'I don't know what gender is, but I do, and I can, and we all do': An interview with Clare Hemmings

Clare Hemmings, Susan Rudy

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2 Citations (Scopus)


What follows is an interview with Clare Hemmings, Professor of Feminist Theory and Head of the Department of Gender Studies at the London School of Economics. A leading figure in UK feminist theory, her research insists that we acknowledge matters of ambivalence and uncertainty in our history-making, storytelling and theorising. As such, it contributes to and has productively intervened in many fields, including feminist epistemology, affect theory, historiography and sexuality studies. Beginning with her first book, Bisexual Spaces: A Geography of Sexuality and Gender (2002), continuing in Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory (2011), and most overtly in Considering Emma Goldman: Feminist Political Ambivalence and the Imaginative Archive (2018), Hemmings interrogates and challenges dominant modes and expressions of gender and sexuality from a feminist positionality that is itself under-theorised and arely articulated: that of a feminine bisexual woman. As Hemmings notes, bisexual positionality encompasses the affective capacity for a ‘combination of heterosexual and homosexual desire’ (Hemmings, 2002a; 2002b: 17) and thus generates ‘radical reconfigurations’ (Hemmings, 2002b: 197) of our understanding of the relations between gender, sex and desire. Yet bisexuality has been repeatedly reproduced, within both feminist and queer theory, ‘as an abstract and curiously lifeless middle ground’ (Hemmings, 2002b: 1).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-222
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number2
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

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