Comandoyo Kerstin:“²³//

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The Cinematic Relations of Corporeal Feminism
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Towards A Feminist Cinematographic Philosophy

[1] Over the last decade, Deleuzean feminism, the arguably incongruous conjunction of Deleuzean philosophy and feminist theory, has emerged as a field of philosophical inquiry, thanks to the significant contributions of Elizabeth Grosz, Rosi Braidotti, and others. [1] However, few have turned to Gilles Deleuze’s later works on cinema. [2] Of the few who have, writers such as Patricia Pisters, Dorothy Olkowski, and Barbara Kennedy have produced volumes arguing the utility of Deleuzean cinematic concepts for feminist film theory. [3] Their works have engaged Deleuze’s Cinema books to introduce a shift in feminist analyses of cinema and aesthetic production. Yet, Deleuze’s cinematic concepts offer much more than this. As his translators note, Deleuze’s intention is the creation of concepts appropriate to philosophy as well as cinema, forming the hybrid—“cinematographic philosophy.“ Cinematographic philosophy can be understood as the invention of „new concepts… on the basis of some well-known philosophical themes, and then put to work in cinema…For Deleuze, philosophy cannot be a reflection on something else. It is, as we have said, a creation of concepts. But concepts, for Deleuze, are…no longer ‚concepts of‘, understood by reference to their external object…Concepts are the images of thought.“ [4] Cinematographic philosophy, I contend, affords feminism a range of new concepts that engages the „unthought“ of feminist thought. [5] I want to map out the ways Deleuze’s philosophy of the cinema provides an abundance of concepts that beget a new image of feminist thought in general.

[2] In feminism’s engagement with Deleuze, it has been asked: „What sort of epistemology might work with Deleuzean metaphysics? As we move from a metaphysics of being to one of becoming, what becomes of epistemology?“ [6] The following discussion attempts to answer this by sketching the ways a feminist epistemology can not only work with a Deleuzean metaphysics, it can create an altogether different image of thought when „put to work“ with feminism’s concern with the body and its embodiments (and refusals) of the sex-gender system. Gilles Deleuze’s cinematic philosophy, I believe, offers feminism a model for elaborating the performative structures of gender identity most famously developed by Judith Butler over a decade ago. Butler argued even then, „the complexity of gender requires an interdisciplinary and postdisciplinary set of discourses in order to resist the domestication of gender studies or women’s studies within the academy and to radicalize the notion of feminist critique.“ [7] By putting Deleuze’s philosophical treatises on cinema’s production of images and its philosophical implications into conversation with feminism’s insights into the performative nature of the gendered body, I propose a model of feminist film theory that reflects the critical interrogation of the body elaborated by recent feminist critiques. [8] By drawing parallels to feminist theory’s reexamination of the body and desire, I want to illustrate the potential for a specifically feminist cinematographic philosophy attuned to the fissures and ruptures inherent to gender performance. [9]….


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