Political History

Creatures of Prometheus: Gender and the Politics of by Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn

By Timothy V. Kaufman-Osborn

Do humans develop into creatures of the expertise they carry? Is gender an artifact of the paintings played by means of such synthetic issues? Drawing on a wide number of literary and philosophical assets, together with Homer's Iliad, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, debts of the 1986 nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl, and up to date scholarship in feminist, postmodern, and political conception, this awesome e-book bargains strikingly unique methods for readers to consider expertise, gender identification, tradition, the surroundings, politics, and the methods men and women fight to make experience of the presents of Prometheus. This booklet could be of curiosity to scholars and students of political concept, environmental concept, and gender, cultural, and literary reviews.

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Predicated on a rejection of Hannah Arendt's claim that "the meaningfulness of everyday relationships is disclosed not in everyday life but in rare deeds," 3 I mean this to be a distinctly democratic revel. To accept Arendt's aristocratic premise is to relegate most of us, unheroic mortals that we are, to a condition of perpetual non-sense. A refusal to be so relegated, an unwillingness to capitulate to the world's obdurate facticity, is the refusal I sense in those of my students who reject the predigested meanings relentlessly served up by the agencies of austere realism.

So long as this complex of practices resides in the realm of the taken for granted, it elicits no defenders. Only when its reality begins to waver, only when it begins to shift from the realm of fact to that of fiction, will some feel called upon to accomplish with hateful words, with politically enforced sanctions, and, if necessary, with violence what its simple facticity can no longer secure. To find it necessary to stamp this contingent mode of sexuality "natural," to condemn as ''abnormal" those who refuse or fail to abide by its dictates, to subject such problematic souls to the ministrations of priest, policeman, and psychiatrist, all testify to the precariousness of what was once self-evidently so.

Consider, for example, sexual harassment. Prior to the 1970s, what we now call "sexual harassment" did not appear in the realm of the real, at least in part because of the success of compulsory heterosexuality in defining women's bodies as commodities available to men on demand. Till then, should a woman claim that what her male employer considered so much harmless flirting was "really" the violation of a legally enforceable right, she would be greeted with derision or, if more fortunate, with uncomprehending stares.

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