Foundations of Gender Studies II (2018/19)

Course Description: 

This course will focus on the multiple and sometimes conflicting ways feminist theory produced scholarship since 1980 which sought to deploy the concept of difference in order to release some political potential in undermining a homogenous, universal(izing) concept of womanhood. The curriculum features a selection of texts representing key arguments in order to trace this development of difference in feminist scholarship: we will focus on Foucault's impact on feminism, psychoanalytic thought's relationship with feminism, French Feminism, and the readings will introduce ways in which sexuality, embodiment, and oppression have been thought and contextualized. The course is designed to provide an opportunity to read and discuss in detail these texts and the turns they inaugurated or represent.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Students will improve their competence in key postrsturcturalist theoretical interventions informing feminist theory;
  • Students will be able to discuss the impact on and implications of these theories for gender studies in particular and critical theories in general;
  • Students will improve their analytical skills during reading, writing reaction papers, and group discussions;
  • Students will develop their writing and presentation skills.


  • Attendance and class participation

You are required to attend classes consistently: missing a class without some official documentation of a medical problem or other cases of vis maior may affect your grade. You are expected to take an active, constructive part in group discussions (focusing on the text at hand and the questions it raises, and fostering productive discussion), and constructive questions and contributions are in general welcome. This component will yield 20% of your grade. 

  • Group Presentation

You will be asked to form 6 teams of 2 or 3 people. Each team will give a presentation on a given author at the beginning of the class when we are discussing that author’s text. The presentation has to focus on the author in order to contextualize the text we have read for class that day. The presentation should give an introduction about the author (who is he/she, where is she teaching in what department. In addition, the presentation should give a brief introduction to their research focus in general, relying on book reviews of the author’s key works. The presentation should take 10 minutes, and all team members ahould participate in it. Please email me a brief plan for the presentation (up to one page) by the day before the presentation. . This component will yield 20% of your grade. 

  • 3 analytic response papers

You will have to write 3 reaction papers spread out during the semester. Reaction papers are due at the beginning of the class when we discuss the text (please submit a hard copy). See the guidelines on how to write a reaction paper for this class below. It is very important that you submit these papers before class. If you can’t attend class, make sure you send me or submit your paper beforehand. . This component will yield 60% of your grade. 

  • Preparing 3 questions for Week 12 (see schedule).