This essay explores the relation between the feminist present, its recent past, and its possible futures using Shulamith Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex (1970) as a point of reference. Rather than conceive 1970s feminism as either a dead relic of a superseded past or a living legacy, the analysis experiments with temporalities of feminist theory that might better account for both continuity and rupture, for our attractions and repulsions to different moments. This discussion of feminist time focuses on four concepts designed to animate different possibilities for thinking about the present and future of feminist theory. The first of these frames the Dialectic as a utopian manifesto; the second poses it as a vanishing mediator; the third casts the contrast between Firestone's Dialectic and her second book, Airless Spaces (1998), as an allegory of the present; and the fourth presents the Dialectic as an archive of the future.
Skip Nav Destination
Kathi Weeks; The Vanishing Dialectic: Shulamith Firestone and the Future of the Feminist 1970s. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2015; 114 (4): 735–754. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-3157111
Download citation file: