Selective Import: French Feminist Theory and Anglophone Critical Discourses


The article aims to sketch the reception and the representations of French feminist discourses in the Anglo-American critical theory starting from the early 1970s. It situates French Feminism within the field of French Theory, a notion created in the Anglophone critical discourses, and analyses the meanings ascribed to both terms. Through a historicised discussion of the appropriation of the French theories — for a long time limited to the propositions of Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigaray — the text also attempts to present the popular critical moves (selectiveness and standardisation) in this process. What follows constitutes a brief analysis of the reasons and responses to the propagation of French feminism as a reductive construct. The article concludes registering a change in more contemporary approaches which attempt to move beyond the initial label.

Key words: French Theory, French feminism, theoretical discourse, poststructuralism.

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Tymon Adamczewski
Nauczycielskie Kolegium Języków Obcych, Toruń 
Tymon Adamczewski (PhD) has graduated from the English Department at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. His doctoral dissertation, From Revolution to Standardisation: Textuality and Theoretical Discourse in Literary Studies since 1960s, centres on the revolutionary remainders in the contemporary theoretical orientations. His research interests include literary and critical theory as well as cultural studies.