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Another Mother

Diotima and the Symbolic Order of Italian Feminism

2018

Cesare Casarino and Andrea Righi, Editors
Translated by Mark William Epstein

Another Mother

A groundbreaking volume introduces the unique feminist thought of the longstanding Italian group known as Diotima

Introducing Anglophone readers to a potent strain of Italian feminism, Another Mother focuses on Diotima, a community of women philosophers deeply involved in feminist politics since the 1960s. Providing a multifaceted panorama of its engagement with structuralism, psychoanalysis, linguistics, and Marxism, this volume opens an important space for reflections on the past history of feminism and on feminism’s future.

To those of us who teach, study, and value activist feminist thought, this collection is a gift. It makes accessible to Anglophone readers Italian feminist philosopher-activists’ radical theorization and practice of sexual difference and establishes that concept not as a relic of the ‘Second Wave’ but as a vital resource for theorizing biopolitics, for fighting violence against ‘the feminine,’ and for envisioning and practicing anti-racist political projects.

Lisa Disch, University of Michigan

Introducing Anglophone readers to a potent strain of Italian feminism known to French, Spanish, and German audiences but as yet unavailable in English, Another Mother argues that the question of the mother is essential to comprehend the matrix of contemporary culture and society and to pursue feminist political projects.

Focusing on Diotima, a community of women philosophers deeply involved in feminist politics since the 1960s, this volume provides a multifaceted panorama of its engagement with currents of thought including structuralism, psychoanalysis, linguistics, and Marxism. Starting from the simple insight that the mother is the one who gives us both life and language, these thinkers develop concepts of the mother and sexual difference in contemporary society that differ in crucial ways from both French and U.S. feminisms.

Arguing that Diotima anticipates many of the themes in contemporary philosophical discourses of biopolitics—exemplified by thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Antonio Negri, and Roberto Esposito—Another Mother opens an important space for reflections on the past history of feminism and on feminism’s future.

Contributors: Anne Emmanuelle Berger, Paris 8 U–Vincennes Saint-Denis; Ida Dominijanni; Luisa Muraro; Diana Sartori, U of Verona; Chiara Zamboni, U of Verona.

Another Mother

Cesare Casarino is professor of cultural studies and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. He is author of Modernity at Sea: Melville, Marx, Conrad in Crisis (Minnesota, 2002), coauthor of In Praise of the Common: A Conversation on Philosophy and Politics (Minnesota, 2008), and coeditor of Marxism beyond Marxism.

Andrea Righi is assistant professor of Italian at Miami University. He is author of Biopolitics and Social Change in Italy: From Gramsci to Pasolini to Negri.

Mark William Epstein has translated numerous books, including Lars-Henrik Olsen’s Tracks and Signs of the Animals and Birds of Britain and Europe and Davide Tarizzo’s Life (Minnesota, 2017).

Another Mother

To those of us who teach, study, and value activist feminist thought, this collection is a gift. It makes accessible to Anglophone readers Italian feminist philosopher-activists’ radical theorization and practice of sexual difference and establishes that concept not as a relic of the ‘Second Wave’ but as a vital resource for theorizing biopolitics, for fighting violence against ‘the feminine,’ and for envisioning and practicing anti-racist political projects.

Lisa Disch, University of Michigan

Another Mother

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Another Mother, Another Introduction
Cesare Casarino and Andrea Righi
Part One: Metaphor, Metonymy, and the Politics of Sexual Difference
1. The Contact Word
Ida Dominijanni
2. To Knit or to Crochet: A Political-Linguistic Tale on the Enmity between Metaphor and Metonymy
Luisa Muraro
3. On the Relation between Words and Things as Frequentation
Luisa Muraro
Part Two: On the Maternal Symbolic and Its Language
4. Maternal Language between Limit and Infinite Opening
Chiara Zamboni
5. Feminism and Psychoanalysis: The Dead Mother Complex
Luisa Muraro
Part Three: The Mother and The Negative
6. With the Maternal Spirit
Diana Sartori
7. The Undecidable Imprint
Ida Dominijanni
Part Four: Thinking with Diotima
8. And Yet She Speaks!: “Italian Feminism” and Language
Anne Emmanuelle Berger
9. Origin and Dismeasure: The Thought of Sexual Difference in Luisa Muraro and Ida Dominijanni, and the Rise of Post-Fordist Psychopathology
Andrea Righi
10. Mother Degree Zero; or, of Beginnings: An Afterword on Luisa Muraro’s Feminist Inaptitude for Philosophy
Cesare Casarino
Index