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Notes Towards Day 21: Curricular Revision

Notes Towards Day 21 of
Critical Feminist Studies:
What Should a Feminist Curriculum Look Like?

Original illustration for Little Women

I. Naming

II. Peggy McIntosh in TGH, 7:30 tonight on
"coming to see privilege systems"

III. Read a pair of male-authored essays for Thursday:
James Sosnoski, “ A Mindless Man-driven Theory Machine"
and Jacques Derrida, "Woman in the Beehive"

IV. Papers to return
egleichm: I...wonder if our different takes are useful to us,
or if those circles are precisely what drives us in circles....

mpottash, jlustick, stephanie2: veiling (in Persepolis, Iran, U.S.)
dawn re: Islamic architecture
cf. discussion of gender segregation by
sarina on orthodox, egliechm on secular humanist Judaism
anorton on sexualization in japanese anime

several other cultures represented:
kscire on breast ironing in Cameroon
hpolak on sex tourism in Thailand
emily on Maquilapolis (set in Tijuana)
kgbrown on the myth of Malinche
charlie on Albanian sworn virgins
rchauhan on Indian family/class dynamics
sarahk on Russian mail-order brides (read by proletarian feminism)

# of US subcultures also examined:
aaclh on math classrooms
sarahs on women in sports
lrperry on esquire magazine
hope on amish society
jzarate on idaho
skumar on reading poetry as sound....

all of you located your topic,
attended to the "salience of social location":
many of you failed to locate yourselves, wrote as...god?
& also failed to locate your analysis in the context of this class
(how does it intersect w/ Spivak, etc.?)

also: prose style--very talky! lotsa editing!

also to talk about consequences of appearing on-line:
ssherman and aaclh got (angry?) comments re:
inability of women to compete in sports, math...
okay w/ this?

V. Janet & Sonal to kick us off today...

1933 film version of Little Women, with Katherine Hepburn

Peggy McIntosh, "Interactive Phases of
(Personal and) Curricular Revision"
typologies scare me
stage theories are dangerous: reinforce hierarchies of power, value
"interactive phases" felt continually
What are the shaping dimensions of the discipline?
How change to reflect women's experience?
1. Womanless History: those in public power
2. Women in History: the exceptional few
3. Woman as Problem/Anomaly/Absence in History:
"It's not an accident that we were left out...
the gaps were there for a reason."
4. Women AS History: life below the faultline
subject as authority on own experience
honor particularity, stress diversity, identify commonality
5. History Redefined/Reconstructed to Include Us All

not reconstructed ladder, but
revolutionary relation between devalued/valued
broken pyramid stands for our culture as a whole

winning lest you lose: power @ the top for
the few who reach the peaks, pinnacles
(colleges advertise upward mobility for individuals)
"The territory of excellence is very small."
teachers are trained to isolate bits of knowledge;
this training keeps students oblivious to larger systems

alternative value system of "lateral consciousness":
working for decent survival of all
(from being assigned the task to develop
self through developing others)
need wider constructions of knowledge in all fields
disciplinary boundaries keep political/economic/
social arrangements in place
fragmentation of knowledge ends
valleys more suitable places to locate civilization

global shapes replace the pyramid

putting women's bodies into high places does little for people/
nothing for women in the aggregate: no social change

Meg socialized to "fit in," Amy to kill herself trying to be exceptional
Jo understands interlocking systems that work to exclude
Maya & Angela are canny about systems
Adrienne's curriculum?

How apply this to English Department curriculum?

We ask who defines greatness in literature,
and who is best served by the definition.
Ask not what's good/great, but what/how?
How apply it to Gender and Sexuality Studies curriculum?

VI. Revising Our Own Curriculum:
where to go and wherefore?
what "interactive phase" are/do we want to be in?

"Little Women, Large Army"

...get into small groups to
come up with a proposal:
write it on the board,
then respond to all the
other proposals on the board....