This course examines the historical emergence and contemporary conditions of feminist movements in the Europe. While women’s movements have flourished all over the world, they have evolved through the particular conditions and contexts in which the various groups of women find themselves. We must be attentive to the situated nature of women’s experiences, both in the nature of their aspirations and oppressions, but also through their experiences of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender identity, age, etc.
We examine the impact of the West’s colonial heritage/s on the lives of women in various communities, as well as the continuing legacies of the Second World War in Europe and the gendered dimensions of recent conflicts on the European continent. We examine a variety of topics, including but not limited to prostitution, trafficking, reproductive rights, immigrant/refugee issues, LGBTQ and queer politics, various dimensions of violence, and globalization.
At the end of this experience, students will be able to use an informed feminist critique and apply a variety of theories, research methods, models, and concepts to analyze feminist formations in context.
- “Gender and Power: The EU as a Masculine Project,” Suzanne Schuenter-Kleeman (2002)
- “Women and the Holocaust,” Carol Rittner and John K. Roth (1993)
- “Why We Resist Western-Style Feminism,” Jirina Siklova (1998)
- “Vietnamese Community in the CR and Its Changes in 2008,” Sarka Martinkova (2009)
- “The Rest is Silence…’ Polish Nationalism and the Question of Lesbian Existence,” Joanna Mizielinska (2001)
- “The Anti-Abortion Act in Poland,” Wanda Novicka (2000)
- “Patriarchies and Feminisms: The Two Women’s Movements of Post-Unificatoin Germany,” Lena Inowlocki and Helma Lutz (1993)
- “Locating El Dorado: Berlin’s GBLT Topography” David James Prickett (2003)
- “If You Can’t Pronounce my Name You Can Just Call Me Pride: Afro-German Activism, Gender and HipHop” Fatima El-Tayeb (2003)
- “Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation,” Nivedita Prassad (2008)
- “The Dutch-Muslim Culture War,” