This paper examines numerous pre-texts in Anglo-American feminist theology and critical theory seminal to the establishment of feminist philosophy of religion as a distinct academic discipline. Specifically, I trace early reception of philosopher Luce Irigaray’s writing on becoming divine women in Anglo-American feminist circles, arguing that critical attention to the “horizons of expectations” around Irigaray’s person is a necessary step to the myriad readings of her work. I begin by situating my own initial expectations and encounters with Irigaray’s writing on divine women as a graduate student in theological studies cross-registered in a course on ‘French Feminism’ in the neighboring Romance Language Department. I then offer a unique reading of Irigaray’s reception surrounding her early writing on divinity, highlighting ways that Anglo-American theologians and feminist philosophers leveraged Irigaray’s contested status as a French Feminist and philosopher of religion as a way to simultaneously interrogate Irigaray’s claims about the divine as well as mollify generalized Anglo-American anxiety around writing grounded in post-structuralist Lacanian theory. I draw attention to the prevalence of Luce Irigaray’s thought in the 1993 co-edited volume Transfigurations: Theology and the French Feminists, the special issue “Feminist Philosophy of Religion'' in Hypatia (1994), and in the field-defining books of two pioneers of the discipline: Pamela Sue Anderson and Grace Jantzen. I conclude with reflections about reception of Irigaray’s writing on the divine with regards to her more recent publications.
Kunz, Elsa. 2023. "What Difference Does it Make? Early Reception Stories about Luce Irigaray's Writing on Divine Women." Journal of Feminist Scholarship 23 (Fall): 24-38. 10.23860/jfs.2023.23.03.
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