This article proposes that returning Denise Riley’s work on (and troubling of) the category of “women” offers a feminist theorizing and politics that remains both critical and relevant to the political present. It argues that reading Riley again, alongside other anti-essentialist feminist thinkers, reveals the distinctiveness, force, and capaciousness of her project, which lay in her attention to historicity, form, language, and affect. It is precisely the poetics of Riley’s feminist thought that sustain the critical orientation that must animate feminism’s utopian desires.

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