‘How like a (Fig) leaf: supplanting shame’

Turner, Lynn. 2019. '‘How like a (Fig) leaf: supplanting shame’'. In: SLSA 2019: 33rd Annual Conference of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. UC Irvine, United States 7-9 November 2019. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Paper given as part of the 'Experiments in Deconstruction' panel that I convened with Nicole Anderson and Naomi Waltham-Smith.

Recent years have seen growing interest in the subject of plants. However, this paper will not follow a politics of representation that seeks only to redress an absence of attention by adding in the missing plant to a field otherwise construed to be adequate. Rather, it learns from Derrida’s positioning of the ‘animal question’ as not ‘one question amongst others’ but something that, in pushing at the conceptual foundations of metaphysics, shakes the heart of ‘our’ ethical, juridical, and political field. Speculating upon what force the ‘plant question’ might disseminate, the paper engages the crucial work of Elaine Miller and her activation of Luce Irigaray’s ‘efflorescence.’ Rather than propagate the Aristotelian legacy of the ‘vegetative soul’ – a legacy in which the feminine and the vegetal are rooted in passivity as the dumping ground of everything the subject that calls himself ‘man’ fears – they allow for a transplantion of this soul such that natural origins no longer entrench stasis and growth ‘never estranges itself from corporeal existence’ (Irigaray).

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


28 June 2019Accepted
10 November 2019Published

Event Location:

UC Irvine, United States

Date range:

7-9 November 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Oct 2019 16:00

Last Modified:

06 Jan 2020 08:43



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