Feminist Political & Social Thought
Mon & Thurs. 1:30 - 2:50
When Mary Wollstonecraft argued that the French revolution was only half-successful, she was not complaining about its form (a liberal republic) but its substance (only half the citizens could pursue its blessings). Since then, feminist writers have continued to point out not only the gender contradictions within the liberal project, but also how a gendered analysis reveals the crisis of war (V. Woolf), the inconsistency of the founding myth (C. Pateman), the masculine desires embedded in law (C. MacKinnon), the post-socialist condition (N. Fraser) and the difficulties women pose and encounter in a liberal arts college (G. Griffin).
The first goal is to acquaint ourselves with some of the arguments within the feminist project. The second goal is to explore how feminism helps us to reconsider the terms of our late capitalist, "post-socialist" condition. Feminist theory does not just tell us about women and their condition. More importantly, it tells us things about liberalism, the social contract, jurisprudence, and education that aren't always recognized.
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (any edition).
Gail Griffin, Calling: Essays on the Teaching in the Mothertongue (only available at the Marlboro College Bookstore).
Catharine MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified (Harvard U.P. 1987).
Nancy Fraser , Justice Interruptus (Routledge, 1997).
Carole Pateman, The Sexual Contract (Stanford U.P. 1988).
Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas (any edition).
Over the course of the semester, you will be writing three essays, two brief (5 pages each) and one extended (8-10 pages). All of these essays should have a clear argument (your voice) and engage with the readings (other voices). There are a number of ways to structure a political theory paper:
Here is a helpful link when it comes to writing political theory (used with permission of author):
Attendance is critical. If you have to miss a class, please let us know. Reading is essential. Class discussion assumes that each one of you has a good grasp of the reading. Active participation in the class discussion is necessary. Writing clear and lucid prose is the stuff of the whole affair.