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Feminism 2010 Syllabus

Feminist History, Theories and Contributions to the Social Sciences
Second Semester 2010
Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences
Nepā School of Social Sciences and Humanities
 


Moderator: Bimbika Sijapati Basnett

Course Objectives

‘Feminism’ can be broadly characterised as a social, political and intellectual movement striving for equal rights for women and men as well providing critical theoretical and methodological perspectives in the social sciences. This is a foundational level course designed to introduce students to different interpretations of ‘feminism’; cultivate an appreciation for feminist contributions to the different disciplines within the social sciences; and inculcate in them an ability to analyse contemporary social and development issues through a ‘feminist’ lens.


Course Description

The seminars and readings will expose students to the following interrelated topics:

•    The contested history of feminism;
•    A multitude of feminist theories (liberal, radical, Marxist/socialist, global and multi-cultural);
•   Feminist theoretical and methodological contributions to the following disciplines: economics, political science, anthropology and sociology;
•   Conceptual clarification of key themes within feminism, such as gender, sexuality, patriarchy, household, gender division of labour and resources;
•  Contemporary themes and debates within feminism, focusing especially on sexuality, land, intersectionality and globalisation.


Course Requirements

There will be two classes per week with a minimum of 90 minutes per class. Classes will be seminar-style and discussion-oriented. Students are expected to attend classes and be on top of the required readings; participate in class discussions and debates; write opinion pieces regularly; make group presentations on assigned readings; and write a final essay. The required and additional readings include introductory, classical and contemporary texts from leading feminist authors. The emphasis of each seminar will be to understand, discuss and debate the readings. However, students will also be awarded for going beyond the required readings by, for instance, drawing on the ‘additional’ readings, and relating any social and political developments within and outside Nepal to the class discussions.

The final grade for the course will comprise the following:

•    Class participation (10%): Level of attendance, how often students voice their opinions, how well opinions are articulated, extent to which opinions are informed of/engage with readings and current affairs.

•    Two student presentations (20%): The student presentations will be carried out in pairs and individually. Students will be expected to present a summary of the reading(s); highlight at least three issues raised in the reading(s) that they agree or disagree with; identify issues for class discussions and debates; and wrap up the presentation with a summary of the major issues discussed. Students will be assessed according to how well they understand and articulate the major arguments of the reading(s), work with their team member(s), and encourage and engage with their fellow classmates.

•    A minimum of five opinion pieces (40%):  The main purpose of this assessment is to habituate students to reading and writing. Students will be expected to submit five papers and/or opinion pieces of around 2000 words during the course. Students may either decide to submit papers/reflection pieces on the reading questions I will hand out or choose to be creative with what they submit or both. They may wish to write about what they learnt during the week. They may choose particular issues they find interesting/uninteresting in the required readings or class discussions; discuss the extent to which what they have learnt during the week reinforces or dispels their beliefs and/or value systems; how the readings or class discussions relate to current affairs and past readings, etc. The final grade will depend on how regularly students submit these pieces; how well they understand the readings and articulate their opinions; how critically they engage with issues discussed in the readings and/or class discussions; and whether they demonstrate an improvement in reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

•    Final exam (30%):  The students will be presented with five essay questions from which they will have to answer two within two hours (one hour per essay question). The questions will be broad and general. Students will be assessed on the basis of the quality of the argument and the breadth of theoretical and methodological readings consulted and critically engaged with.

Students are encouraged to seek assistance from the moderator for any of these assignments during her office hours and/or at any other convenient time.
 
 

Detailed Course Outline

Week 1: What is Feminism?
Seminar/Lecture: Importance of studying feminist theory. Contributions of feminist theory to the social sciences.

Required Readings

Tong, Rosemarie. (2009) ‘Introduction: The Diversity of Feminist Thinking’, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, Boulder and San Francisco, Westview Press, pp. 1-10.

Treichler, P. and Cheris Kramarae. (2005) ‘Feminism’, in Kolmar, W.K. and F. Bartkowski (eds.) Feminist Theory: A Reader, Ohio?, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, pp. 7-11.

Week 2: History of Feminism

Required Readings

Reger, Jo. (2007) ‘Feminism, First, Second and Third Waves’, in Ritzer, George (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Sociology, n/a, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1672-1681.

Morgan, Sue. (2006) ‘Introduction: Writing Feminist History: Theoretical Debates and Critical Practices’, in The Feminist History Reader, n/a, Routledge, pp. 1-48.

Additional Readings

Cott, Nancy F. (1989) ‘What’s in a Name? The Limits of “Social Feminism”; or, Expanding the Vocabulary of Women’s History’, Journal of American History, Vol. 76, No. 3, pp. 809-829.

Week 3: Liberal, Radical, Marxist and Socialist Feminisms

Required Readings


Tong, Rosemarie. (2009) ‘Liberal Feminism’, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, Boulder and San Francisco, Westview Press, pp. 11-47.

---. (2009) ‘Radical Feminism: Libertarian and Cultural Perspectives’, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, Boulder and San Francisco, Westview Press, pp. 48-95.

