Salvaging the Utopia : Posthumanism, Feminism, and Anti-Patriarchal Language in Kathy Acker’s In Memoriam to Identity
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair
This thesis reads a posthuman feminist ethos, as theorized by Rosi Braidotti, within Kathy Acker’s In Memoriam to Identity. By recognizing the posthuman undercurrent of the text, my argument cuts against the conventional postmodern arguments traditionally associated with Acker’s work. I emphasize the novel’s recuperation of the French feminist theory écriture féminine, a 20th century postmodern method of thinking that sought to embody and empower the “woman” in language. However, my position gives pause to simply recognizing the implications of the text’s postmodern conventions. If left to a postmodern reading, Acker’s text runs the risk of succumbing to language’s patriarchal consciousness. Coherence, as I argue, is directly linked to a patriarchy itself. By coupling a postmodern deconstruction and a posthuman understanding—one that prioritizes the living being—I articulate an “actual way out” for the marginalized subject. As a result, Acker’s nearly incoherent rhetoric, “non-identity” characters, and understanding of sexuality as beyond gender, all constitute a text that truly salvages the “woman” in language.
Reyes, Fe Lorraine Agustin, "Salvaging the Utopia : Posthumanism, Feminism, and Anti-Patriarchal Language in Kathy Acker’s In Memoriam to Identity" (2021). Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects. 682.