81969 - FEMINIST CRITIQUES OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL THOUGHT (1) (LM)

Scheda insegnamento

SDGs

L'insegnamento contribuisce al perseguimento degli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile dell'Agenda 2030 dell'ONU.

Parità di genere

Anno Accademico 2020/2021

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

At the end of the course students will acquire a knowledge of the ways in which women had historically criticized the theoretical justification of their subordination articulated in Western political and social thought. By applying the fundamental tools of feminist and post-colonial theories, the course will provide an historical analysis of political and social concepts – such as authority, freedom, rights, citizenship, society, labor – as the expression of gendered relations of power.

Contenuti

The aim of the course is to show how, since the beginning of political modernity, feminist political discourses actively contested the constitutive categories of modern politics and expose them as the expression of historically determined relationships of power based on sexual difference. Feminism is not simply a separated and domesticated field of knowledge, but can rather be regarded as an epistemological perspective. This perspective enables us to understand modern politics starting from what it constantly tried to hide, discipline, and domesticate, that is what Carol Pateman defined the disorder of woman. While it focuses on a selection of fundamental texts chosen from the history of women’s and feminist political thought, the course will question the very conception of «history» from this epistemological perspective. This term has not to be understood as a simple succession of the political discourses formulated by women, according to the well-known articulation of an evolutionary path marked by different «waves» of feminism. Rather, history results as a field of struggle: a material struggle against specific social relationships of power which also consists of a struggle for the definition of the «true meaning» of political concepts. Accordingly, feminist critiques of social and political thought do not simply concern women as such. On the contrary, it can be analyzed in order to highlight the global effects of the conceptual construction of «Woman» on the whole structures of social and political domination.

 

More specifically, the course will present and analyze the critiques of social and political thought articulated by women and feminists through specific problematic issues:

— The distinction between the public and the private domain and the construction of the modern legitimate political subject.

— The conception of society as an order, where ‘natural’ hierarchies are substituted by functional relationships of power.

— The contemporary transformations of State and capitalism and the accomplished global dimension of social production and reproduction.

The course will start on November 10 and will end on December 15. 

Provisional weekly schedule:

Week 1: Introduction to feminist historiography and criticism and early modern feminists (Pizan, Cavendish, Astell)

Week 2: Feminism and the critique of modern society (Wollstonecraft, Wheeler, Goldman)

Week 3: Feminism and the political difference (Beauvoir, Lonzi)

Weeks 4/5: Black and post-colonial feminism (bell hooks, Mohanty, Spivak)

Testi/Bibliografia

Students that will attend classes

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending. Students are strongly encouraged to read the texts before attending classes, in order to be able to discuss their contents during classwork. The texts will also constitute the basic bibliography to be studied for final examination.

(Extracts are available at the following link: http://campus.unibo.it/319633/)

 

1) Preparatory Readings (Students are encouraged to read them before the first day of classes):

— G.C. Spivak, Feminism and Critical Theory (1985), in The Spivak Reader, ed. by Donna Landry — Gerald MacLean, New York & London, Routledge, 1996, pp. 53-74.

— Joan W. Scott, Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis, in «The American Historical Review», 1986, vol. 91, n. 5, pp. 1053-1075.

— Wendy Brown, Where Is the Sex in Political Theory?, in «Women & Politics», 1987, vol. 7, n. 1, pp. 3-23.

— Denise Riley, «Am I That Name?». Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History, Minneapolis (MN), University of Minnesota Press, 1988, ch. I.

 

2) During the course, the following works (or parts of them, that will be defined in advance) will be read, analyzed and discussed:

— Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies, translated by Earl Jeffrey Richards, foreword by Marina Warner, New York, Persea books, 1982.

— M. Cavendish, Bell in Campo, in M. Cavendish, The Convent of Pleasure and Other Plays, ed. by A. Shaver, Baltimore, The John Hopkins University Press, 1999, pp. 107-169.

— Mary Astell, Reflections upon Marriage, in M. Astell, political Writings, ed. by P. Springborg, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 1-80.

— Mary Wollstonecraft, Political Writings: A Vindication of the Rights of Men, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, An Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution, ed. by J. Todd, London, William Pickering, 1993.

— Anna Wheeler Doyle, Rights of Women (1829), in «The British Co-operator», 1830, vol. 1, pp. 12–15, 33–6.

