Playing with Categories
Day 13: Picking up where we left off...

I. Welcome back--any gender tales?

II. "In the Classification Kingdom, Only the Fittest Survive", NYTimes (10/11/05)

III. papers to return
reports from what we (all)learned from writing/reading 'em?
Anne had several that wrestled with language:

Sarah: I like the work "dyke"....Is this just stubbornness?...I have spent this entire paper trying to illustrate why words are important, and perhaps this was my mistake...perhaps I arrived at a new idea: words aren't as important as they seem...What if I didn't give the word that much power?

Em: How can we ever presume to name what is constantly changing?...we can start thinking bout the dictionairies in our heads, and we can think about creating multiplicities of definitions for these dictionaries, too many to police...birthing expansions and contractions that will mark our shift into a new and awe-ful vocabulary.

several that wrestled with self-making:
Orah: There is tension between the individual's experience of the body and society's systematic use of the body....Both the individual's and society's effort to control the body are thwarted by its constant decay.

Lindsay: every human being is the "unthinkable space" where time, matter, ideology, biology, and everything else overlap

several that wrestled with the political/practical applications of (and limits of? and conflicts between?) these theories:
Talya: Looking at sex and gender from a humanistic perspective in "Playing with Categories: Re-doing the Politics of Sex and Gender" is a startling contrast to the scientific and biological view that my "Psychobiology of Sex Differences" class takes....A majority of the discussions and readings in Sex and Gender encompass the need to break the boundaries, categories, and labels or at least to question their necessity and use...In Psychobiology...the emphasis is on the psychology and biology behind the differences.

Elle: the discord between sociology and transgender theory goes to show the inherent conservatism of both discourses. Both see "male" and"female' as the boundaries .... both argue within the boundaries of the status quo.

Anna: Here is a fact: women are subordinate to men......women are, for the most part, still in the private sphere, and men are, for the most part, still in the public sphere...I would like to emphasize my frustration with the fact there there is an apparent need to value one sphere over the other

100-word prospectus for next paper due Nov. 4:
what aspect of the current politics of sex and gender most interests you?
What do you understand of its current state, how do you imagine an alternative to what now exists?

IV. Mid-Semester Evals:
integrate movies and field trips
more in-class work on papers
Sunday postings not working
what needs playing with: "something more explicitly feminist"
"Can we go to those sticky places? to the heart of the matter?"
"It would be nice to have a discussion about separating self from discussion? It seems like people might be getting their feelings hurt."

Wed, 10/19: more on the biology of sex and gender w/ Grobstein
before class, post your questions, responses to his first lectures
applications to Middlesex?
badly muddled gender identity, sexual orientation?
(neuro) biology of homosexuality, bisexuality (more common among women?),
intersexuality, transgender, gender difference?
Simon Levay's work on the gay gene
female orgasm artifact/byproduct of paralell embryonic development (vestigal like male nipples)?

Sat, 10/11 @ 2; Wilma Theater @ Broad and Spruce
(take R5 to Suburban station)
meeting after w/ actors and dramaturg
"Wilma": fictiious feminine persona of William Shakespeare
fetishized housewife/transvestite
E German crossdresser in Nazi and communiust regiemes, Soviet spy

Hermaphrodites Speak!--

3 on-line interviews with Eugenides
packet of material on I Am My Own Wife,including
How May Sexes? How Many Genders? When Two Are Not Enough

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