Heart Feminism

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This paper considers wide-ranging heart-centered approaches to understanding bodies, objects, and personhood. It puts these into tension with other ways of approaching questions of life and embodiment, especially ones inspired by neuroscience, to argue that thinking with the heart has value for feminist theory. The heart that is my object traverses scale, and is in a sense a series of objects—ranging from heart cells, to hearts and circulatory systems, to women interpellated into heart health, to public debates on personhood that mobilize fetal heartbeats and contested cases of women on life support. I draw on biological and lay ways of understanding the heart, and on mundane intimacy of knowledge of the heartbeat as a sign of life and personhood. Articulating the body through the heart provides opportunities to theorize the body and the object in new ways, pushing back against rhizomatic and egalitarian aspirations and toward nuanced accounts of power. The engagement with the heart is speculative and wide-ranging, a provocation for feminist theorists to think with the heart.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
JournalCatalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2015


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