Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of becoming-woman has indeed faced some serious critiques from feminists since it was initiated in A Thousand Plateaus in 1980. It seems to either lead into the re-erasure of female subjectivity, such as Luce Irigaray among others has criticized, or it is seen as too utopian in the face of patriarchal and capitalist power structures. And yet, the inspiration that comes from the Deleuzian thought of becoming is so immense in feminist thinking that I want to suggest to engage more affirmatively with Deleuze and Guattari’s chapter on the different ‘becomings’, and from there develop a most productive line of flight for feminist futures.
For this class I suggest that we engage directly with significant excerpts from A Thousand Plateaus which highlight both the potential and possible ambivalences residing with(in) becoming-woman in Deleuze and Guattari. After having encountered that text I suggest to turn to the Deleuzian feminist philosophers Rosi Braidotti and Elizabeth Grosz whose works show in exemplary ways how to use Deleuzian concepts without abandoning feminist political projects. In their similar yet also diverging Deleuzian feminist legacies, a thorough reflection of sexual difference is combined with a rethinking of ‘difference in itself’, and in a most a/effective manner a more relational thought horizon becomes possible that changes both our ontological and our ethico-political points of view.
For this class I suggest next to the excerpts from A Thousand Plateaus (pages 232-309, esp. pages 232-243, and 272-286), Braidotti’s brilliantly rewritten chapter on Deleuze and becoming-woman in the 2nd edition of Nomadic Subjects (2011) and two shorter but most powerful essays by Grosz on ‘The Force of Sexual Difference’ (2005) and on ‘The Future of Feminist Theory’ (2011).
Find the readings here:
This class covers such topics as:
The concept/practice of becoming-woman.
Criticisms of becoming woman.
Deleuzian feminist thinking.
Feminist futures and their relationship to minor politics.
This class will take place as a day long meeting starting at noon with breaks as needed until approximately 6 pm.