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Critique Essay Humanities Nonfiction Theory

On Gender Neutrality: Derrida and Transfeminism in Conversation

By Marie Draz, 2017

There is already a long history of conversation between feminism and deconstruction, feminist theorists and Derrida or Derrideans. That conver- sation has been by turns fraught and constructive. While some of these interactions have occurred in queer feminism, to date little has been done to stage an engagement between deconstruction and transfeminism. Naysayers might think that transfeminism is too recent and too identitarian a discourse to meaningfully interact with Derrida’s legacy. On the other hand, perhaps Derrida’s work was too embedded in second wave feminism, and in some cases implicit misogyny and transphobia, to meet transfeminism on its own playing field. And yet, I think both suspicions shortchange these discourses. In what follows, I stage a conversation between Derrida and two writers working in the area of transfeminism: Paisley Currah and Julia Serano. I explore, in particular, how their conceptions of gender neutrality or gender pluralism are complementary and together change the so-called “question of woman” from a philosophical and political perspective.

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