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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Spring 2009

WGS 393 • Feminist Theory

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
48095 T
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
BUR 214

Course Description

This seminar, broadly titled Feminist Theory, addresses feminist writings that we'd perhaps want as structuring influences on our academic work. The issues that we will raise in the seminar are not exhaustive, but instead, I want our readings to foster significant reconceptualizations of social theory and social research. The hope is this reconfiguration of doing research, or thinking through knowledge production will lead us into generating more thoughtful, politically relevant work on various fronts.

Readings are organized along thematic lines; as anyone can see, the themes introduced are not exhaustive. Participants in this seminar will note that not all the readings listed below are by women; moreover, the readings are not organized along racial lines, or national lines. We will bring in Third World feminists in dialogue with white women academics. For example, we will read debates on abortion by Susan Bordo working in an American context, and Nivedita Menon writing about female foeticide in India. Or we will have Linda Kauffman's notes against personal testimony in the classroom dialogue with Gargi Bhattacharyyas observations on becoming the 'race lady in British academia. Through class discussions, we will untangle the racial/ class/ national specificities of these works, contextualizing them in their own specific histories. As you go through this reading list you will also see large gaps; for example I do not have anything of substance by Latin American or Arab feminists. The list that you see below only reflects my own intellectual trajectories. It also reflects my regional bias; I know more about the sociologies and political economies of these regions and feel more confident in placing the readings in a larger context. I encourage you throughout the semester to share with me readings that you think are relevant. By the end of the semester I will compile a reading list given by you, and distribute it to the class. There are two purposes to this seminar a) conceptualizing social categories, such as performance, the state, citizenship, and so forth from a feminist perspective; and b) rethinking ways by which we can do research from a feminist standpoint.


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