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Critical Feminist Studies 2013: The Sylla-ship

Anne Dalke's picture

Critical Feminist Studies:
An Introduction

English/Gender &
Sexuality Studies 193

Tuesday & Thursday, 2:15-3:45, Fall 2013,
English House Lecture Hall

  Anne Dalke

Class Members

Our Course Forum

Password Protected Readings

Notes for Class Discussion

Guidelines for Checklist and Final Portfolio

Generous Feminism by Gail Chavenelle, BMC '67,
on site in English House, Fall 2007

“…feminism has already made a difference….On the other hand, that difference has opened up and brought into view the energies of contradiction hidden inside the unsayability of what feminism has now given voice to. Once women begin to speak, we begin to differ with each other….literature is important for feminism…as the place where impasses can be kept and opened for examination, questions can be guarded and not forced into a premature validation of the available paradigms. Literature…is…a mode of cultural work, the work of giving-to-read those impossible contradictions that cannot yet be spoken." (Barbara Johnson: The Feminist Difference: Literature, Psychoanalysis, Race and Gender, 1998)

Not monolithic, prescriptive, conformist or singular, contemporary feminist theory covers a wide range of perspectives and approaches, which this class will showcase. The texts we will examine will focus on, but not be limited to, those that address the matters of reading and interpreting literature. Asking always about the possibilities of transformation, we will also be attending to broader theoretical and political concerns, in an attempt to define the questions which contemporary feminisms raise and the different answers with which feminisms reply.

Course Requirements:
Bi-weekly reading assignments (6 books can be purchased @ the College Bookshop;
the remainder of texts are available in a password-protected file on-line)
Bi-weekly attendance and participation in class
11 on-line reflections on our discussions/assigned readings/related topics
Three 5-pp. web events
A final in-class reflection/performance, 10-pp. web-extension of an earlier project,
self-evaluation and portfolio.

Syllaship ("because a bus isn't big enough")

I. En-gendering Ourselves
Week 1
Day 1: Tues, 9/3
Who Are We? What Do/Don't We Know? What Do We Want to Know? How Are We Going to Learn It?

5 p.m. Wed, 9/4: register for a Serendip account, select an avatar,
& use that image to introduce yourself @ Our Course Forum

Day 2: Th, 9/5 Kathy Acker. Seeing Gender. Critical Quarterly 37 (4) Winter 1995: 78-86.
Rhea Ewing, Fine: A Comic About Gender. 2013.

5 p.m. Sun, 9/8: post a comment to Our Course Forum about "seeing" or "working on" gender...

Week 2
Days 3-4: Tues, 9/10-Th, 9/12
Kate Bornstein. My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity. Routledge, 2013. 312pp.

5 p.m. Sun, 9/15: Let's try to make our on-line discussion more interactive this week:
by 5 p.m., everyone w/ usernames from a-k should post a comment to Our Course Forum;
by midnight, everyone else should respond to one of those.

4:15-6, Mon, 9/16: Philadelphia sculptor Susan Hagen speaking in the HC Humanities Center about representing marginalized people, suffering and inequality

Week 3
Days 5-6: Tues, 9/17-Thurs, 9/19 
Marjane Satrapi. The Complete Persepolis.  Pantheon, 2007.

Sun, 9/22:  Still aiming for interactivity: by 5 p.m., everyone w/
usernames from m-z should post a comment to Our Course Forum;
by midnight, everyone else should respond to one of those.

Week 4
Days 7-8: Tues, 9/24
-Thurs, 9/26  Neil Gaiman. The Doll's House. The Sandman, Volume 2. DC Comics, 1999. 232pp.

5 p.m. Sun, 9/29: Post a comment on Our Course Forum.

Meet with Anne this week to discuss your upcoming writing project.

Week 5
Day 9: Tues, 10/1
: Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Staring at the Other, DSQ 25, 4 (2005)
and Staring and Its Implications in Society

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. Trans. Richard Howard. Hill and Wang, 1980. 22-56, 94-98, 107-110.

