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Sex, Race and ‘Unnatural’ Difference: Tracking the Chiastic Logic of Menopause-Related Discourses.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2004
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Journal number1
Volume11
Number of pages18
Pages27-44
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Theorizing interconnections of sexual and racial differences remains a core problematic within feminist theory. In this article the author argues that these connections might in some cases usefully be understood as constituting a chiasmas. The term ‘chiasmas’ is taken from MichËle Le Doeuff’s analysis of the writings of 18th-century physiologist Pierre Roussel. Le Doeuff argues that Roussel’s understanding of sexual difference is chiastic. An examination of contemporary medical and scientific discourses around the menopause and its treatment through hormone replacement therapy (HRT) takes the argument onto new ground. The author argues here that menopause-related discourses rely on a chiastic logic that connects sexual difference with racial differences. Identification of such logics may prove useful to feminist analyses of specific entanglements of the logics of sexual and racial differences, in contemporary and historical instances.