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  • Author or Editor: Marianne Schleicher x
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Through an analysis of how Israelite and early Jewish texts have promoted five gender norms to secure cultural survival, this chapter argues that gender deviation is tolerated if deviation contributes to preventing loss of land and the weakening of cultural boundaries. In the transition from Israelite religionto early Judaism, these texts exhibit recognition and to some extent, a growing tolerance and accommodation of complex gender identities, because early Judaism turns to an axial emphasis on asceticism, the importance of the soul, and dualistic ideals. What this history does not reveal is any sign of culture pushing aside its categories, norms, and boundaries in situations where cultural survival or salvation is being threatened. Based on these insights from Jewish history, this chapter criticises the encouragement of Judith Butler in Precarious Life to admit to the face of deviant others, especially of those who seem to pose a threat, as a strategy to reduce violence and make the distribution of intelligibility, vulnerability, and “mournability” more even – not because I do not share Butler’s objectives of reducing violence against deviant others, but because the strategy runs counter to basic human defence mechanisms. Instead, I suggest future investments in processes of gathering knowledge about complex identities, about how they have contributed in the course of history to the success and survival of culture. If deviant others participate, as the early Butler stressed in Gender Trouble, in repetitive acts and rituals, participation itself signals a loyalty to the culture, which becomes the key to expanding its very norms, including gender norms. Thus, following Foucault, the earlier Butler and insights from cultural evolutionary theory, I hope that gathering such knowledge will ultimately lead to recognition, and possibly also to accommodation of complex and deviant identities (of course, this is only possible when complexity is seen as a cultural asset).

In: Fluid Gender, Fluid Love

Abstract

This chapter wishes to understand the mechanisms of how conceptions of gender and love developed in ancient Israelite-Jewish culture without leaving the effects of material aspects of gender and love beyond analytical commentary. To do so, it synthesises Foucault on power’s investment in points of resistance, Butler on the premises of subversion, Haraway and Barad on the effects of materiality in diffraction patterns, and Grosz on individual impetuses to resist discursive pressure. With this theoretical apparatus, biblical and early rabbinic texts are analysed to assess when genderqueer bodies and deviating practices of love affect in/-tolerance and/or ex-/inclusion.

In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love

This chapter analyses religious reflections on vulnerable genders and vulnerable loves from the Hebrew Bible to early Rabbinic literature. It is based on theories by inter alia Donna Haraway on complex identities, Turner and Maryanski on love as a prerequisite for survival, Michel Foucault on gathering knowledge and its often unpremeditated effect of recognition and inclusion, and Judith Butler on cultural intelligibility and subversion from within. With these theories as a departing point for the analysis, the chapter links the vulnerability of complex identities with the vulnerability of cultures which leads to the overall understanding that culture can accommodate complex identities associated with individual and cultural vulnerability as long as the overall survival of the culture is not threatened. This understanding questions the feasibility of the ethical position of thinkers in the 20th and 21st century, including Judith Butler, who consider human vulnerability an ideal platform for co-existence. Given Butler’s own point that subversion has to come from within, a culture cannot acknowledge the vulnerability of others, if these others constitute a threat. Instead, and based on insights from the history of religion, I see hope for tolerance and respect of variant genders and loves on the verge of cultural intelligibility lying in the fact that cultural violence is reduced to a far larger extent by investing in the gathering of knowledge about complex identities inside and outside of culture. Following Foucault, my analysis indicates that such gathering of knowledge will ultimately lead to recognition, possibly also to accommodation of complex identities, in all those cases where culture can realise that complexity does not pose a threat.

In: Past and Present: Perspectives on Gender and Love
Until 1806, Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav (1772–1810) disseminated his thoughts on redemption through homilies. In 1806, however, Nahman chose the genre of tales as an additional and innovative means of religious discourse. An academic close reading of all of the tales, known as Sippurey Ma’asiyot, has not yet been undertaken. As the first comprehensive scholarly work on the whole selection of tales and contrary to previous scholarship, this book does not reduce the tales to biographical expressions of Nahman’s tormented soul and messianic aspirations. Instead, it treats them as religious literature where the concept of “intertextuality” is considered essential to explain how Nahman defines his theology of redemption and invites his listeners and readers to appropriate his religious world-view.
This edited volume focuses on gender and love as emerging through complex “entanglements and weavings”. At a time when constructionist ideas are losing support, we interrogate theoretical paradigms to assess if constructionist notions still hold value or if new approaches are needed to address the effects of materiality and non-human agency. Without claiming any unison or definite answers, we offer situated, agential cuts into gender and love in various discursive-material phenomena, including Biblical and Rabbinic literature, ecosexual performance art, the writings of Ursula Le Guin and Angela Carter, butch identities, Bengali folktales, Ferzan Özpetek’s cinema, Golem literature, sexual pursuits in Danish nightlife, mother-daughter relationships, women warriors in the PKK, and BDSM performances. Artistic photographer Sara Davidmann has contributed to the book with the cover illustration and a creative afterword including seven photographs on the interaction between the photographer, her studio, and LGBTQ+ people.
In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love
In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love
In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love
In: Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love