---. (2009) ‘Marxist and Socialist Feminism: Classical and Contemporary’, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, Boulder and San Francisco, Westview Press, pp. 96-127.

Jackson, Stevi. (1998) ‘Feminist Social Theory’, in Jackson, S. and J. Jones (eds.) Contemporary Feminist Theories, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 13-33.

Week 4: Black and Post-Colonial Feminism

Required Readings


Tong, Rosemarie. (2009) ‘Multicultural, Global and Postcolonial Feminism’, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, Boulder and San Francisco, Westview Press, pp. 212-245.

Mills, Sara. (1998) ‘Post-colonial Feminist Theory’, in Jackson, S. and J. Jones (eds.) Contemporary Feminist Theories, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 98-112.

Carbey, Hazel. (1982) ‘White Woman Listen! Black Feminism and the Boundaries of Sisterhood’, in The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain, London, Hutchinson, pp. 212-235.

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. (1988) ‘Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses’, Feminist Review, No. 30, pp. 61-88.

Week 5: Post-Modern/Post-Structural Feminism

Required Readings


Beasley, Chris. (1999) ‘More on the Menu: Postmodernist/Poststructuralist Influences’, in What is Feminism?, New Delhi & London, Sage Publications, pp. 81-100.

Scott, Joan W. (1988) ‘Deconstructing-Equality-Versus-Difference: or, The Uses of Post Structuralist Theory for Feminism’, Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 33-50.

Fraser, Nancy and Linda Nicholson. (2006) ‘Social Criticism without Philosophy: An Encounter between Feminism and Postmodernism’, in Hackett, Elizabeth and Sally Haslanger (eds.) Theorising Feminisms: A Reader, New York, Oxford University Press, pp. 340-352.

Week 6: Feminist Contributions to the Social Sciences—Economics

Required Readings


Strassmann, Diana. (1999) ‘Feminist Economics’, in Peterson, Janice and Margaret Lewis (eds.) The Elgar Companion to Feminist Economics, Gloucestershire, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 360-373.

Additional Readings

Boserup, Ester. (2007) ‘Male and Female Farming Systems’, Woman's Role in Economic Development, London, Earthscan, pp. 3-19.  

Folbre, Nancy. (1986) ‘Hearts and Spades: Paradigms of Household Economics’, World Development, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 245-255.   

Sen, Amartya. (1999) ‘Economics and the Family’, in Uberoi, Patricia (ed.) Family, Kinship and Marriage, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, pp. 452-463.

Week 7: Feminist Contributions to the Social Sciences—Anthropology

Required Readings


Johnson, Helen. (2007) ‘Feminist Anthropology’, in Ritzer, George (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, n/a, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1689-1693.

Strathern, Marilyn. (1987) ‘An Awkward Relationship: The Case of Feminism and Anthropology’, Signs, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 276-292.

Additional Readings

Hilsdon, Anne-Marie. (2007) ‘Introduction: Reconsidering Agency – Feminist Anthropologies in Asia’, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 127-137.

Thompson, Julia J. (2005) ‘“There are Many Words to Describe Their Anger”: Ritual and Resistance among High-Caste Hindu Women in Kathmandu’, in Allen, M. (ed.) Anthropology of Nepal: Peoples, Problems and Process, Kathmandu, Mandala Book Point, pp. 358-371.

Week 8: Feminist Contributions to the Social Sciences—Sociology

Required Readings


Abbott, Pamela et. al. (1990) ‘Introduction: Feminism and the Sociological Imagination’, An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives, London and New York, Routledge, pp. 1-15.

Additional Readings

Franklin, Sarah. (1996) ‘Introduction’, in Franklin, S. (ed.) The Sociology of Gender, n/a, Edward Elgar, pp. ix-xli.

Beechey, Veronica. (1979) ‘On Patriarchy’, Feminist Review, No. 3, pp. 66-82.

West, Candace and Don H. Zimmerman. (1987) ‘Doing Gender’, Gender and Society, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 125-151.

Gilligan, Carroll and David A. J. Richards. (2009) ‘Contemporary Scenes’, in The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance and Democracy, n/a, Cambridge University Press, pp. 249-265

Week 9: Feminist Contributions to the Social Sciences—Political Science

Required Readings


Held, Virginia. (2002) ‘Feminism and Political Theory’, in Simon, Robert L. (ed.) The Blackwell Guide to Social and Political Philosophy, Oxford, Blackwell Publications, pp. 154-176.

Additional Readings

Sapiro, Virginia. (1998) ‘Feminist Studies and Political Science – and Vice Versa’, in Phillips, Anne (ed.) Feminism and Politics, New York, Oxford University Press, pp. 67-89.

Butler, Judith. (1998) ‘Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire’, in Phillips, Anne (ed.) Feminism and Politics, New York, Oxford University Press, pp. 273-291.

Phillips, Anne. (1998) ‘Democracy and Representation: Or, Why Should It Matter Who Our Representatives Are’, in Phillips, Anne (ed.) Feminism and Politics, New York, Oxford University Press, pp. 224-240.

