CPP Colloquium: Exploring Rape as a Crime against the Erotic

Louise du Toit

Louise du Toit

The Leiden Centre for Political Philosophy (CPP) is pleased to announce a talk by Dr. Louise du Toit (University of Stellenbosch), entitled: 

Exploring Rape as a Crime against the Erotic


‘…In order to invent heaven and hell, a man would need to know nothing except the human body
José Saramago, Baltasar and Blimunda, 1998:231

Date: Thursday, 8 October 2015
Time: 15:15-17:00
Venue: Institute for Philosophy, Reuvensplaats 4, Leiden
Room 1.01E


Abstract

This paper sets out to formulate a feminist conception of the good of the human erotic, and of sexual violence as a crime against the erotic. It considers what constitutes the good of the erotic, of the body’s sensual powers, energies and capacities, and it does so through a phenomenological lens. Taking its main cues from Simone de Beauvoir’s understanding of the erotic and Debra Bergoffen’s reception and interpretation of Beauvoir, the article takes as its point of departure that the sphere of the erotic is fundamentally distorted by patriarchy. In fact, patriarchy can be said to appropriate the immense power of the erotic body through perversions and distortions for its own destructive projects. Nowhere is this clearer than in the use of mass rape during warfare. At the same time, however, the violent enlisting of the erotic body also has a more quotidian face, ranging from child marriage to versions of romantic love. Due to the global and enduring nature of patriarchal power, the attempt to salvage the human erotic in its healing, constructive, world-making and liberating potential against several perversions must of necessity be a daunting, gradual task and an act of faith. Yet, this distinction should be drawn and carefully elaborated as a central aspect of the feminist struggle against sexual violence.

About Louise du Toit

Louise du Toit is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch. Before joining Stellenbosch in 2010, she taught at the former Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit which became the University of Johannesburg. Her book, A Philosophical Investigation of Rape: The Making and Unmaking of the Feminine Self (Routledge) was published in 2009. In that same year, Louise served as Guest Editor for the November 2009 special edition of Philosophical Papers that examined ‘The Meaning/s of Rape’. Louise is a former board member of the International Association of Women Philosophers (IAPh). Louise is a National Research Foundation rated researcher (South Africa), and she has published widely on the theme of rape and sexual violence, relating this to phenomenological analysis, feminist legal theory, transitional justice, philosophy and literature, and African thought.

Last Modified: 16-09-2015