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Simone De Beauvoir: A Toolkit for the 21st Century

Simone De Beauvoir: A Toolkit for the 21st Century

By Husserl Archives
The French activist, novelist and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) is more popular than ever. In this podcast, we ask how her political commitments have shaped her writing as well as her public interventions: existentialism, Marxism, anti-colonialism and, finally feminism. This podcast, starting from Beauvoir’s social and political engagement, asks to what extent De Beauvoir provides important tools for diagnosing the present and offering a prognosis for the future. Her life and work provide a toolkit offering both a conceptual apparatus as practical examples of acts of resistance.
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Filipa Melo Lopes: What do incels want? Explaining Incel Violence Using Beauvoirian Otherness

Simone De Beauvoir: A Toolkit for the 21st Century

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Qrescent Mali Mason: Uses of Ambiguity. A Black Feminist Phenomenologist Reflects on Ambiguities in the Year 2020
This talk focuses on the ambiguous dimensions of the year 2020 from the standpoint of a Black American feminist philosopher. Inheriting the  existential phenomenological concept of ambiguity from Simone de  Beauvoir, Qrescent Mali Mason seeks  in this final episode to map the ambiguities in Beauvoir’s work and life, and in the legacies of feminist thinkers like Beauvoir, who are complex,  complicated, brilliant, and also ambiguous. The discussion is moderated by Julia Jansen. This podcast is hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim More reading.... Simone de Beauvoir. 2015 [1947]. The Ethics of Ambiguity. Translated by Bernard Frechtman. New York: Open Road Media. Audre Lorde. 2019 [19884]. Sister Outsider. Penguin UK.
01:19:57
March 24, 2022
Ana Maskalan: "I Didn't Ask for It". Women of Former Yugoslavia Vs. The Invisibility of Rape
Online initiative "I Didn't Ask for It" (#nisamtrazila) started in  January 2021 in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia,  motivated by a public confession of a young Serbian actress of being raped by a well-known Belgrade drama pedagogue. In today's lecture, Ana Maskalan offers a feminist analysis of the evolution of the above-mentioned initiative (followed by a silencing backlash) and of the socio-cultural and political context that makes it unique. How can we understand this social movement, drawing on Simone de Beauvoir's understanding of the myth of femininity and the ideas of complicity,  solidarity, violence, and of sex and sexual autonomy? The discussion is moderated by Nidesh Lawtoo. This podcast is hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim Reading more... Simone de Beauvoir.. 2011 [1949]. The Second Sex. Translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevalier. New York: Vintage Books. Simone de Beauvoir. 2011 [1959]. “Brigitte Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome.” In Feminist Writings, edited by Margaret A. Simons and Marybeth Timmermann, translated by Bernard Frechtman, 114–25. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Simone de Beauvoir. 2012 [1962]. “Preface to Djamila Boupacha.” In Political Writings, edited by Margaret Simons and Marybeth Timmermann, translated by Marybeth Timmermann, 272–82. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
43:50
March 21, 2022
Catherine Raissiguier: Beauvoir, Bardot, and Burqinis. Making Sense of Modern France
In 1959, Simone de Beauvoir wrote a little-read essay on Brigitte Bardot, describing her as the new myth of feminity that troubles French notions of womanhood. In this episode, Catherine Raissiguier asks what BB and Beauvoir can teach us today about France's national self-understanding, as BB troubles us even more today due to her right-wing politics.  The discussion is moderated by Nidesh Lawtoo, and this podcast is hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim More reading.... Simone de Beauvoir. 2011 [1959]. “Brigitte Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome.” In Feminist Writings, edited by Margaret A. Simons and Marybeth Timmermann, translated by Bernard Frechtman, 114–25. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
46:32
March 17, 2022
Sonia Kruks: Old Age and Intersectionality — Beauvoir and Beyond
La Vieillesse (1970) is Beauvoir's groundbreaking work on old age, in which she describes the silencing that befalls the old. This oppressive silence still continues today, as Sonia Kruks argues in this lecture. Showing how we can benefit from Beauvoir to understand how the domination of the old is perpetuated in contemporary society, Sonia Kruks also stresses that old age has to be included in feminist, intersectional analyses of politics and power relationships.  The discussion is moderated by Maren Wehrle, and the series is hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim. More reading..... Simone de Beauvoir. 1977 [1970]. Old Age. Penguin Books. Kate Kirkpatrick. 2014. “Past Her Prime? Simone de Beauvoir on Motherhood and Old Age.” Sophia 53 (2): 275–87. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11841-014-0410-8. Sonia Kruks. 2018. Retrieving Experience: Subjectivity and Recognition in Feminist Politics. Cornell University Press.
