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Sexual Difference and Cultural Difference

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Organizer: Yitian Zhai

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Feminist philosophy rarely takes the non-Western ideas as its theoretical resources. Now that gender plurality has been dominating the feminist theories over the past decade, it is easy to ignore that sexual difference plays with the universal condition of life and the world. Given that the cultural understandings of the world are conditioned by difference and difficulties of understanding of the difference, the world and the universal can be constantly in a tension. Thus, the universal condition of sexual difference—beyond anthropocentric understanding— can be in and out of the world that cultures create. Could we universalize the world without losing the concrete, such as, sexual difference and cultural difference? 

The session invites the papers to explore the possibilities of a shared world in the context of sexual and cultural differences. How might we negotiate the universal subject that Western culture presupposes in our relation with others?  How can we strategically borrow from feminist discourse in an inquiry into the other without presuming a locus of experience?  Moreover, how does sexual difference interact with cultural difference and vice versa? What can we expect from their mutual effect and how do they help us create a new understanding of the universal or the world?

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