Tamang, Siera. (2009) ‘The Politics of Conflict and Difference or the Difference of Conflict in Politics: The Women’s Movement in Nepal’, Feminist Review, Vol. 91, pp.61-80.

Week 10: Feminist Methodology & Methods

Required Readings


Naples, Nancy A. (2007) ‘Feminist Methodology’, in Ritzer, George (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, n/a, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 1701-1706.

Haraway, Donna. (1988) ‘Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective’, Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 575-599.

Additional Readings

Nelson, Julie A. (2001) ‘Economic Methodology and Feminist Critiques’, Journal of Economic Methodology, Vo. 8, No. 1, pp. 93-97.

Lamphere, Louise. (2004) ‘Unofficial Histories: A Vision of Anthropology from the Margins’, American Anthropologist, Vol. 106, No. 1, pp. 126-135.
 
Collins, Patricia Hill. (1986) ‘Learning from the Outsider Within – The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought’, Social Problems, Vol. 33, No. 6, pp. 35-59.

Week 11: Examples of Contemporary Issues and Debates—Sexuality

Required Readings


Jackson, Stevi. (1998) ‘Theorizing Gender and Sexuality’, in Jackson, Stevi and Jackie Jones (eds.) Contemporary Feminist Theories, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Press, pp. 131-146.

Additional Readings

Oakley, Ann. (1996) ‘Sexuality’, in Jackson, Stevi and Sue Scott (eds.) Feminism and Sexuality: A Reader, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 35-39.

Butler, Judith. (1996) ‘Imitation and Gender Insubordination’, in Jackson, Stevi and Sue Scott (eds.) Feminism and Sexuality: A Reader, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 162-165.

MacKinnon, Catherine A. (2002) ‘Pressure under Patriarchy’, in Williams, Christine L. and Arlene Stein (eds.) Sexuality and Gender (Blackwell Readers in Sociology), Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, pp. 33-43.

Esptein, Steven. (2002) ‘A Queer Encounter: Sociology and the Study of Sexuality’, in Williams, Christine L. and Arlene Stein (eds.) Sexuality and Gender (Blackwell Readers in Sociology), Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, pp. 44-59.

Davidson, Julia O’Connell and Jacqueline Sanchez Taylor. (2002) ‘Fantasy Islands: Exploring the Demand for Sex Tourism’, in Williams, Christine L. and Arlene Stein (eds.) Sexuality and Gender (Blackwell Readers in Sociology), Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, pp. 354-367.

Mernissi, Fatima. (2002) ‘The Muslim Concept of Active Female Sexuality’, in Williams, Christine L. and Arlene Stein (eds.) Sexuality and Gender (Blackwell Readers in Sociology), Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, pp. 297-308.

Week 12: Examples of Contemporary Issues and Debates—Intersectionality

Required Readings


McCall, Leslie. (2005) ‘The Complexity of Intersectionality’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 1771-1800.

Additional Readings

Nagar, Richa. (2004) ‘Mapping Feminisms and Difference’, in Staeheli, Lynn A. et. al. (eds.) Mapping Women, Making Politics: Feminist Perspectives on Political Geography, New York, Routledge, pp. 31-48.
 
Kandiyoti, Deniz. (1988) ‘Bargaining with Patriarchy’, Gender and Society, Vol.2, No.3, pp. 274-290.

Fraser, Nancy. (1998) ‘From Redistribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a “Post-Socialist” Age’, Phillips, Anne (ed.) Feminism and Politics, New York, Oxford University Press, pp. 430-460.

Week 13: Examples of Contemporary Issues and Debates—Globalisation & Land

Required Readings


Afshar, Haleh and Stephanie Barrientos. (1999) ‘Introduction: Women, Globalization and Fragmentation’, Women, Globalization and Fragmentation in the Developing World, London, Macmillan, pp. 1-17.
 
Davids, Tine and Francien van Driel. (2001) ‘Globalization and Gender: Beyond Dichotomies’, in Schuurman, Frans J. (ed.) Globalization and Development Studies: Challenges for the 21st Century, London, Sage, pp. 153-175.
 
Jackson, Cecile. (2003) ‘Gender Analysis of Land: Beyond Land Rights for Women?’, Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 453-480.
 
Agarwal, Bina. (2003) ‘Women’s Land Rights and Trap of Neo-Conservatism: A Response to Jackson’, Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 571-585.

Additional Readings

Kabeer, Naila. (2007) Marriage, Motherhood and Masculinity in the Global Economy: Reconfigurations of Personal and Economic Life (IDS Working Paper 290), Brighton, Institute of Development Studies.

Agarwal, Bina. (1994) ‘Gender and Command Over Property: A Critical Gap in Economic Analysis and Policy in South Asia’, World Development, Vol. 22, No. 10, pp. 1455-1478.

Jackson, Cecile. (2004) ‘Projections and Labels: A Reply to Bina Agarwal’, Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp. 387-388.

Week 14: Revision