45:46
March 07, 2022
Mickaëlle Provost: A Transatlantic Existentialism — Simone de Beauvoir, Richard Wright and the Phenomenology of Racial Oppression
Simone de Beauvoir and Richard Wright embody what we could call, alluding to Paul Gilroy, 'Transatlantic Existentialism': they contributed to the circulation of ideas that constitute Black post-war thought. In this episode, Mickaëlle Provost explores the affinities between their analyses of oppression, and discusses the use of analogy in talking about patriarchy and anti-black racism. The discussion is moderated by Tivadar Vervoort, and this podcast is hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim More reading.... Simone de Beauvoir. America Day by Day. Translated by Carol Cosman. Phoenix. Paul Gilroy. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Verso. Mickaëlle Provost. 2021. “Undoing Whiteness: A Political Education of One’s Experience.” Journal of Philosophy of Education 55 (1): 229–42. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9752.12548. Richard Wright. Native Son. 
42:39
March 03, 2022
Dana F. Miranda: Repossession — The Ambiguity of Decolonization
In decolonial struggles for independence, there is a constant effort to combat unfreedom at multiple levels, including the internal transformations that deal with alienation. In this episode, Dana F. Miranda crossreads Fanon, Cabral and Beauvoir to show how Beauvoir's notion of ambiguity enriches the possession and repossession of freedom.  The Q&A is moderated by Tivadar Vervoort. Hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim An Eye for an Eye (Attached) by Simone de Beauvoir “Violence Is Not an Evil”: Ambiguity and Violence in Simone de Beauvoir’s Early Philosophical Writings (Attached) by Ann V. Murphy Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity: An Appreciation (Attached) by Helen Heise The Spirit of Seriousness and Decolonisation (Attached) by Thomas Meagher Ambiguity, Absurdity, and Reversibility: Responses to Indeterminacy (Attached) by Gail Weiss Identity and Dignity in the National Liberation Struggle (Attached) by Amílcar Cabral National Liberation and Culture (Attached) by Amílcar Cabral The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
47:00
February 28, 2022
Adam Kjellgren: Beauvoir the Mythmaker
Simone de Beauvoir is often portrayed as a sworn enemy of myth because of her critical discussion of the myth of feminity in The Second Sex. Yet, in this episode, Adam Kjellgren argues that Beauvoir does not repudiate myth, but makes use of it herself.  This lecture is moderated by Deva Waal. This podcast serie is hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim
38:05
February 24, 2022
Filipa Melo Lopes: What do incels want? Explaining Incel Violence Using Beauvoirian Otherness
In recent years, incel violence has moved from obscure corners of the internet onto mainstream news. In this episode, Filipa Melo Lopes discusses why most feminist explanations fail to grasp the specificity of this violence because these explanations focus on either the objectification of women or the perpetrator's sense of entitlement to sex. Instead, what incels want is a Beauvoirian “Other”. For Simone de Beauvoir, when  men conceive of women as Other, they represent them as both human  subjects and as embodiments of the natural world. But, in being both of  these things at the same time, they are neither.  This lecture is moderated by Deva Waal.  Hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim More readings.... Baele, Stephane J., Lewys Brace, and Travis G. Coan. 2019. From “incel” to “saint”: Analyzing the violent worldview behind the 2018 Toronto attack. Terrorism and Political Violence: 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1080/09546553.2019.1638256 Beauvoir, Simone de. 2011. Myths – Chapter 1. The Second Sex. Translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. New York: Vintage Books. Direk, Zeynep. 2011. Immanence and abjection in Simone de Beauvoir. The Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (1): 49-72. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2041-6962.2010.00044.x Manne, Kate. 2020. Involuntary – On the Entitlement to Admiration. Entitled: How male privilege hurts women. London: Allen Lane. Nagle, Angela. 2016. The new man of 4chan. The Baffler, No. 30, March.  https://thebaffler.com/salvos/new-man-4chan-nagle Rodger, Elliot. 2014. My twisted world: The story of Elliot Rodger. Accessed July 10, 2021.https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/1173619/rodger-manifesto.pdf Tolentino, Jia. 2018. The rage of incels. The New Yorker, May 15. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-rage-of-the-incels
44:13
February 21, 2022
Dianna Taylor: Counter-violence — A Beauvoirian Response to Sexual Violence?
In this episode, Dianna Taylor argues in favour of feminist counter-violence as responses to the sexual violence that both underpins and is reproduced by gender oppression. Beauvoir provides a concept of counter-violence in her discussion of resistance against fascist and colonial violence — and even if Beauvoir does not do so herself, we can extend this concept to her analysis of feminist liberation.  This lecture is moderated by Guilel Treiber.  Hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim More reading..... Simone de Beauvoir. ‘An Eye for an Eye’. In Philosophical Writings, ed.  Margaret Simons, Marybeth Timmermann, and Mary Beth Mader, translated by Kristina Arp. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004. Simone de Beauvoir. ‘Pyrrhus and Cineas’. In Philosophical Writings, ed.  Margaret Simons, Marybeth Timmermann, and Mary Beth Mader, translated by Marybeth Timmermann. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004. Simone de Beauvoir. The Ethics of Ambiguity. Translated by Bernard Frechtman. New York: Open Road Media, 2015. Taylor, Dianna. Sexual Violence and Humiliation: A Foucauldian-Feminist Perspective. Routledge, 2019.
