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Stephens through decolonizing the I, problematizes its universality throughout Western philosophy and aesthetics. She argues for bringing the messiness of the body to philosophical discussions through EmDisEmbodiment, an existential,phenomenological, and psychoanalytic method of not only embodiment or disembodiment but a relation between embodiment and disembodiment. An EmDisEmbodied I appreciates statements from another’s universal at odds with one's own realizing both the deconstructive and reconstructive potentials of identity formation. She believes this approach will enrich philosophical conversations concerning the I and its relationship to others. She further argues that the conversation between aesthetics and philosophy can do exactly this. Taking an intersectional approach, she draws connections amongst what she refers to as Irigaray's fluidI, Fanon’s Universal-Particular I, and Jean Luc Nancy’s Absolute-Fragmented I.She sees the understanding of the nuances of the Universal-Particular questioning body that is reconstructing itself with a keen self-realization that it will never be complete; the Absolute-Fragmented relational body with frayed edges tying and untying knots; and the fluid body that thinks in terms of proximities and dualities; as key to expanding the conversation surrounding the various isms. Looking at ideas from these theorists, along with Lewis Gordon, Jacques Derrida, and Gayatri Spivak in conversation with the work of various artists she shows how the intercourse between conceptions of art, philosophy and “the I”get to the very needed connections amongst the universal, its drives, emotions,embodiment, disembodiment and her term EmDisEmbodiment.In turn she suggests a new understanding of the form vs. content, abstraction vs. figuration contemporary art debates. An understanding that does not set up a dichotomy that hierarchizes but instead complicates the divisions between form/content, figuration/abstraction, the body/the formless, and the universalI/the particular I. She concludes by looking at Nancy's “wandering labor of sense” as it relates to Édouard Glissant's errantry.
Aesthetics | Arts and Humanities | Philosophy
Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts
Stephens, Sandra A., "The I?: Decolonizing the I Through Art and Emdisembodiment" (2022). Academic Research and Dissertations. 35.
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