Philosophy and Gender

I’m putting the final touches on my Philosophy and Gender course. This is a new one for me. In the past, I’ve taught Feminist Philosophy, but I’ve never taught a course on gender broadly construed. Of course, I leave out some classic pieces due to time constraints. I also rely on excerpts instead of larger texts since this is an intro level course–the majority of my students will take this to satisfy a gen ed philosophy course–and is intended to be a survey. The course schedule is below.

This course will explore philosophical issues relating to sex, gender, and sexuality as considered by historical and contemporary philosophers and other associated theorists. Recent work by feminist philosophers will be emphasized.

Dear readers, do you see any major omissions? Put differently, do you feel like there are some “must reads” that I have failed to put on the reading list? Or, perhaps you think the list is good and might want to point out some assignments or discussion points to accompany the readings. (One thing I’m trying to incorporate is a few in-class skype interviews between the students and scholars. Let me know if you are interested in participating.)

COURSE SCHEDULE OF READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS

9.7:      A GENDERED, PHILOSOPHICAL WORLD

Feminism, Chps. 1-2                                                                Sally J. Scholz

“Feminism,” “Feminist”                                                        Paula Treichler / Cheris Kramarae

“Womanist”                                                                           Alice Walker

“Ain’t I a Woman?”                                                               Sojourner Truth

 

9.14:    DEBATES ON METAPHYSICS AND NORMATIVITY

Transgender 101, Chps. 1-2                                                     Nicholas M. Teich

“The Social Construction of Gender”                                    Judith Lorber

“Gender and Social Normativity”                                         Charlotte Witt

“Difference and Dominance: On Sex Discrimination”          Catharine A. MacKinnon

 

9.21:    A GROUNDWORK FOR SYSTEMS OF DOMINATION

“Five Faces of Oppression”                                                    Iris Marion Young

“Patriarchy, The System”                                                      Allan G. Johnson

“Oppression”                                                                         Marilyn Frye

“Femininity”                                                                          Sigmund Freud

The Origin of the Family, Private Property… (excerpts)            Friedrich Engels

 

9.28:    A COMMON METAPHOR: THE WAVES OF FEMINISM

Feminism, Chp. 3                                                                    Sally J. Scholz

“Working Woman and Mother”                                            Alexandra Kollontai

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (excerpts)                      Mary Wollstonecraft

“Enfranchisement of Women”                                              Harriet Taylor

“Solitude of Self”                                                                    Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The Progress of Colored Women (excerpts)                               Mary Church Terrell

 

10.5:    A COMMON METAPHOR: THE WAVES OF FEMINISM

Feminism, Chp. 4                                                                    Sally J. Scholz

The Second Sex (excerpts)                                                        Simone de Beauvoir

“The Problem That Has No Name”                                      Betty Friedan

 

10.12:  A COMMON METAPHOR: THE WAVES OF FEMINISM

“Multiracial Feminism”                                                         Becky Thompson

“Age, Race, Class, and Sex”                                                   Audre Lorde

“White Privilege”                                                                   Peggy McIntosh

“Just Walk on By”                                                                  Brent Staples

“Under Western Eyes”                                                           Chandra Talpade Mohanty

“Perspectives of Native American Women…”                     Frederica Y. Daly

 

10.19:  A COMMON METAPHOR: THE WAVES OF FEMINISM

Feminism, Chp. 5                                                                    Sally J. Scholz

“Postmodern Blackness”                                                       bell hooks

Transgender 101, Chps. 3, 6                                                     Nicholas P. Teich

“Performative Acts and Gender Constitution”                     Judith Butler

 

10.26:  LANGUAGE, KNOWLEDGE, REASON

This Sex Which Is Not One (excerpts)                                      Luce Irigaray

“Luce Irigaray’s Critique of Rationality”                              Margaret Whitford

“The Feminist Standpoint”                                                    Nancy Hartsock

Black Feminist Thought (excerpts)                                           Patricia Hill Collins

Borderlands/La Frontera (excerpts)                                          Gloria Anzaldúa

 

