Speculum of the Other Woman by Luce Irigaray is incontestably one of the most important works in feminist theory to have been published in this generation. For the profession of psychoanalysis, Irigaray believes, female sexuality has remained a "dark continent," unfathomable and unapproachable; its nature can only be misunderstood by those who continue to regard women in masculine terms. In the first section of the book, "The Blind Spot of an Old Dream of Symmetry," Irigaray rereads Freud's essay "Femininity," and his other writings on women, bringing to the fore the masculine ideology implicit in psychoanalytic theory and in Western discourse in general: woman is defined as a disadvantaged man, a male construct with no status of her own.
In the last section, "Plato's Hystera," Irigaray reinterprets Plato's myth of the cave, of the womb, in an attempt to discover the origins of that ideology, to ascertain precisely the way in which metaphors were fathered that henceforth became vehicles of meaning, to trace how woman came to be excluded from the production of discourse. Between these two sections is "Speculum"–ten meditative, widely ranging, and freely associational essays, each concerned with an aspect of the history of Western philosophy in its relation to woman, in which Irigaray explores woman's essential difference from man.
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Interview: Of Relations and Rights
PDF: The Sex Which is Not One
Working With Luce Irigaray
About the Project (A Note from Luce Irigaray): Since 2003, I hold a seminar with researchers doing their PhD on my work. This way, they have the opportunity to receive personal teaching from me and to exchange ideas, methods and experiences between them.
The framework of the seminar is as follows: A group of fifteen researchers stay one week on the university campus. The timetable includes a presentation by each on the aspect of their PhD which most focuses on my work, a discussion of this presentation by the group, my comments and my answers to questions, and also sessions devoted to an explanation of some key words chosen by the participants. Personal meetings with me are organized on the last day.
The participants in the seminar have come from different regions of the world, they belong to different cultures, traditions and fields of research. In each of these fields, diverse domains, approaches and methods are represented. To date, the participants came from Australia, Vietnam, Korea, China, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Latvia, Spain, Italy, Ireland and from various universities of the U.S.A. and the U.K.
This website intends to make known the work of young researchers who participated in the seminar through summaries of their research, news about the evolution of their career, and dialogues that they continue holding with me. It also aims at maintaining and developing the link among researchers of one year’s seminar and broadening it to every researcher who took part in the seminar.