Introduces feminism as it developed over the last two centuries. Investigates theories of gender and power, including the sources of and solutions to gender inequality, and how gendered identities have been produced, questioned, and critiqued.
This is an introductory-level course designed to familiarize students with current debates in the field of feminist studies. The course examines the cultural construction and maintenance of gender inequalities in a range of social and political contexts, emphasizing the interrelation between race, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality. The class is organized around questions of the body. We each “live in” a body. These bodies are, in turn, situated within social structures: they are “raced,” “gendered,” “classed,” etc. The kind of body we occupy—the way it looks and its location on the globe—has everything to do with the ways in which we act and the ways in which we are acted upon. The central question of this course, then, is: “What do feminism, feminist studies, and feminist theory have to do with the bodies we occupy?”
Student learning goals
Students will be able to examine the cultural construction and maintenance of gender inequalities in a range of social and political contexts, emphasizing the interrelation between race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation.
Students will increase their understanding of the difference between description writing and critical analytic writing.
Students continue to develop their understanding of interdisciplinarity and begin to have a working knowledge of interdisciplinarity in terms of writing styles, methodological approaches, audience, research questions, etc.
Critical thinking skills Students obtain or build on their critical thinking and reading skills I want students to get in a habit of questioning what they know, have been taught, assume to be true, etc. I want their questioning skills to be grounded in a systematic approach in terms of epistemology and methodology. I want students to ask basic questions, such as: Where is this information from? What perspective does it represent? What kind of writing style is used and why? Are supporting sources used? And if so, how and of what sort? What are some other ways to think about this information? How did the author/s generate this information? How does this information fit with other information I have access to? How does this information fit with my lived experience? What are the epistemological frameworks that I can draw from to assess this information? What are the methodological frameworks I can draw from to assess this information?
Students learn to think creatively and critically reflect on the politics of knowledge production
Students understand that the course material is connected to the lived experiences of all of us. Students gain a sense of agency to be active in the world in a range of ways.
General method of instruction
lecture and group discussion
Class assignments and grading
writing assignments, midterm and final
Completion of assigned work; Ability to apply key concepts of the course; Ability to move from descriptive to analytic writing; Active classroom engagement.