these institutions primarily intervene by finding expressions for wrongs that are hard to express in dominant language. Gender equality and sexuality/gender minority issues belong together institutionally because they are strongly implicated in one another: gender hierarchies are ultimately achieved by asserting and enforcing the necessity of gender and through what is here called “the terror of gendering”: when the threat to life replaces the plurality of compulsions of various gendered norms.
Feelings of Injustice: The Institutionalization of Gender Studies and the Pluralization of Feminism
tuija pulkkinen is chair of gender studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and co-editor-in-chief of the journal Redescriptions: Political Theory, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory. Her publications include (with Antu Sorainen) Siveellisyydestä seksuaalisuuteen: Poliittisen käsitteen historia (From Sittlichkeit to Sexuality: The History of a Political Concept) (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2011) and the co-edited volume (with Kimberly Hutchings) Hegel’s Philosophy and Feminist Thought: Beyond Antigone? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). She is currently working on a project on politics of philosophy in contemporary feminist theory.
Tuija Pulkkinen; Feelings of Injustice: The Institutionalization of Gender Studies and the Pluralization of Feminism. differences 1 September 2016; 27 (2): 103–124. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-3621733
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