Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2018

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

First Advisor

Megan Sinnott

Second Advisor

Julie Kubala

Third Advisor

Susan Talburt


This thesis engages the concept of freedom in contemporary radical philosophy, focusing on philosophers Judith Butler, Elizabeth Grosz, and Brian Massumi. I argue that the dominant contemporary portrait of freedom is historically anachronistic insofar as the free act is conflated with irruptive, disruptive variations in the social fabric. I draw on the work of Henri Bergson to argue that our historical present requires that we resituate freedom in the ground of singular, personal experience, against the dominant tendency to approach freedom from a lens that prioritizes social change. Key to this theoretical shift is the re-temporalization of free acts as processes that extend through time and that emerge from the consistency of an enduring self.