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dimanche 19 avril 2015
"There Are Two Sexes" - Essays in Feminology, by Antoinette Fouque

Antoinette Fouque cofounded the Mouvement de Libération des Femmes (MLF) in France in 1968 and spearheaded its celebrated Psychanalyse et Politique, a research group that informed the cultural and intellectual heart of French feminism. Rather than reject Freud’s discoveries on the pretext of their phallocentrism, Fouque sought to enrich his thought by more clearly defining the difference between the sexes and affirming the existence of a female libido. By recognizing women’s contribution to humanity, Fouque hoped "uterus envy," which she saw as the mainspring of misogyny, could finally give way to gratitude and by associating procreation with women’s liberation she advanced the goal of a parity-based society in which men and women could write a new human contract.

The essays, lectures, and dialogues in this volume finally allow English-speaking readers to access the breadth of Fouque’s creativity and activism. Touching on issues in history and biography, politics and psychoanalysis, Fouque recounts her experiences running the first women’s publishing house in Europe ; supporting women under threat, such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Taslima Nasrin, and Nawal El Saadaoui ; and serving as deputy in the European Parliament. Her theoretical explorations discuss the ongoing development of feminology, a field she initiated, and, while she celebrates the progress women have made over the past four decades, she also warns against the trends of counterliberation : the feminization of poverty, the persistence of sexual violence, and the rise of religious fundamentalism.

About the Author

Antoinette Fouque (1936-2014) was a psychoanalyst and director of research at the Université de Paris VIII. She authored a number of books, including Gravidanza, Qui êtes-vous, Antoinette Fouque ? and Génésique.

Sylvina Boissonnas is an activist in the Women’s Liberation Movement and an architect. She has been involved in the Psychoanalysis and Politics research group since 1970.


"This is a strong and powerful collection that repays reading and rereading by anyone interested in the areas of sex, gender, and women." — Owen Heathcote, author of ,From Bad Boys to New Men ? Masculinity, Sexuality, and Violence in the Work of Eric Jourdan

"Antoinette Fouque played a decisive role in the formation and subsequent history of the women’s liberation movement in France. An extraordinary character, a highly cultivated woman, and a relentless activist, she took controversial steps while opening new paths for the inscription and recognition of women in the world. Her formulations were idiosyncratic, forceful, debatable, and provocative. This book is a precious testimony to her thought and action. It will help the English-speaking world interested in feminism complete the intellectual and political puzzle formed by what was called ’French Feminism’ some decades ago." — Anne-Emmanuelle Berger, Cornell University

"The feminology Fouque advocates here goes beyond feminism, since it triggers drastic shifts in our all-too-familiar worldview. Modernity is her tempo. Movement is her motto. Gestation is her guiding thread for a new epistemology, one of a world in which misogyny is eliminated. Procreation is her paradigm for a new human contract. The quest for liberty is her calling. The will to stay ahead of the game is her way of changing the rules. Sparkling with wit, this story of an everlasting commitment deserves a place in the international hall of fame." — Laurence Zordan, philosopher and writer

"There Are Two Sexes departs from the same principle as Simone de Beauvoir’s classic The Second Sex, that the feminine is devalued within traditional human cultures. Yet Fouque does not conclude, as feminists do, that it is necessary to align the secondary sex with the primary one. Instead, she accords women their own genius, a genius she calls matricial, a creative faculty that first appears in procreation, the power of life. In the process, the struggle of women for recognition is altered and exalted." — François Guery, faculty of philosophy, University Jean Moulin Lyon

 Antoinette Fouque, There Are Two Sexes, essays in Feminology, foreword by Jean-Joseph Goux. edited by Sylvina Boissonnas, translated by David Macey and Catherine Porter, New York, Columbia University Press, 2015.

Online April 15th 2015

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