2:30-4 workshop w/ Laura Swanson (and the HC
"Portraits of Disability" class) on making (anti) self-portraits--
in Stokes 102 (the Humanities Center room) @ Haverford

4:30 Wed, Laura Swanson will give a public talk in Stokes 102 @ HC: "Resisting Representation"

Day 10: Thurs, 10/3:
sharing our anti-self-portraits with Laura Swanson
and the "Portraits of Disability" class, in English House Lecture Hall

7-9 p.m. Thurs, 10/3 in EH Lecture Hall: portrait session with Laura Swanson

5 p.m. Sun, 10/6: first 5-pp. web "event" due, on self-representation
(possibly including the 'portrait' you've just made, and commentary on its "gendered" qualities]

II. Engendering Our Institutions
Week 6
Day 11: T, 10/8
discussing Laura Swanson's visit, the creation of our anti-self-portraits, and our papers on self-representation

Helen Horowitz,  “A Certain Style of  ‘Quaker Lady’ Dress” and “Behold They Are Women!” Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women’s College From their Nineteenth-Century Beginnngs to the 1930s. Knopf, 1984. 105-133.

Alissa Quart. When Girls Will Be Boys. New York Times Magazine. March 16, 2008.

Day 12: Th, 10/10 Cat Durante, Challenging the Existence of Women's College Through Transgender. May 2009.
Amophrast. Women's Colleges That Exclude Women, Feminist Colleges, Queer Colleges. Serendip. January 29, 2012
aybala50. The Inside: History of Women at Bryn Mawr College. Serendip. February 3, 2012.
Title IX Implications of Trans-Inclusion in Women's Colleges. Tumblr.


5 p.m. Sun, 10/20: post a mid-semester course evaluation
on Our Course Forum:
what's working? what needs working on?

Week 7
Day 13: T, 10/22
discussing mid-term evaluations

Clare Mullaney BMC '11, and Kevin Gotkin, both grad students @ Penn,
leading a workshop on the "crip classroom","crip time," and "excessability"

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Reshaping, Rethinking, Redefining: Feminist Disabilities Studies. Barbara Waxman Fiduccia Papers on Women and Girls with Disabilities. 2007.

Anne Dalke and Clare Mullaney, On Being Transminded: Disabling Achievement, Enabling Exchange. Forthcoming in special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly on "Growing Disability Studies."

Day 14: Th, 10/24 Judith Halberstam, “Queer Temporality and Postmodern Geographies.” In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York University Press, 2005.  1-21 (in our password protected reading file).

Ellen Samuels, "Cripping Anti-Futurity, or, If You Love Queer Theory So Much, Why Don’t You Marry It?"

4:30 talk @ HC by Ellen Samuels, about visual portrayals of Abby and Brittany Hensel: their TLC "videodiaries" Joined For Life 1 and 2 and also their recent TLC reality show (issues of agency, self-representation, enfreakment, and the commodification of bodies in pop culture)

5 p.m. Sun, 10/27: post a comment to Our Course Forum

10/25-27: “Disability Disclosure in Higher Education” conference, University of Delaware, Newark

Week 8
Days 15-16: T, 10/29
-Th, 10/31 Eli Clare, Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation. South End Press, 1999. 192pp.

on Thursday we'll break into writing groups to brainstorm our upcoming web-events

5 p.m. Sun, 11/3 [unilateral extension til 5 p.m. Fri, 11/8]
Second 5-pp. web "event" due, exploring how institutional
 structures might be re-made for intersectional identities

III. En-gendering (un-binding?) the Future of "Women"
Week 9
Days 17-18: T, 11/5- Th, 11/7
Gayl Jones. Eva's Man. Beacon, 1987. 186 pp.

5 p.m. Sun, 11/10: post a comment to Our Course Forum

Week 10
Day 19: T, 11/12
Heidi Hartmann, economist and President of the Institute for Women's Policy Research,
Scholar in Residence with the Greater Philadelphia Women's Studies Consortium

read around in the texts below (all available in our password protected reading file),
and come to class with THREE QUESTIONS for Heidi Hartmann:

Marilyn Waring. "Preface by Gloria Steinem," "Introduction to the Second Edition," "If Counting was the Limit of Intelligence," "Epilogue." Counting for Nothing: What Men Value and What Women are Worth. Second Edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004. xi-li, 224-241, 256-264.

If you'd prefer to access Waring's work in video form, watch Who's Counting?

Heidi Hartmann, Ellen Bravo, Charlotte Bunch, Nancy Harsock, Roberta Spalter-Roth, Linda Williams and Maria Blanco.  “Bringing Together Feminist Theory and Practice: A Collective Interview.”  Signs 21, 4 (1996): 917-951.

