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Northwestern University's Department of Philosophy presents Robin Dembroff

When: Friday, December 2, 2022
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, 1515, 1880 Campus Drive , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Emily Berry   (847) 491-3656

Group: Philosophy Colloquium Series

Category: Academic


Abstract: The concept of patriarchy is attached to a big promise: the promise of a unified explanation for gender injustice across many places and times. 'Patriarchy' is our name for the system that reproduces systemic gender injustice. But the standard view of patriarchy as a system of men's dominance over women fails us. It distorts or erases the complex, relational field of gendered power wherein we find hierarchies among women, the regular mistreatment of marginalized men (such as gay or Black men), and harms targeting those who are androgynous or intersex. Many feminist scholars, including Judith Butler and Sally Haslanger, conclude from this that we must do away with the concept of patriarchy. Patriarchy, they say, does not exist. In this talk, I'll offer an alternative path--a new paradigm for patriarchy. Through this paradigm, we see patriarchy as the institutionalized system of regulating people in accordance with cultural ideals of what men and women are and ought to be. While this system devalues women as women, it does not do so equally, nor does it thereby benefit men as men. Patriarchy works to the primary benefit of those who most closely approximate institutionalized ideals of manhood--ideals that, in our own context, are configured to align with capitalism, white supremacy, heteronormativity, and ableism. Put simply, patriarchy puts "Real Men" on top.

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