WS 9550 Feminist Theory (required course)
Professor Helen Fielding
September - December 2010
Monday 2:30 - 5:30 pm
Somerville House (SH) 2348
This course will analyze feminist theoretical approaches providing students with an understanding of the fundamental questions at stake in each. We will consider epistemological perspectives as well as theintersections of feminist theories with other theoretical approaches such as queer theory and critical race theory. The implications of feminist theory for academic research will be addressed throughout.
This is a team-taught course that covers a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to feminism across the arts and humanities. With the help of experts in each field students will study feminism in relation to the visual arts, history, philosophy, English literature, cultural studies, and theatre and performance.
Using readings and cases from several disciplines to inform discussions and seminar presentations, course participants will critically examine theories and research on workplace discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender and race. We will then consider policy remedies including human rights processes, employment equity, pay equity, and diversity programs, and assess their outcomes for women. Central themes of the course include the critical analysis of ways in which policies are constructed and implemented, and the dynamics of organizational change and resistance to change in the workplace.
By focusing on the ways in which corporeality is always already mediated by and through technology and its myriad meanings, this course will begin to explore the implications and possibilities that exist for understanding the complex relationship between gender and embodiment. Some of the forms of technology investigated will include, but not necessarily be limited to, technologies of representation, bodily modification, corporeal control, physical pleasure, healing and adornment. Thus, these investigations will explore various aspects of women's embodied lives (race, age, class, disability, maternity, displacement, disease, desire, sexuality, employment) as they are negotiated in and through their interaction with a variety of disparate technologies.
A study of race, ethnicity, and racism, especially, but not exclusively, as they arise in feminisms and feminist scholarship. Questions will include, but are not limited to: How should we understand race? How does intersectional identity (including racial, ethnic and class identity) challenge feminist discourse? Is there a difference between exclusion and racism? How is anti-racist feminism different from feminism? What would an inclusive feminist movement and inclusive feminist scholarship look like? Authors will include Linda Martin Alcoff, Maria Lugones, Audre Lorde, Patricia Hill Collins, Patricia Monture, Chandra Mohanty, Jimani Bannerji, and Gloria Anzaldua.
WS 9583 Gender and Civil Society in Global Development
Professor Arja Vainio-Mattila
September - December 2010
Monday 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Weldon Library (WL) 259
The possibility of empowering of women globally through international development initiatives is a central assumption underlying these efforts. This course will explore how the discourses of gender and civil society perform within the context of global development. We will examine in particular issues such as: relationship between participation and empowerment, whether civil society performs as an agent, space or process, meaning of gender equality versus gender equity, and what gets promoted and/or obscured in development discourse as we engage with these emerging narratives.
Through varied forms of cultural production, theory, literature, and visual culture, this course will offer an overview of the history and development of queer theory in Europe and North America. Specifically, the course will aim to address how queer theory's analysis of non-normative sexualities intersects with feminist analyses of gender; it will also examine how the queering of sexuality can provide alternative ways of thinking about broader constructions of identity, in particular those of race and class.
The directed reading course is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member, and is taken only by permission of the Chair of Graduate Studies. Normally, only PhD students are permitted to take a directed reading course, and Master's students will only be allowed to do so under exceptional circumstances.
The Independent Research Project is only available to MA students See the IRP Guidelines here.
Please note that enrolment in these courses is limited.
EDU 9626 Theories of Gender/Theories of Curriculum
Professor Wayne Martino
January 2011 - April 2011
Tuesday 6:30 - 9:30 pm
Location: Althouse College 2040
This course investigates the relationship between curriculum and gender, creating a dynamic dialogue between theories of gender and theories of curriculum. Students will reflect intensively on the "texts" through reading, writing and discussion, and engage in the rewriting of "curriculum" in the context of their own professional/personal lives.
Links between gender, colonization, and decolonization are currently at the forefront of postcolonial and indigenous studies. The recent publication of books on Indigenous women and feminism marks a significant moment in the production of a critical discourse that combines indigenous epistemologies with feminist postcolonial critique. This course will examine the intersections of indigenous epistemologies and postcolonial feminist discourses from Canada, Australia, India and the US. Students will read a variety of indigenous cultural practices including performance art, fiction, testimonial discourses, poetry and drama. Students will also read theoretical works by Jeannette Armstrong, Chandra Mohanty, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Gerald Vizenor, and Robert Young.
ENG 9065 British Women Writers Before 1800 (Full Course)
Professor Alison Conway
Summer 2011 Time TBA
Location: University College 377
This course will examine women writers from the Medieval period to 1800, focussing its attention on the way that women responded to the cultural imperatives of their historical moment. Through our reading of a selection of early women's texts, including novels, plays, letters, poetry, and polemical writing, we will consider such issues as spirituality, patronage, prostitution, marriage, maternity, politics, and authorship as central concerns for women writers. Some of the questions we will consider include: How does Margery Kempe authorize her mystical revelations? How do Renaissance women writers derive authority from the figure of Queen Elizabeth? How does the history of the querelle des femmes unfold in the early modern period? How do seventeenth-century authors respond to the crisis of the Civil War and to the Restoration of Charles II? How do women writers represent England's imperial ambitions? What impact does the professionalization of authorship have on women writing in the eighteenth century? How does the Enlightenment inform feminist polemic at the close of the early modern period?
Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
The Book of Margery Kempe , trans. B. A. Windeatt
The Poems of Amelia Lanyer
Major Women Writers of Seventeenth-Century England , ed. Fitzmaurice et al.
Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730 , ed. Backscheider and Richetti
Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote
Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World and Other Writings
Frances Burney, Evelina
Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman; The Wrongs of Woman
This course is not only the story of how women have lived over time in different contexts and from different perspectives in the history of the western world. Rather, it is as much about how historians have written about the female gender, and about the theoretical debates that have informed their writings. The broad expanse of history covered in this course allows for only some select 'flashpoints' to be examined. These will allow us to focus on key issues both in the historical debate and in the history of women in the western world. This will provide an overview or framework for understanding the complexities of changes in women's roles in the western world over time.
To create can mean to make, to produce, to conceive, to imagine, to design, to invent resulting in the new, spontaneous, surprising, unusual, ingenious, original, different. In the conception of all aspects of creativity - from the nature of the processes, the assessment of the products to the definition of the persons involved in creation and reception - the cultural construction of gender comes into play. Around 1800, both discourses, creativity and gender, undergo particularly remarkable changes reflected in contemporary cultural practices. Aesthetic and philosophical concepts of esprit, talent, originality and genius are placed into definite relationships to gender, ranging from the muse to madman. Visual and literary (self-) representations of creativity or of the creative process take on strategic positions in relation to gender, especially with prototypes like the improvisatrice. And the gendered places or milieus of creativity, including the salon, define social spaces for the performance or circulation of creativity.
This course will examine the changing parameters for creativity and gender through the lenses of philosophic texts by Immanuel Kant, Heinrich von Kleist, Elizabeth Montagu, visual representations by Angelika Kauffmann, Marie Sall?, Richard Samuel, Elisabeth Vig?e Lebrun and poetic texts by Frances Burney, Fran?oise de Graffigny, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Novalis, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Mary Shelley, Germaine de Sta?l and George Sand. Contemporary theoretical considerations like Judith Butler's "performance", Julia Kristeva's "female genius", Roland Barthes "bricolage", Gilles Deleuze/ F?lix Guattari's "heterogenesis", Umberto Eco's "chaosmos", Jacques Derrida's "genie" will sharpen our focus on creativity and gender around 1800.
Beginning in the early 1990s and in part inspired by the AIDS crisis of the period, queer theory developed approaches to the study of sexuality and gender which departed from approaches within gay and lesbian studies by embracing postmodernist and feminist theory. Rather than concentrating on understanding homosexuality, its origins, characteristics, culture, history and place in the world, queer theory postulated that all of our contemporary understandings of sexuality were influenced by a Cartesian epistemology of gender, the discursive centrality of the homo/hetero binary to contemporary identities, and the effect of regimes of normativity on everything from subjectivity to the politics of civil rights. Queer theory made many gay and lesbian-identified people (including scholars) uneasy because it questioned the naturalness and necessity of understanding people as categorically homosexual or heterosexual. By identifying all sexual identities as cultural constructs, queer theory was seen by some of its opponents - as is so often the accusation against postmodernist theories more generally - as pulling the rug out from under hard-won identities, devaluing histories based on essentialist notions of sexuality, and making more difficult the work of human rights-based LGBT organizations.
Almost two decades later, we can ask how queer theory has developed since its momentous but fraught inception. As Michael O'Rourke points out, "almost since it began we have been hearing about the death of Queer Theory." However, like postmodernism, deconstruction, and other theoretical approaches whose "death" is frequently bruited about, queer theory's obituary appears to be somewhat premature. Rather than being assimilated or destroyed by its fashionable edginess, queer theory seems instead to be responding to Michel Foucault's call to "think thought itself differently." On the one hand, early queer theorists, like Judith Butler, Michael Warner and Lee Edelman, have become deeply engaged with world politics while, at the same time, newer theorists have emerged for whom an emphasis on Euro-American texts was never a priority: writers like Sara Ahmed, Gayatri Gopinath, Martin Manalansan, Jos? Esteban Mu?oz, JasbirK. Puar and Ruth Vanita have engaged with queer theory from a variety of cultural perspectives. As well as addressing questions of intersectionality (with race, ethnicity, class, etc.), contemporary queer theory has diversified into such areas as queer phenomenology; the critique of homonormativity; the study of queer kinship, queer families and the queer child; queer liberalism; queer critiques of war and/on terrorism; queer globalization and queer diasporas; human rights; and responses to discourses of citizenship, migration and asylum-seeking. In this course, we will examine a number of these recent turns in queer theory in order to evaluate both its current status and its continued usefulness.