Speculative Before the Turn: Reintroducing Feminist Materialist Performativity

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Cecilia Åsberg
Kathrin Thiele
Iris van der Tuin


This is a moment for new conversations and new synergies. While a wealth of contemporary speculative materialisms is currently circulating in academia, art and activism, in this article we focus upon a few ethico-political stakes in the different, loosely affiliated conceptions of ontologies of immanence. More specifically, we are concerned here with the very meaning of speculation itself after the many new headings of immanent ontologies, such as object-oriented ontology (OOO), speculative realism or the (feminist) new materialisms. Our concern is a feminist concern, as some of the immanent ontologies seem to actively connect with the varied feminist archive of speculative thought while others seem to actively disconnect from the very same archive. What does this imply for the feminist scholar who is in want of tools for navigating the contemporary landscape of ontologies of immanence? Here, we highlight some important overlapping as well as poignant clashes between various feminist materialist genealogies and OOO/speculative realism. In our discussion we underline the importance of situatedness and context, relationality and affinity—and the possibility for rewiring relations—amid a plethora of lively historiographies and emergent post-disciplinary movements and world-makings.

Article Details

New Materialisms: Movement, Aesthetics, Ontology (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biographies

Cecilia Åsberg, Linköping University

Cecilia Åsberg, professor in Gender Studies at Linköping University, Sweden, heads the Posthumanities Hub and the new Swedish research program in environmental humanities, The Seed Box. She has published transdisciplinary feminist research on nature, culture, science, medicine, and environed bodies, such as the (2016) A Feminist Companion to the Posthumanities (with Rosi Braidotti, 2016).

Kathrin Thiele, Utrecht University

Kathrin Thiele, is an assistant professor in Gender Studies at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Her research in contemporary (feminist) philosophies and posthuman(ist) studies is published in journals including Parallax, Women: A Cultural Review, Interventions and Rhizomes. She is also co-founder of Terra Critica: Interdisciplinary Network for the Critical Humanities.

Iris van der Tuin, Utrecht University

Iris van der Tuin is an associate professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Her work on the new materialisms has been published by, among others, Australian Feminist Studies, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy and Women’s Studies International Forum. She also chairs the COST Action, New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on 'How Matter Comes to Matter' (2014–18).