WOMNST 2242: FEMINIST THEORY

SPRING 1999

 

 

Dr. Kathleen Blee

Women's Studies office:

2632 Cathedral of Learning/624-6485

Sociology office:

2J20 Forbes Quadrangle/628-7590

email: kblee+@pitt.edu

 

 

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to feminist theory. We will examine and discuss a wide range of feminist theories, drawing from works in history, social sciences, philosophy, cultural studies and literary theory. We will also draw from interdisciplinary gender theories. Particular emphasis will be placed on exploring the intersection of gender with race, class, sexuality and nationality, as these relate both to issues of identity and to structures of inequality. We will read and discuss both theoretical/conceptual works and exemplary studies that use feminist theories to explore various issues.

 

Required Texts (at Pitt book center and on reserve at Hillman Library)

 

Kate Bornstein, Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us. Vintage Books, 1994

 

Patricia Ticineto Clough, Feminist Thought : Desire, Power, and Academic Discourse. Blackwell, 1994.

Patricia Hill Collins, Fighting Words : Black Women and the Search for Justice. Univ of Minnesota Press, 1998.

 

Ann duCille, Skin Trade. Harvard Univ Press, 1996.

 

Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change. Univ of Illinois Press, 1996

 

Uma Narayan, Dislocating Cultures : Identities, Traditions, and Third-world Feminism. Routledge, 1997.

 

Arlene Stein, Sex and Sensibility : Stories of a Lesbian Generation. Univ of California Pr, 1997.

Noël Sturgeon, Ecofeminist Natures : Race, Gender, Feminist Theory, and Political Action. Routledge, 1997.

 

Meyda Ye_eno_lu, Colonial Fantasies : Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism. Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Young, Iris Marion, Intersecting Voices : Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy, and Policy. Princeton Univ Press, 1997.

 

Required articles are available in a packet on sale at Copy Cat.

Requirements and Grading

 

1. Class Preparation and Participation (20% of final grade)

 

The success of the seminar depends upon quality of the preparation and participation of all members. Attendance at each seminar meeting is required. You will be expected to prepare carefully for each class meeting by completing the required reading and by preparing questions and critical comments about the readings for that week to organize your participation in the seminar.

 

For one week you will be expected (perhaps with another student) to serve as a discussion co-facilitator with the instructor. For this week, you should carefully consider what is important and worthwhile for class discussion that week and be prepared to identify key themes, important questions, illuminating ideas. I recommend that you prepare (for your own use not to hand in) a list of topics to be covered in the discussion and a list of questions and starting points to prompt class discussion.

 

 

2. Summary/Evaluation/Application Sheets (10% of final grade)

 

For the two weeks in which we have a class summary, evaluation, and application session on sections of the course, you need to prepare a 2-3 page set of lists (not a narrative) that summarize what we know, what we donít yet know, and what is useful from the readings to date. You should organize your sheets to (1) indicate the major thematic connections in the set of readings; (2) list the main unresolved issues in the readings to date; (3) list how/what themes or approaches might be helpful in your own research project. These should be submitted after class and will serve as the basis for a short oral presentation.

 

3. Weekly Reaction Papers (70% of final grade)

 

Before each class meeting in which there is an assigned reading, you need to prepare a short (2-4 page) critical commentary on the readings assigned for that week. You are allowed 2 "misses" for a total of 10 reaction papers. Late reaction papers will not be accepted.

 

Reaction papers should be organized as follows:

 

(1) one paragraph (no more!) that summarizes the main argument(s) of the reading(s);

(2) one or two pages that outline the major contributions and major weaknesses of the argument;

(3) one or two paragraph(s) that positions the reading(s) within the main currents of feminist theories that we are exploring in this seminar OR that suggests how ideas in the reading might be useful to your own work;

(4) one or two questions that you would like to raise in class discussion.

