Mater and matter:
Varieties of materialism in feminist theory
Recently, feminist theory has shown a renewed theoretical interest in matter
and materiality. These emerging material feminisms (Alaimo and Hekman 2008)
do not represent a homogeneous style of thought or a single theoretical position
but encompass a plurality of different perspectives, ranging from science
and technology studies via Deleuzian vitalism to a reevaluation of evolutionary
The talk will first give an overview of different concepts of materiality in contemporary
feminist theory. The second part of the presentation discusses in more
detail the work of Karen Barad, one of the most influential figures of the new
materialism, who combines insights from quantum mechanics with elements of
poststructuralist theory and feminist technoscience studies.
Thomas Lemke is Professor of Sociology with focus on Biotechnologies,
Nature and Society at the Faculty of Social Sciences of
the Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main in Germany and Honorary
Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
His research interests include social and political theory, biopolitics,
social studies of genetic and reproductive technologies. Latest
publication: Die Regierung der Gene. Diskriminierung und Verantwortung
im Kontext genetischen Wissens, together with Katharina
Liebsch (VS Verlag 2015).