Gender Rhizome Glossary

The Gender Rhizome addresses intersecting issues of crucial importance to a large number of projects at the Cluster of Excellence Image Knowledge Gestaltung. This glossary includes some of the key terms, often appearing in or relevant to the research of different projects at the cluster, which the Gender Rhizome project has worked with and analyzed. The definitions below are broadly informed by feminist materialisms, feminist technoscience studies, feminist & queer methodologies, posthumanism, and gender & sexuality studies, challenging normative binary distinctions between body and mind, nature and culture, or matter and thought.


Agency The capacity to act, which is distributed across networks of force and/or power.

Color A hybrid optical phenomenon emerging between a perceiver’s environment and their situated, embodied experience.

Digitality Technological regime that structures the relations between technical objects, materials and human and nonhuman actors and material agencies.

Embodiment The ways in which material and social practices produce situated corporealities.

Environment The constitutive enmeshment and the on-going interactions of elements and their surroundings.

Intersectionality A tool to analyze the interweaving of identities with power and inequality in socio-political practices and historical contexts.

Gender The accumulated meanings generated around socially produced assumptions about sexual difference, which cannot be disentangled.

Matter(ing) A bundle of more than physical processes in which the physical and meaning are not separate but co-constitutive

New Materialisms An epistemology and a methodology that underlines the agentive materiality of things and the historical entanglement of matter and meaning.

Objectivity A value and an ethics for how to critically produce robust knowledge, which in feminist epistemology necessarily includes situatedness.

Posthumanism Mode of inquiry decentering the category of the human, exploring interwoven lines of knowledge, technology and matter, and implicating the historical configuration of the human.

Rhizome Following Deleuze and Guattari, a decentered network of relations and connections without any discernible beginning or end.

Situatedness The understanding that seeing, perceiving and knowing are bound to specific socio-historical locations that inform practices and structures of knowledge.

Techno(logy) The (institutionalized) ways of rearranging materials, agencies and activities to produce emergent functionalities.

Virtuality The latent, immanent potentiality of becoming (in other words, the correlate of the actual)