Course Schedule 2: February

February 6: Becoming Ourselves

This week’s readings ask the question: what is the relationship between our embodied selves and our gender? De Beauvoir is often considered to have been the “mother” of modern feminist theory: her analysis is framed around the idea that to be a woman is to be conferred secondary status in the world because of one’s sex. Karkau, a feminist primary school teacher, and reports on an experiment in how boys and girls perceive the rules of gender. Ford argues that his body is framed as much by race and disability as it is by his sex, while Berube weaves whiteness, class, sexuality and ethnicity into his explanation of why he cares so much about intellectual life.

Recommended readings:

  • Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1989)
  • David M. Halperin, How To Be Gay (2012)
  • Siobhan Somerville, Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality (2000)

 Personal goal for the class due February 10.

February 13: Consciousness Raising and Activism

Betty Friedan’s bestselling book, The Feminine Mystique brought the process of feminist consciousness-raising to a national audience, and is in many ways credited with launching the women’s liberation movement. What seems powerful about the book today? What themes in the other readings do you find in Friedan’s work — and which seem absent?

 Recommended Readings:

  •  Rosalynn Baxandall and Linda Gordon, Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women’s Liberation Movement (2001)
  • Rosalynn Baxandall and Linda Gordon, Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women’s Liberation Movement (2001)
  • Sara Evans, Personal Politics: The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left (1980)
  • Barbara A. Crow Ed. Radical Feminism:  A Documentary Reader (2000)
  • Alma M. Garcia, Chicana Feminist Thought: the Basic Historical Writings

 February 20:  No Class

CR/F Paper Due, February 24: Provide a summary of the major points covered in a session of the Betty Friedan symposium that you attended.  Then, drawing on at least one of the readings for February 27, discuss one or more of the ideas/themes that intrigued you.

Recommended Readings:

  • Daniel Horowitz, Betty Friedan and the Making of “The Feminine Mystique”: The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism (2000)
  • Michelle Wallace, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (1978)
  • Betty Friedan, Life So Far: A Memoir (2000)

February 27: Discussion of Feminine Mystique Symposium

 Recommended Readings: 

  • Nancy Hewitt, Ed. No Permanent Waves (2010)
  • Anne Enke, Finding the Movement (2007)
  • Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future (2000)
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