Braidotti, who holds Italian and Australian citizenship, was born in Italy and grew up in Australia, where she received a First-Class Honours degree from the Australian National University in Canberra in 1977. Braidotti then moved on to do her doctoral work at the Sorbonne, where she received her PhD in philosophy in 1981. She was appointed as the founding Professor in Women’s Studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands in 1988; in 1995 she became the founding Director of the Netherlands Research School of Women’s Studies, a position she held till 2005. Braidotti is a pioneer in European Women’s Studies: she founded the inter-university SOCRATES network NOISE and the Thematic Network for Women’s Studies ATHENA, which she directed till 2005. She was founding director of the Centre for the Humanities from 2007 until September 2016. Braidotti is currently Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University.
Braidotti has held visiting professorships in the top academic institutions in the world: she was appointed Honorary Visiting Professor at University College London (2016-23); the Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge in 2019; the professorial research fellow in Bologna (2018-21); the Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at Birkbeck College in 2005-6; Jean Monnet professor at the European University Institute in Florence in 2002-3; Fellowship in the school of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1994 and a Fulbright senior grant in 1994-95. She has also lectured at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Berkeley, Oxford, Edinburgh, Liverpool, the Sorbonne, Frankfurt, Mainz, Berlin, the Western Cape, Seoul, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. She delivered the 2017 Tanners Lectures on Human values at Yale University in the USA.
Braidotti’s publications have consistently been placed in continental and feminist philosophy, at the intersection with social and political theory, cultural politics, gender, and postcolonial studies. Her interdisciplinary work can be divided into three main focal points: contemporary subjectivity, feminist theories and the posthuman convergence. The core of her work on subjectivity consists of four interconnected monographs, with special emphasis on the concept of difference within the history of European philosophy and political theory: Patterns of Dissonance (Routledge, 1991); Nomadic Subjects (Columbia University Press, 1994); Metamorphoses (Polity Press, 2002); and Transpositions (Polity Press, 2006). Braidotti’s philosophical project investigates how to think difference positively, which means moving beyond the dialectics that both opposes it and thus links it by negation to the notion of sameness. She makes a case for an alternative view on subjectivity, ethics and emancipation and pitches diversity against the postmodernist risk of cultural relativism while also standing against the tenets of liberal individualism.
The second phase of Braidotti’s research consists of a trilogy on the posthuman condition. The first volume is The Posthuman (Polity Press, 2013) and it sets up the general framework for the convergence of advanced technologies on the one hand, and advanced environmental devastation on the other. As the boundaries between the human and its others are becoming increasingly blurred, through our digital lives, reproductive technologies and genetically modified foods, the question of what it means to be human is taking a new turn. This also results in a need to reevaluate humanism and the humanities. Braidotti takes a closer look at these developments and proposes new and affirmative ways of producing knowledge and building communities. This topic is further explored in Posthuman Knowledge (Polity Press, 2019), which focuses on the implications of the convergence for the knowledge production practices of the contemporary Humanities. The last volume Posthuman Feminism (Polity Press, forthcoming 2020) deals with the implications and consequences of the posthuman convergence for the emancipatory politics of social movements.
Throughout her work, Braidotti asserts and demonstrates the importance of combining theoretical concerns with a serious commitment to producing socially and politically relevant scholarship that contributes to making a difference in the world. Braidotti’s output also includes several edited volumes. Her work has been translated in more than 20 languages and all her main books in at least three languages other than English.
Introduction to Braidotti’s work
Influenced by philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze and especially “French feminist” thinker Luce Irigaray, but also by the Australian materialist tradition of Genevieve Lloyd Braidotti has brought postmodern feminism into the Information Age with her considerations of cyberspace, prosthesis, and the materiality of difference. Braidotti also considers how ideas of gender difference can affect our sense of the human/animal and human/machine divides. Braidotti has pioneered European perspectives in feminist philosophy and practice and has been influential on third-wave and post-secular feminisms as well as emerging posthumanist thought.
On 3 March 2005, Braidotti was honored with a Royal Knighthood from Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands; in August 2006 she received the University Medal from the University of Lodz in Poland and she was awarded an Honorary Degree in Philosophy from Helsinki University in May 2007. In 2009, she was elected Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2013 she was awarded an Honorary Degree in Philosophy from Linköping University, Sweden.