This module explores the history of feminist ideas and activism, critically engaging with mainstream western feminist historiography and homing in on a diverse range of historical moments and texts in the long twentieth century.
|A||Semester 1 2023-24|
This module explores the history of feminist ideas and activism. It starts by critically engaging with mainstream western feminist historiography, problematizing the concept of ‘feminism’, including its application in diverse cultural and historical contexts, as well as the ideas of ‘waves’ and ‘generations’ of feminism. With that critique in mind, it then proceeds chronologically, homing in on a diverse range of historical moments and texts in the long twentieth century, focusing in on for example: debates around women’s suffrage, feminism, class and sexuality in the early twentieth century; Simone de Beauvoir’s pioneering The Second Sex (1949); radical ideas and feminist militancy during the so-called ‘second wave’; Judith Butler, queer theory and activism; intersectionality and issues of diversity; and the recent #MeToo movement. Throughout the module, we pay particular attention to the politics of what does and does not get picked up at particular cultural and historical moments. We also seek to ‘trouble’ established histories of feminism and feminist ideas.
After successfully completing this module, students should be able to:
Week 2: Locating ‘Feminism’ and the ‘Feminist Subject’
Week 3: ‘Waves’ of Feminism and the Generational Paradigm
Week 4: Feminist Ambivalences: Suffrage, Sexuality and Class
Week 5: Simone de Beauvoir and The Second Sex
Week 6: READING WEEK
Week 7: Radical Ideas and Feminist Militancy: Shulamith Firestone and Valerie Solanas
Week 8: The Queer Turn: Judith Butler and ACT UP
Week 9: Intersectionality: A New Paradigm?
Week 10: #MeToo
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
Feedback for the assessed essay will normally be given within 20 working days in line with University policy.
Butler, Judith (2006 ) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York, London: Routledge.
de Beauvoir, Simone (2011  The Second Sex, trans by by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. London: Vintage.
Crenshaw, Kimberley (1991) ‘Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color’, Stanford Law Review 43(6): 1241–1299.
Firestone, Shulamith (1979 ) The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution. London: Women’s Press.
Goldman, Emma (1969) Anarchism and Other Essays. New York: Dover.
Halberstam, J. Jack (2012) Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal. Boston, Mass: Beacon Press.
Hemmings, Clare (2011) Why Stories Matter. The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Hemmings, Clare (2018) Considering Emma Goldman: Feminist political Ambivalences and the Imaginative Archive. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Hill Collins, Patricia (1996) ‘What’s in a Name? Womanism, Black Feminism and Beyond’, The Black Scholar 26(1): 9-17.
hooks, bell (1981) Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism. Boston: South End Press, 1981.
Kollontai, Alexandra (1977 ) Love of Worker Bees, trans. by Cathy Porter. London: Virago.
Special Issue (2010) ‘Rethinking the History of Feminism’, Women: A Cultural Review 21(3).
Solanas, Valerie (2015 ) SCUM Manifesto. London, New York: Verso.
Walker, Alice (1990) ‘Definitions of Womanist’, in Gloria Anzaldua (ed.) Making Face, Making Soul: Haciendo Caras. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.