Diffractive Power & Intra-Active Subjectivity: A (Re)turn to Queer Women's Self-Writing
MetadataShow full item record
As a contribution to present and future conceptualizations of power and subjectivity in feminist research and practice, this thesis (re)turns to past accounts of queer women’s self- writing. By tracing the formations of subjectivity, the negotiations of power, and the transformations of the self that are evident in Anne Lister’s diaries, Gertrude Stein’s Lifting Belly, and the compilation of essays, Coming to Power: Writings and Graphics on Lesbian S/M, written by the SAMOIS collective, this thesis proposes a move towards an Agential Realist (re)configuration of power as diffractive and subjectivity as intra-active. In doing so, the aim is to queer and unsettle the western ways of knowing and being that reinforce violent self/other relationality and the hegemonic power dynamics that enact the conditions of White Supremacist Capitalist Heteropatriarchy. In my effort to rework the ways in which power and subjectivity are embedded in the systemic violence perpetuated by the west, I (re)turn to narratives fostered by the desires of western queer women because these narratives have been excluded or intentionally concealed and silenced from the historical discourses that are reflected in our present material and social conditions. It is in these narratives that I locate subjectivity as an intra-active phenomenon that contributes to my theoretical conceptualization of power as a diffractive force that yields patterns through which we may engage our realities more responsibly. Grounded in Michel Foucault’s approach to power and Judith Butler’s theory of subjectivity, this thesis brings together a formulation of these theories with Karen Barad’s concept of spacetimemattering. This Baradian concept operates as a framework through which I explore the material, temporal and spatial elements of power and subjectivity in my readings of queer women’s self-writing. Therefore, I argue that engaging the discursive alongside the elements of space, time and matter in the construction of power and subjectivity generates an ethico-onto-epistemological practice of knowledge production that opens up possibilities for a more ethical and responsible approach to world- building.