Gender Salon – Specters of Monique Wittig

If French lesbian theorist and writer Monique Wittig is most famously known for her aphorism “lesbians are not women,” what is less known is the affective and political history through which she came to conceptualize lesbians as non-women. Following the traces of Wittig’s departure to the US in 1976, six years after she co-founded the French Women’s liberation movement (MLF) in Paris, this talk will recenter the emergence of her lesbian theory in the context of her tragic experience of the MLF as a lesbian. Rewriting the history of the MLF from the standpoint of Wittig’s departure abroad, which she herself calls an “exile,” also implies writing a new affective history of the MLF, one in which traditional feminist affects like joy, solidarity, and women’s love are replaced by backward lesbian affects such as anger, sadness, frustration, depression, and melancholia. Since forbidden specters are never entirely suppressed, I will also address the legacy of Wittig’s thinking, twenty years after her death, in the context of an unexpected revival of Wittigian thought.

Eine Veranstaltungsreihe rund um kreative, subversive und produktive Auseinandersetzungen mit dem Thema Gender an den Schnittstellen von Kunst, (Pop)Kultur, Politik und Wissenschaft.

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