This article explores the historicism of feminist constructivism. It focuses on the work of Judith Butler, and explores how the idea of history and elements of temporality are used in her theory of materialization. It argues that the radical historicism implied in the Jamesonian request 'Historicize!' can become a self-defeating enterprise. The hypothesis is that historicism has been used as a kind of 'black box' in feminist constructivism. The article points out the way in which constructivists rely much too easily on history as evidence, and talk about history as if it stands outside construction. This ambivalence in constructivist thought is prevalent. The article proposes that feminist theorists of materiality recognize the predominance of self-evident notions of historicity in constructivist theories and start practising a strategic forgetting of history.
- Judith Butler
- feminist philosophy of history
- form-matter distinction
- strategic forgetting of history