Centre for Women's and Gender Research

Women, Biology, Technology: Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex, then and now

The year 2020 marked the fifty year anniversary of the publication of Shulamith Firestone’s radical feminist manifesto, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution.

An image composed of the book cover of The Dialectics of Sex and an picture of Firestone
William Morrow and Company (publisher)/Michael Hardy (photographer)

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With this book, Firestone became a leading while also contested pioneer of the women’s liberation movement of the seventies. She argued that gender equality could only be achieved by liberating woman’s body from the reproductive role assigned to it by nature in and through pregnancy, birth and lactation. Hence, development of technologies that can move the reproductive process outside the female body entirely must be a feminist priority, according to her.

With abortion laws back on the political agenda, and given recent advances in reproductive technologies that suggest “artificial wombs” could soon be a reality, Firestone’s analysis of women’s reproductive labour has renewed relevance for our present time.

About the conversation

Victoria Margree – Principal Lecturer and member of the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics at the University of Brighton; and author of the book Neglected or Misunderstood: The Radical Feminism of Shulamith Firestonejoins Claus Halberg, postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research, the University of Bergen, in a conversation about Shulamith Firestone’s legacy.

Due to the pandemic, the conversation, which originally was to be held physically at Bergen offentlige bibliotek (BoB), will be filmed and posted on BoB's official YouTube channel. The video will be posted on this event page as soon as it has been published.

The seminar was originally scheduled for April 2020, but was postponed due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The conversation will be in English.