Heidi Hartmann and Stephen Rose. "Still a Man's Labor Market: The Long-Term Earnings Gap" (February 2004).

Heidi Hartmann, Ariane Hegewisch and Vicky Lovell. "An Economy That Puts Families First: Expanding the Social Contract to Include Family Care." (May 2007)

Heidi Hartmann, Elyse Shaw, and Elizabeth Pandya. "Women and Men in the Recovery: Where the Jobs Are; Women’s Recovery Strengthens in Year Four" (November 2013).

Day 20: Th 11/14 read and post an on-line comment to two webevents related to your own:
Celeste, Erin McD and Samuel.terry
issues of class: EP, vhiggins, EmmaBE
diversifying bmc: Fdaniel, nia.pike, kwilkinson
language use: iskierka, juliah, Shaina
queer kids: Maya, ccassidy, pialamode
disability: taylor11, Amoylan, Ann Lemieux
accommodations: sschurtz, Cat, Maggie
intolerance (most random!): ari, piper, Polly

bell hooks. Chapters 1, 7, 9, 11, 17, 19. Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics. South End Press, 2000. 1-6, 37-43, 48-54, 61-66, 100-104, 110-118 [in our password protected reading file].

Doris Sommer. Advertencia/Warning" and "No Secrets for Rigoberta. Proceed with Caution, When Engaged by Minority Writing in the Americas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999. ix-xv, 115-137 [in our password protected reading file].

5 p.m. Sun, 11/17: post a comment to Our Course Forum

Week 11
Day 21: T, 11/19 Wendy Brown. "Chapter 5: Freedom's Silences." Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics. Princeton University Press, 2005. 83-97.

Day 22: Th 11/21 Wendy Brown. Chapter 6: "Feminism Unbound: Revolution, Mourning, Politics." Edgework: Critical Essays on Knowledge and Politics. Princeton University Press, 2005. 98-115.

5 p.m. Sun, 11/24: post a comment to Our Course Forum

Week 12
Day 23: T 11/26 Judith Butler, Chapter 2: “Violence, Mourning, Politics.” Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. Verso, 2004. 19-49.

Th, 11/28 Thanksgiving

5 p.m. Sun, 12/1: post a comment to Our Course Forum

Week 13
Days 24-25: T, 12/3-Th 12/5 Monique T. D. Truong, The Book of Salt. Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 272pp.

5 p.m. Sun, 12/8: Third 5-pp. web "event" due, on feminism "unbound"

Week 14
Days 26-27: T, 12/10-Th, 12/12 Preparation and Performance: Teaching One Another What We Are Learning...

5 p.m. Sun, 12/15: post a description of and commentary on your contribution to the teach-in on Our Course Forum

Meet with Anne this week to discuss your final writing project.

Fri, 12/20 All Work Due @ 12:30 p.m. including final 10-pp. web "event" and self-evaluation

* From A Brief History of Bryn Mawr College:
When Bryn Mawr College opened its doors in 1885, it offered women a more ambitious academic program than any previously available to them in the United States. Other women's colleges existed, but Bryn Mawr was the first to offer graduate education through the Ph.D.—a signal of its founders' refusal to accept the limitations imposed on women's intellectual achievement at other institutions.

The founding of Bryn Mawr carried out the will of Joseph W. Taylor, a physician who wanted to establish a college "for the advanced education of females"....The college's mission was to offer women rigorous intellectual training and the chance to do to original research, a European-style program that was then available only at a few elite institutions for men. That was a formidable challenge, especially in light of the resistance of society at large, at the end of the 19th century, to the notion that women could be the intellectual peers of men.

From Bryn Mawr College Mission Statement:
The mission of Bryn Mawr College is to provide a rigorous education and to encourage the pursuit of knowledge as preparation for life and work. Bryn Mawr teaches and values critical, creative and independent habits of thought and expression in an undergraduate liberal arts curriculum for women and…seeks to sustain a community diverse in nature and democratic in practice, for we believe that only through considering many perspectives do we gain a deeper understanding of each other and the world….The academic and co-curricular experiences…encourage students to be responsible citizens who provide service to and leadership for an increasingly interdependent world.

Anne's Reading Notes

Registering for a Serendip Account

Consider for next time:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston: "We should all be feminists" (4/29/2013)