Responding to Rosi Braidotti's call for more ‘conceptual creativity’ in thinking through contemporary feminist subjectivity, this paper proposes the figuration of the body of water. It begins with a critical materialist enhancement of Adrienne Rich's concept of a politics of location, followed by a schematised description of the various ‘hydro-logics’ in which our bodies partake. The ways in which these logics already inform diverse modes of feminist scholarship are then explored. The objective of this paper is to locate, at the confluence of these discourses and descriptions, an invigorated figuration of the feminist subject as body of water. This subject is posthumanist and material, both real and aspirational. Most importantly, she is responsively attuned to other watery bodies—both human and more-than-human—within global flows of political, social, cultural, economic and colonial planetary power.
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This line of thinking is deeply indebted to Janine MacLeod (forthcoming 2013), who has urged me to be critical of fluid metaphors that fail to address the well-being of the actual waters that make such thinking possible. As MacLeod explains in relation to the language of capitalism, fluid metaphors can also be pernicious.
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My collaborators on the Thinking with Water project, Cecilia Chen and Janine MacLeod, have inspired many of these reflections through our extended conversations. I would also like to thank Cecilia Åsberg and the Posthumanities Hub at the University of Linköping, where, as a Visiting Scholar in 2011, I undertook much of the work related to this paper. Thanks also to the Feminist Review collective for their helpful comments.
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Neimanis, A. feminist subjectivity, watered. Fem Rev 103, 23–41 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1057/fr.2012.25
- new materialism