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Stella Sandford – A Critical Theory of Sex

Event Date: 21 March 2013

Lecture Theatre E002, Granary Building,

Central Saint Martins,

London N1C 4AA

The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) and the London Graduate School in collaboration with Art and Philosophy at Central Saint Martins present:

Dr Stella SandfordA Critical Theory of Sex

The sex/gender distinction has been fundamental to Anglophone feminist theory since the 1970s, in various different ways. Many feminists, seeing a direct political advantage in a vocabulary that allowed them to distinguish between what they saw as the biological reality of sex and normative masculinity and femininity, embraced ‘gender’ as a category of analysis. What is the relation of the sex/gender distinction and its theoretical vicissitudes to the social reality of everyday gendered lives? Has the sex/gender distinction ever made waves outside of feminist theory? In this lecture I will argue that the tendency of the popular cultural uses of the words ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ gives a false impression. The popular concept of sex is not the biological concept but its ideological deployment and as such the social reality of the idea of ‘sex’ is more important than its biological reality. Feminist theory requires a theoretically satisfying account of sex that is adequate to this social reality in order to oppose it. This is the role of a critical theory of sex.

Introduction by Jon Cairns (Co-ordinator of Critical Studies, BA Fine Art, Central St Martin’s).

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