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Course Information

Instructor Info:Molly Whalen
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
04:00 PM - 05:20 PM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 2
04:00 PM - 05:20 PM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 2
07:00 PM - 09:00 PM Emily Dickinson Hall (EDH) 2

This introduction to feminist theory will focus on the last half-century of feminist thought, with some exploration of earlier foundational texts. We will consider issues of essential, constructed, intersectional, and performed understandings of subjectivity and trace feminist theory's interactions with race, class, materialism, psychoanalytic theory, poststructuralism, post-colonialism, and queer theory, as well as delving into recent work in feminist epistemology, technoscience, and affect theory. Writing assignments will include short weekly response pieces as well as longer analytic pieces. Film viewings will be required. One of the goals of this course is to inspire students to be theorists themselves. Please bring a description or definition of "feminist" and "theory" (not necessarily from the dictionary) to the first class meeting.

Course Objectives:

In this course we will examine the practice and possibilities of feminist theory from a variety of perspectives. Goals for the semester, in terms of practices and methods include:

  • cultivate analytic skills in the interdisciplinary field of feminist theory
  • acquire broad knowledge of the major themes, questions, and  contestations that have        generated and continue to animate gender and sexuality studies scholarship  
  • enhance critical thinking and effective writing skills
  • approach research questions and political problems with originality, confidence, and creativity
  • work collaboratively
  • interrogate representations of gender and sexuality in politics, medicine, law, literature, film, theater, television, photography, digital media, and the academy, making connections between the theory we read and the lives we lead
  • consider feminism as an ethical as well as political engagement: study the forces of oppression and exploitation and the ethical values (and complexity) of freedom, equality, and democracy
  • cultivate skills of effective citizenship: be engaged, critically aware, compassionate, alert, and committed, both in the class and in the world