by Madeline Schaeffer
Phenomenology is often characterized as describing the structures of lived experiences. It examines the structural features of experience, and of things as experienced from the first-person point of view — from the perspective of the subject experiencing such states or acts of consciousness. Phenomenology is often seeking to understand how things are experienced, lived, interpreted, or held to be significant or meaningful. Topics discussed within the phenomenological tradition include the nature of intentionality, perception, mental representation, context-of-thought, time-consciousness, self-consciousness, awareness of the body, and consciousness of others. Some common phenomenological thinkers include Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Martin Heidegger, and Edmund Husserl.
Femisnist phenomenology consists of philosophers who examine male-authored phenomenological texts and figures through a critical feminist lens for assuming that the experiences they are describing are neutral, and for taking up a universal subject of experience (typically white and male). Feminist phenomenology also seeks to reinterpret phenomenological texts and methods for feminist purposes, and understand how sexual difference is constituted and connected with embodiment and singular experiences. Some date feminist phenomenology as far back as the 1950s to texts like Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition. However, it is more commonly associated with the 1980s, when work that was explicitly feminist and phenomenological became more visible, featuring figures such as Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, and Iris Marion Young.
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Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1999.
Cerbone, David R. 2006. Understanding Phenomenology. Chesham: Acumen.
Husserl, Edmund. 1982 . Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. Trans. F. Kersten. The Hague: Nijhoff.
Irigaray, Luce (1999). The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger. University of Texas Press.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1989 . Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology. Trans. Hazel E. Barnes. London: Routledge.
Young, Iris, Marion (2011). Responsibility for Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Biemel, Walter and Spiegelberg, Herbert. "Phenomenology". Encyclopedia Britannica, 12 Jun. 2017, https://www.britannica.com/topic/phenomenology. Accessed 23 February 2021.
Fulfer, Katy. Ryman, Emma. “What is Feminist Phenomenology?”. Rotman Institute of Philosophy, 4 June 2013, https://www.rotman.uwo.ca/what-is-feminist-phenomenology/. Accessed 23 February 2021.
Smith, David Woodruff. "Phenomenology". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2018/entries/phenomenology/. Accessed 24 February 2021.