Book Spotlight: A Hermeneutic Approach to Social Identities by Lauren Swayne Barthold

One of Hermeneutical Movements’ aims is to promote the philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer and those who think with and beyond Gadamer. Our Book Spotlights, Article Spotlights, Mini-Reviews, and Online Book Symposia work toward that end. Book Spotlights are brief 100-200 word descriptions of a book. Article Spotlights are brief 100-200 word abstracts with links to the authors’ articles. Mini-Reviews are 500-1500 word engagements with a theme or book chapter. For Book Symposia, we will invite two scholars to write 1500-2000 word essays on an author’s work and will also include the author’s response. All three essays will then be posted and readers are invited to participate by offering constructive and critical comments.

Our first Book Spotlight is Lauren Swayne Barthold’s book, A Hermeneutic Approach to Gender and Other Social Identities (Palgrave, 2016)

Book Description (From Back Cover)

This book draws on the hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer to inform a feminist perspective of social identities. Lauren Swayne Barthold moves beyond answers that either defend the objective nature of identities or dismiss their significance altogether. Building on the work of both hermeneutic and non-hermeneutic feminist theorists of identity, she asserts the relevance of concepts like horizon, coherence, dialogue, play, application, and festival for developing a theory of identity. This volume argues that as intersubjective interpretations, social identities are vital ways of fostering meaning and connection with others. Barthold also demonstrates how a hermeneutic approach to social identities can provide critiques of and resistance to identity-based oppression.  

Lauren Swayne Barthold is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Gordon College, USA. She is also the Cofounder and Coadvisor of the Gender Studies Minor. She is the author of several works on Gadamer, including Gadamer’s Dialectical Hermeneutics.