— Emma Goldman, Red Emma Speaks. An Emma Goldman Reader, ed. by Alix Kate Shulman, Amherst – New York, Humanity Books, 1998.

— Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, ed. by H.M. Parhsley, London, Vintage Books, 1989.

— Carla Lonzi, Let’s Spit on Hegel, in Italian Feminist Thought: A Reader,edited by Paola Bono and Sandra Kemp, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1991.

— bell hooks, Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Boston, MA, South End, 1981.

— Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses, in Feminism without Borders. Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, Durham, Duke University Press, 2003, pp. 19-42.

— Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value (1985), in The Spivak Reader, ed. by Donna Landry — Gerald MacLean, New York & London, Routledge, 1996, pp. 107-140.

— Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?, in Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory. A Reader, ed. by P. Williams ‒ L. Chrisman, New York, Columbia University Press, 1988, pp. 66-111.

 

Students that will not attend classes

Students that will not attend with regularity will have to study the following books and extracts for their final exam:

1)

— Lorna Finlayson, An Introduction to Feminism, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

2)

— Joan W. Scott, Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis, in «The American Historical Review», 1986, vol. 91, n. 5, pp. 1053-1075.

— Wendy Brown, Where Is the Sex in Political Theory?, in «Women & Politics», 1987, vol. 7, n. 1, pp. 3-23.

— Denise Riley, «Am I That Name?». Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History, Minneapolis (MN), University of Minnesota Press, 1988, ch. I.

3)

One text ‒ or groups of texts ‒ chosen from the following list:

a) Christine de Pizan, The book of the city of ladies, translated by Earl Jeffrey Richards, foreword by Marina Warner, New York, Persea books, c1982 and M. Cavendish, Bell in Campo, in M. Cavendish, The Convent of Pleasure and Other Plays, ed. by A. Shaver, Baltimore, The John Hopkins University Press, 1999, pp. 107-169.

b) Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, edited by Patricia Springborg
Peterborough, Broadview, 2002.

c) Mary Wollstonecraft, Political writings: A Vindication of the Rights of Men, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, An Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution, edited by Janet Todd, London, William Pickering, 1993.

d) Anna Wheeler Doyle, Rights of Women (1829), in «The British Co-operator», 1830, vol. 1, pp. 12–15, 33–6 and Emma Goldman, Red Emma Speaks. An Emma Goldman Reader, ed. by Alix Kate Shulman, Amherst – New York, Humanity Books, 1998.

e) Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, ed. by H.M. Parhsley, London, Vintage Books, 1989.

f) bell hooks, Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Boston, MA, South End, 1981.

g) Chandra Talpade Mohanty, UnderWestern Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses, in Feminism without Borders. Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, Durham, Duke University Press, 2003, pp. 19-42 andGayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?, in Colonial Discourse and Post-colonial Theory. A Reader, ed. by P. Williams ‒ L. Chrisman, New York, Columbia University Press, 1988, pp. 66-111.

Metodi didattici

Teaching method will be based on frontal lessons. Discussion among students regarding the reading list as well as the topics presented in classwork will be strongly encouraged.

Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

Students attending classwork will write a final paper (no more than 3000 words) on a topic agreed with the teacher and based both on the references listed in the reading list and on further specific references suggested by the teacher and by the student her/himself. Students are kindly invited to contact the teacher via email or during office hours in order to discuss the proposed topic. Papers have to be sent to prof. Rudan via email one week before the date of the exam. 

Students that do not attend classwork will have to pass an oral exam, with questions aimed to verify the student's knowledge of the themes treated in the program's texts.

In all cases, the assessment will concentrate particularly on the skill displayed by the student in handling the sources and material in the exam bibliography and his ability to find and use information and examples to illustrate and correlate the various themes and problems addressed in the course and discussed during the frontal lectures (only for attending students). It will be also assessed the capacity of a student to display an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.

The assessment will thus examine the student's:

- factual knowledge of the subject;

- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;

- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

 

Proper language, factual knowledge of the subject and the ability to both expose synthetically and critically speak about the choosen topic or the contents of the chosen texts will lead to a good/excellent final grade

Acceptable language and the ability to resume the contents of the chosen texts will lead to a sufficient/fair grade.

Insufficient linguistic proficiency and fragmentary knowledge of the chosen topic or the contents of the chosen texts will lead to a failure in passing the exam.

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Paola Rudan