The House of Difference: Bodies, Genders, Genres

Lidia Curti


This article offers a genealogy of the aesthetics of the diverse, as incarnated in women’s literary bodies. The intersection of women’s writing and issues of racial and ethnic positioning are scrutinized in an ample exploration of “writings on the border” and a re-configuration of the normative focus of “literature” as a discipline, by putting different writings in dialogue with each other – from Audre Lorde to Chandra Mohanty, from Julia Kristeva to Gabriella Ghermandi and Salwa Salem. The passage from “difference” to “differences”, and then to the specific issue of race and non-univocal agency is traced through the debate sparked by Mohanty, bell hooks, and the voices coming from the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies and Feminist Review. Similarly, gender intersectionality is explored in its full ambiguity, through the works, among others, of de Lauretis and Butler, but also Preciado, in an exploration of the fluctuating gender identities that question a fixed boundary between male and female and lead to constant transit and to the coexistence of the two principles.

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