Diotima at the Barricades: French Feminists Read Plato
Oxford University Press
Paul Allen Miller
31 Dec 2015
Diotima at the Barricades argues that the debates that emerged from the burgeoning of feminist intellectual life in post-modern France involved complex, structured, and reciprocal exchanges on the interpretation and position of Plato and other ancient texts in the western philosophical and literary tradition. Paul Allen Miller shows how individual works of Anglo-American figures such as Toril Moi, Judith Butler, and Kaja Silverman, as well as movements such as queer theory, are rooted in feminist theoretical debates that began in the sixties in France and have continued right up to the present day. Miller demonstrates that French philosophy as represented by writers as diverse as Julia Kristeva, Helene Cixous, Sarah Kofman, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, and Luce Irigaray have had a profound influence on literary, theoretical, and cultural studies in the Anglo-American world. He reveals that in order to understand the intellectual substructure of much of later Anglo-American critical theory, it is crucial to examine the development of post-modern French feminist thought in relation to its dialogue with antiquity. In modern feminism and post-structuralism, the ancient world, and Plato in particular, truly function as our theoretical unconscious.