UCLA Dept of Classics alumna Irene Han has published her book, Plato and the metaphysical feminine: one hundred and one night

Published: December 15, 2023

Our own Irene Han (PhD UCLA 2017, now teaching at NYU-Gallatin) has published her book, the fruit of lengthy contemplation: Congratulations, Irene!

Entitled Plato and the metaphysical feminine: one hundred and one nights. Classics in theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023. Pp. 208. ISBN 9780192849588, you can find it here.

Synopsis: Plato and the Metaphysical Feminine offers a new interpretation of the role of the female and the feminine in Plato’s political dialogues–the RepublicLaws, and Timaeus–informed by Deleuze’s film theory and Irigaray’s psychoanalytic feminism. Irene Han reads Plato against the grain in order to close the gap between the vitalists and Plato, instead of magnifying their differences. Han explores the ambivalence that the vitalist tradition, Irigaray, and Derrida have towards Platonism. The application of Deleuzian and Irigarayan concepts to the ancient texts produces a new reading of Plato, focusing on the centrality and importance of motion, change, sensuality, and becoming to Platonic philosophy and, thereby, reinterprets Platonic philosophy in the direction of Heraclitus rather than Parmenides: as feminist rather than masculinist, and as mimetic. It therefore prioritizes Heraclitean principles of movement and flux over Form, the feminine over masculine, and materiality, feeling, or sensation over abstraction and universal essence. Han’s exploration illustrates how, in Plato’s thought, the feminine maps itself onto the plane of phenomena–a plane associated with vitalist themes such as motion, tactility, and change (metabolē). Platonic metaphysics is recontextualized by illustrating how Being expresses itself through processes of (feminine) becoming. With this reformulation, the resulting account of Platonic Being destabilizes any purported Platonic dualism.

Congratulations Irene on your newly published book!