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UTS ePRESS (University of Technology Sydney)

Article by Åsberg, Cecilia

Before the trains of thought have been firmly laid down, we ask in this article about the very nature and histories of the speculative of the speculative-materialist turn. We do this from the intertwined interfaces of curious feminist materialisms, foregrounding sexual difference, post-positivist critique and posthumanist performativity such as is being done in various strands of feminist theory today (new materialist feminism, new feminist science studies, feminist posthumanities etc.). The question of speculation plays a constitutive role in feminist critique and in several new or neo-materialist traditions. In fact, many interesting materialisms—Marxism, French feminism—can be named ‘speculative’. We argue that in spite of what the recent ‘speculative turn’ professes, speculative materialisms have a complex genealogy. Speculation functions transversally in a materialist genealogy (dis)-connecting the archive of feminist approaches in particular. In order to be able to imagine a different (feminist) world we need to think through a stifled and sexually differentiated present from which a qualitative shift and political breakthrough can be formulated, and hopefully achieved. However, in what is currently called ‘speculative realism’ or ‘object-oriented ontologies’ neither speculation nor the speculative are reflected upon as a heritage from and alliance with feminist and politically materialist positions. What are the onto-epistemological stakes of this body of work? And what ethico-political horizons are drawn here? We stand speculative before such turn.