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Nick of Time

Politics, evolution and the untimely

Nick of Time by Elizabeth Grosz
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In her latest work, seminal thinker Elizabeth Grosz interrogates the work of three theorists - Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Henri Bergson, who can be regarded as the key philosophical protagonists of evolutionary theory. Combining cultural studies, philosophy, science studies and feminist theory, Grosz shows how the evolutionary forces regulating the development of life may also help to explain the growing elaboration and complication of social and political life.

Grosz argues that there has been a fundamental misconception at the heart of feminism and philosophy's understanding of the body and of biology. In conceiving the body as ‘given', and as bound by biology, the way in which the body is actually opened up by biology, its capacity for becoming, has been overlooked. Grosz wants to make clear that the biology of individuals and of species is subjected to the ever forward movement of time itself, which differentiates, elaborates and renders the biological body unpredictable in its potential. She asks: What is the reality of time? What effects does time have on the organisation of matter and the emergence of life? What transformations does the passage of time effect on the development of life? How are we to understand the active movement of time, its relentless forward movement, in political and social terms? What relations develop between past, present and future?

These are questions that make a difference for those concerned with the social dimensions of science, and the political dimensions of struggle.

''This wide ranging study has important implications for the feminist philosophy of the body, the ‘corporeal feminism', that Elizabeth Grosz and others initiated in the 1980s. Always one to take on big questions, Grosz wants to shift the attention of feminist and other radical social theory to the natural sciences, in order to ask how the biological induces the cultural and, further, how our immersion in time affects the materiality of living beings. Her characteristically lucid and passionate style engages imagination and intellect equally, and invites a wide readership.''
Susan Sheridan, Professor of Women's Studies, Flinders University
Allen & Unwin; October 2004
324 pages; ISBN 9781741151701
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Title: Nick of Time
Author: Elizabeth Grosz
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