¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Examines two fundamental concepts in women’s studies: intersectionality and interdisciplinarity. Looks at how feminisms have shaped and been shaped by knowledge-production within and across disciplinary boundaries, cultures, and paradigms. Develops an appreciation of intersectional theory as a critical research tool and as a set of responses to issues of power, domination, oppression and other loci of difference.
¶ 7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 It is not possible for a genealogy of feminist knowledge production to be meaningfully separated from critical race analysis, from LGBT and queer thought, from radical left analysis of political and economic structures, or from the languages and histories most actively claimed by contemporary social justice activism. Yet nor do we want to erase the differences and disagreements between different perspectives and strains of thought. Acknowledging from the beginning the impossibility of adequately accounting for all perspectives and histories within a one-semester course, this course has two primary goals:
¶ 9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Second, it aims to open a space where we can wrestle, and explore how others have wrestled, with what it means to become producers of feminist and queer knowledge in a place and time in which murderous violence against black and brown bodies, especially the bodies of women and trans people of color, is both ubiquitous and frequently disavowed.
¶ 10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 The class will begin with the intellectual history of what is often called ‘identity politics,’ a framework we will engage and complicate as we think through the concept of intersectionality along with questions of labor, agency, and selfhood that have structured feminist inquiry. We will then move through key texts and concepts in feminist and queer epistemologies, ending the first half of the class with a sustained reflection on our own positionality as representatives and practitioners of “diversity” in the US academy. Throughout the first half of the semester, we will pair our readings in feminist theory with stories from Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown’s anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements, using the stories as inspiration for some of the ways that we can think with and draw from the ideas we are discussing in multiple, not only academic contexts where we are engaged in the practice of building real and imagined worlds.
¶ 11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 In the second part of the semester, we will shift our focus to engage with scholarship that offers sustained analyses of our current moment, especially the rich and harrowing contradictions between the apparent successes of LGBTQ rights and liberation movements and the ongoing perpetuation of racist, homophobic, transphobic, and misogynist violence in forms both spectacular and mundane. We will read work that asks and answers questions about what it means to produce radical, feminist, queer knowledge in the face of violent oppression, and to do so while making space for pleasure, connection, and joy along with critique.
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• Sara Ahmed, On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.
• Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha (eds.), Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2015.
• Jennifer Doyle, Campus Sex, Campus Security. Boston, MA: MIT Press, 2015.
• Jin Haritaworn, Queer Lovers and Hateful Others: Regenerating Violent Times and Places. London: Pluto Press, 2015.
• Christina Hanhardt, Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013.
• Alison Kafer, Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2013.
• Juana María Rodríguez, Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings. New York: NYU Press, 2014.
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We will be reading excerpts of many books, as shown in the schedule. Our assigned readings will be available in PDF but I encourage you to browse ahead of time and to pick up the full texts from the library or bookstore and read the rest if you can, especially if you think these are works you will return to later in your career.
¶ 14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 I have a further recommendation for a reference text, which we will not discuss in class but which may be worth reading early in your graduate career, especially if you feel less confident than you would like to as an academic writer: Eric Hayot, The Elements of Academic Style (Columbia University Press, 2014), which unpacks the techniques and expectations of scholarly writing in the humanities.