 

WEEKLY CLASS SCHEDULE

 

 

**** PART I: ASSUMPTIONS OF FEMINIST THEORIZING****

 

 

JAN 7 INTRODUCTION TO FEMINIST THEORY

 

 

JAN 14 MAIN STREAMS OF FEMINIST THEORIES

 

Required Reading:

Patricia Ticineto Clough, Feminist Thought : Desire, Power, and Academic Discourse

 

 

JAN 21 METHODOLOGIES AND APPROACHES OF FEMINIST THEORIZING

 

Required Reading:

Barbara Christian, "The Race for Theory" in Making Face, Making Soul: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Women of Color (Aunt Lutz Foundation, 1990)

 

Heidi Gottfried, "Engaging Womenís Communities: Dilemmas and Contradictions in Feminist Research" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Sherry Gorelick, "Contradictions of Feminist Methodology" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Dorothy Smith, "Contradictions for Feminist Social Scientists" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Joan Acker, Kate Barry, and Joke Eseveld, "Objectivity and Truth: Problems in Doing Feminist Research" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

 

JAN 28 ISSUES OF AUTHORITY AND INTERPRETATION

 

Required Reading:

 

Linda Alcoff, "The Problem of Speaking for Others" Cultural Critique (1991-92)

 

Michael Awkward, "A Black Manís Place in Black Feminist Criticism" in Tom Digby (ed.), Men Doing Feminism (Routledge, 1998)

 

Sandra Harding, "Can Men Be Subjects of Feminist Thought?" in Tom Digby (ed.), Men Doing Feminism (Routledge, 1998)

 

Larry May, "A Progressive Male Standpoint" in Tom Digby (ed.), Men Doing Feminism (Routledge, 1998)

 

Judith Stacey, "Can There Be a Feminist Ethnography?" in in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Feb 4 NO CLASS

 

**** PART II: FEMINIST THEORIES OF DIFFERENCE****

 

Feb 11 THEORIZING RACE & GENDER/FROM SOCIAL THEORY

 

Required Reading:

Patricia Hill Collins, Fighting Words : Black Women and the Search for Justice.

 

 

 

FEB 18 THEORIZING RACE & GENDER/FROM LITERARY THEORY

 

Required Reading:

Ann DuCille, Skin Trade

 

 

 

FEB 25 THEORIZING GENDER, CULTURE & NATION

2:00 - Lecture by Uma Narayan

3:30- Class Discussion with Uma Narayan

 

Required Reading:

Uma Narayan, Dislocating Cultures : Identities, Traditions, and Third-world Feminism

 

 

 

MAR 4 THEORIZING GENDER, COLONIALISM & ITS OTHER

 

Required Reading:

Meyda Ye_eno_lu, Colonial Fantasies : Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism

 

 

 

MAR 11 NO CLASS - SPRING VACATION

 

 

 

MAR 18 EVALUATION AND APPLICATION OF PARTS I & II

 

No Required Reading

 

 

**** PART III: FEMINIST THEORIES OF IDENTITY****

 

 

MAR 25 THEORIZING IDENTITY

 

Required Reading:

Arlene Stein, Sex and Sensibility : Stories of a Lesbian Generation

Apr 1 THEORIZING IDENTITY & SEXUALITY

 

Required Reading:

Kate Bornstein, Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us **** PART IV:THE POLITICS OF TRANSFORMATION ****

 

 

Apr 8 GENDER AND THE POLITICS OF POLICY

 

Required Reading:

Young, Iris Marion, Intersecting Voices : Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy, and Policy

 

 

Apr 15 GENDER, ENVIRONMENT, AND POLITICS

 

Required Reading:

Noël Sturgeon, Ecofeminist Natures : Race, Gender, Feminist Theory, and Political Action

 

 

 

Apr 22 STRATEGIES FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

 

Required Reading:

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo "Immigrant Women and Paid Domestic Work: Research, Theory, and Activism" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Linda Carty, "Seeing Through the Eyes of Difference: A Reflection on Three Research Journeys"in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Nancy Naples, with Emily Clark. "Feminist Participatory Research and Empowerment: Going Public as Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Francesca Cancian, "Participatory Research and Alternative Strategies for Activist Sociology" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Roberta Spalter-Roth and Heidi Hartmann "Small Happinesses: The Feminist Struggle to Integrate Social Research and Social Activism" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Ronnie Steinberg "Advocacy Research for Feminist Policy Objectives: Experiences with Comparable Worth" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

Nancy Hartsock "Theoretical Bases for Coalition Building: An Assessment of Postmodernism" in Heidi Gottfried (ed.), Feminism and Social Change

 

 

APR 29 EVALUATION & APPLICATION OF PARTS III & IV

No required reading