47. Innsbrucker Gender Lecture


Iris van der Tuin, Utrecht University

Feminist Engagements with/in New Materialism


Dienstag, 6. Dezember 2016

19 Uhr

Hörsaal 1, Erdgeschoß, SoWi, Universitätsstraße 15, 6020 Innsbruck

Kommentar: Sandra Altenberger, Masterstudium Gender, Culture and Social Change

Moderation: Andrea Umhauer, Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft


In this talk I look back on, and push forward, a review essay on the new materialisms that I published in Women’s Studies International Forum 34(4) in 2011. Discussing three edited volumes and one monograph, the essay set out to synopsize what feminist new materialisms want to provoke in different (inter)disciplines, and how these feminist-materialist debates are ‘new.’ I argued that the new materialisms should not be seen as a Kuhnian paradigm shift in feminist theory and methodology, and I was critical of the Lyotardian notion of ‘rewriting,’ which notion is in fact key to New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies (Dolphijn and Van der Tuin 2012). Both paradigm shifting and rewriting, as (seemingly opposite) epistemological tools, are grounded in an epistemology of recognition, I argued, whereas the new materialisms want to move away from such "reflexivity, [which,] like reflection, only displaces the same elsewhere" (Haraway 1997: 16). Experimenting with the tool of the ‘quantum leap,’ the essay ended with openings for future (epistemic) research on, and of, the material turn in feminist scholarship and beyond. This talk revisits the essay in order to discuss where we are at with/in feminist new materialisms. Questions posed are a selection of the following: How have the new materialisms been critiqued, and how are feminist new materialisms anti-racist, post-, and decolonial scholarly practices? In what ways are the new materialisms entangled with transversal knowledge practices such as transgenerational, transnational, and transgender theory? How do the new materialisms contribute productively to academic and activist understandings of, and engagements with, the ecological, economical, and postsecular crises of our interregnum? (Bauman 2012) What do feminist new materialisms contribute to today’s feminist pedagogical discussions around safe/brave spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions, and call-outs?


Iris van der Tuin is associate professor, and program director, of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Utrecht University (The Netherlands). She is chair of the COST Action New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’ (2014­18). Trained as a feminist epistemologist, she is specialized in gender studies and new materialisms (especially pertaining to humanities scholarship that traverses ‘the two cultures’). Iris wrote Generational Feminism: New Materialist Introduction to a Generative Approach (Lexington Books, 2015). She co-authored New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies (Open Humanities Press, 2012) with Rick Dolphijn and edited ‘Feminist Matters: The Politics of New Materialism’ (Women: A Cultural Review, 2014) with Peta Hinton.


Veranstaltet von der Interfakultären Forschungsplattform Geschlechterforschung (www.uibk.ac.at/geschlechterforschung) in Kooperation mit Radio Freirad (www.freirad.at)