11.2:    THE USE OF BODIES

“Feminist Theory, the Body, and the Disabled Figure”         Rosemarie Garland Thomson

“Should There Be Only Two Sexes?”                                     Anne Fausto-Sterling

“Sexuality”                                                                             Catharine A. MacKinnon

Transgender 101, Chps. 4-5                                                     Nicholas P. Teich

 

11.9:    IMAGES, PORNOGRAPHY, VIOLENCE

Feminism, Chp. 7                                                                    Sally J. Scholz

“Making Up Is Hard to Do”                                                  Sheila Jeffreys

“Who’s the Fairest of Them All?”                                          Jill Nelson

“Visualizing the Body”                                                          Oyèrónké Oyěwùmí

 

11.16:  IMAGES, PORNOGRAPHY, VIOLENCE

“A Pornographic World”                                                      Robert Jensen

“I Am Not a Rapist!”                                                              John Stoltenberg

“Rethinking Rape”                                                                 Ann J. Cahill

 

11.23:  MASCULIINITY UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

“Masculinities and Men’s Health”                                        Don Sabo

“Boyhood, Organized Sports, and the Construction…”       Michael A. Messner

“Masculinity as Homophobia”                                              Michael S. Kimmel

“Challenging Sexism in Black Life”                                       bell hooks

 

11.30:  QUEERING GENDER/GENDER QUEER

Transgender 101, Chp. 7                                                          Nicholas P. Teich

Female Masculinity (excerpts)                                                 Jack Halberstam

“To be Poor and Transgender”                                             Kai Wright

 

12.7:    LABOR AND GENDERED ECONOMY

“House and Home”                                                              Iris Marion Young

“Sixty Cents to a Man’s Dollar”                                             Ann Crittenden

Feminism, Chp. 6                                                                    Sally J. Scholz

Staying Alive (excerpts)                                                          Vandana Shiva

 

 

7 Responses to “Philosophy and Gender”

  1. willhartbrown Says:

    What about R.W. Connell’s “Masculinities”, or her article with James Messerschmidt in which she evaluate hegemonic masculinity (2005)?

  2. Will G-R Says:

    Silvia Federici definitely belongs somewhere in the last set of readings: Wages Against Housework at a minimum, or even excerpts from Caliban and the Witch if you can make them fit. Chapter 1 of Firestone’s Dialectic of Sex could fit into that section too, or could also make a good companion reading to whatever sections you excerpt from Engels.

  3. Will G-R Says:

    Silvia Federici’s essay Wages Against Housework absolutely belongs in that last section on labor and gendered economy: short, accessible, engaging, and important. In an ideal world you could dig into the meat of Caliban and the Witch along with it, but as your university’s Assistant Vice President for Vice Presidential Assistance could tell you, time is money.

  4. jd Says:

    Along with something by Silvia Federici, I’d include Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James’ pamphlet “The power of women and the subversion of the community.” Eve Sedgwick’s “Axiomatic” (from Epistemology of the Closet) would also be a good addition to the second last section, perhaps alongside an excerpt from Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts.

  5. Mark William Westmoreland Says:

    Thanks!
    Connell escaped my mind. Thanks for the reminder.
    I don’t assign Firestone for reading, but I reference it quite a bit in class discussion. Since other authors reference it so much, I may want to put it on the list.
    I originally had Federici (C&TW) on the list but cut it in the end. I’ll give some more thought to adding it back.

  6. Will G-R Says:

    (Double-commented a few hours later b/c I thought the first one had been lost in the aether.) For a survey course without much room for depth I’d definitely throw in the shorter Federici essay — seriously, the initial list of slogans is all but begging to be copy/pasted verbatim into an opening PowerPoint lecture slide — and leave Caliban for discussion or paper topics. Either way though, I’m skeptical about the idea of a whole week’s worth of readings on feminist economics and gendered labor without anything to frame the issue in relation to classical Marxism, especially since Engels’ Origins of the Family… shows up earlier in the semester so it’s not like you’re categorically constrained by McCarthy or anything.

  7. Mark William Westmoreland Says:

    I replaced Crittenden with “Wages Against Housework.” Thanks for the pointer.


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