Reclaiming the Secret of Love

Feminism, Imagination and Sexual Difference

by Katherine Zappone (Author) Anne Louise Gilligan (Author)
Monographs XVI, 182 Pages


This book presents a bold hypothesis: the social transformation at the heart of feminist theory will be concretised only when women, and men, use their imaginations to empower new ways of being in and understanding our world. Feminist theory and the history of the philosophy of the imagination are used as resources to outline how the practice of «sexual difference» as an ontological vocation, and its application to religious language, can be a call to live love and mutual relations in a new way. Poetry, art, cultural and literary works are key resources too. Gilligan invites the reader to apply this theory, history and art to their own unfolding gender identities through an imagination no longer hindered by patriarchal characteristics and restrictions. She offers a special focus on the becoming of female subjectivity. She knew that if people, especially, though not only, women, image the possible for themselves and our world, through doing the hard work of becoming subject, not object of any other, such agency would necessarily change even the most intransigent social, economic and cultural problems to shift violence towards peace, lies towards truth, poverty and inequality towards the flourishing of every one. She bore witness to this in her own life, with others.


XVI, 182
ISBN (Book)
Publication date
2021 (June)
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2021. XVI, 182 pp., 2 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Katherine Zappone (Author) Anne Louise Gilligan (Author)

Dr Ann Louise Gilligan was appointed to the staff of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland in 1976, and worked in the area of teacher education for over thirty years. She was Head of the Department of Religious Studies, St. Patrick’s College (1983-1989). She transferred to its Education department in 1990 where she established and directed its Educational Disadvantage Centre and lectured on philosophy of the imagination, difference and educational equality. She co-founded An Cosán, a community based lifelong learning centre in Tallaght, Dublin with Dr Katherine Zappone. She co-authored their memoirs, Our Lives Out Loud . Their public advocacy and legal case to have their Vancouver marriage recognised by Irish law was the catalyst for the passing of the referendum on marriage equality in 2015. After Ann Louise Gilligan’s death in June 2017, Dublin City University named a lecture theatre in its Institute of Education, St. Patrick’s Campus in her honour. Dr Katherine Zappone is a human rights advocate, educator, author and former Independent Minister for Children and Youth Affairs as well as Senator in Ireland. She served as Special Envoy on Ireland’s successful bid to secure a seat at the United Nation’s Security Council. She has taught ethics, feminist theory and human rights in Trinity College Dublin and throughout Europe, Australia, Canada and the United States. She is an International Expert on the Lancet Covid-19 Commission, and an international consultant to UN agencies. Ann Louise Gilligan is her late spouse and co-changemaker.


Title: Reclaiming the Secret of Love