Queering place: Sexuality, sexual difference and libido in place research and writing

Year: 2012

Author: Somerville, Margaret

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:

In this paper I will trace a genealogy of my conceptual, theoretical, and methodological work about place from one site of its origins in Lacanian psychoanalytic theories of sexual difference. In a contrary move towards feminist poststructuralism Liz Grosz, feminist philosopher and body theorist set out to interrogate philosophy from the point of view of the body, putting the body at the centre of thought. This radical move began with both taking up, and critiquing, Lacanian psychoanalysis as based in a patriarchal view of the world and founded on a male body. A specific focus was the relation of bodies to language. Grosz analyses the important work of French feminists, particularly Julia Kristeva, Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray, in re-formulating Lacan's symbolic order from the perspective of sexual difference and the female body.

In taking up this theoretical foundations in my own work about place in the context of Indigenous and settler relations in Australia, I have similarly taken the female body as a starting point and a Lacanian imaginary of the insertion of the body into language. I created different forms of writing the body emerging from body/place connections and its relation to the postcolonial shaping of the Australian landscape.

Most recently I have created a dialogue in writing in response to my in-depth multimodal analysis of 'thinking through country'. Thinking through country is a collaborative methodology developed first by U'Alayi doctoral student Chrissiejoy Marshall in our supervisor/student collaboration at then named as thinking through country in its re-iteration as a methodology for a research project about water in the Murray-Darling Basin. In this paper I focus my analyse of the multimodal productions through which the methodology was produced my response through the question; How can a contemporary white woman think through country as a practice for a sustainable planet? In this paper I will analyse this response from the perspective of its origins in Lacanian and French feminist body theories as interpreted through the work of Grosz and inflected with my own postcolonial and indigenous entanglements.

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