Feminist Philosophical Toys

Rebecca Rouse, University of Skövde; Nassim Parvin, Georgia Institute of Technology

Toronto 2021: Storytelling as Relations

Building on the history of the Victorian ‘philosophical toy’ Feminist Philosophical Toys presents a re-imagined set of paper machines as feminist materials for readers to think with. Grounded in an understanding of the rhetorical power of materialities, as inspired by thinkers new and old from Maria Montessori to Donna Haraway and Karen Barad, this short volume provides a grounded approach to feminist design and critique through the use of cut-and-fold paper objects, provided to the reader via a downloadable template that accompanies the text.

Whereas traditional philosophical toys were luxury-object apparatuses such as the zoetrope and stereoscope, brought into the Victorian home to teach principles of human perception and disseminate the practices and principles of the scientific method, Feminist Philosophical Toys are flexible and accessible paper-based objects that push back against scientific positivism as it manifests in design, refutes the book as the primary material of the Philosophy discipline at large, and opens up feminist perspectives and methods at the intersection of philosophy, pedagogy, and design practice. As such, feminist philosophical toys are at once a reflection and extension of a feminist epistemological and ethical position: that of situated knowledges and reflexive practice grounded in relational and restorative justice.

Published: 01/30/2023