47:11
February 17, 2022
Heli Mahkonen: Love: Patriarchal oppression or emancipatory potential? Aspects of feminist love critique
In this second episode, Heli Mahkonen elaborates on a key aspect of Beauvoir's Second Sex, namely her critique of romantic love. How does that classic, feminist critique relate to Black feminist thought on romantic love? Hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim More reading..... Collins, Patricia Hill (2000): Black Feminist Thought, London/New York: Routledge De Beauvoir, Simone ([2011]1949): The Second Sex, translated by Translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, New York: Vintage Books Fallaize, Elizabeth (1998): Simone de Beauvoir: A Critical Reader. London/New York: Routledge Ferguson, Ann & Jónasdóttir, Anna (2014): Love. A Question for Feminism in the 21. Century. London/New York: Routledge García-Andrade, Adriana, Gunnarson, Lena & Jónasdottir, Anna (2018): Feminism and the Power of Love. Interdisciplinary Interventions. London/New York: Routledge Lorde, Audre (1984): Sister Outsider, Berkeley: Crown Publishing Saurer, Edith ((1997)): Liebe, Geschlechterbeziehungen und Feminismus, in: L' homme : Zeitschrift für feministische Geschichtswissenschaft, Jg. 8, Nr. 1, 6-20.
37:29
February 14, 2022
Jennifer McWeeny (with Tessel Veneboer): How Does Your Mind Grasp Your Body?
In this first episode, Jennifer McWeeny elaborates on an important yet frequently mistranslated distinction found in Le Deuxième Sexe between saisir, se faire objetand se faire femme. Attending to the technical language of phenomenology that Beauvoir employs in these distinctions yields a new, 21st Century reading of Beauvoir’s philosophy of woman with social and political implications. Hosted by Ashika Singh and Liesbeth Schoonheim More reading… Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, trans. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier, New York, Vintage, 2010 [1949], p. 283. Simone de Beauvoir, “Literature and Metaphysics,” trans. Veronique Zayteff and Frederick M. Morrison, in Simone de Beauvoir: Philosophical Writings, ed. Margaret A. Simons with Marybeth Timmerman and Mary Beth Mader, Urbana, IL, University of Illinois Press, 269-277. Simone de Beauvoir, “What Is Existentialism?” trans. Marybeth Timmermann, in Simone de Beauvoir: Philosophical Writings, ed. Margaret A. Simons with Marybeth Timmerman and Mary Beth Mader, Urbana, IL, University of Illinois Press, 323-326. Simone de Beauvoir, “A Review of The Phenomenology of Perception by Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1945),” trans. Marybeth Timmermann, in Simone de Beauvoir: Philosophical Writings, ed. Margaret A. Simons with Marybeth Timmerman and Mary Beth Mader, Urbana, IL, University of Illinois Press, 159-164. Emmanuel de Saint Aubert, “The Blood of Others: Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Simone de Beauvoir, Part I: I Exist, Therefore I Encroach,” trans. Jennifer McWeeny, Simone de Beauvoir Studies, vol. 30, no. 1, 2019, 33-66, p. 34. Emmanuel de Saint Aubert, “The Blood of Others: Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Simone de Beauvoir, Part II: Between Birth and Death: Freedom Struggling with Existentialist Divinities,” trans. Jennifer McWeeny, Simone de Beauvoir Studies, vol. 30, no. 2, 2019, 341-366. W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, Boston, Bedford Books, 1997. Lewis Gordon. 1995. Bad Faith and Antiblack Racism. New York: Humanity Books. Sara Heinämaa. 2003. Toward a Phenomenology of Sexual Difference: Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Beauvoir. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. Deborah King, “Multiple Jeopardy, Multiple Consciousness: The Context of Black Feminist Ideology,” Signs 14 (1) (1988), pp. 42-72. Jennifer McWeeny, “The Second Sex of Consciousness: A New Temporality and Ontology for Beauvoir’s ‘Becoming a Woman,’” “On ne naît pas femme: on le devient…”: The Life of a Sentence, ed. Bonnie Mann and Martina Ferrari, 231-273 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017). Jennifer McWeeny, “Varieties of Consciousness under Oppression: False Consciousness, Bad Faith, Double Consciousness, and Se faire objet,” in Phenomenology and the Political, ed. S. West Gurley and Geoffrey Pfeifer, 149-163 (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016).
01:14:39
September 30, 2021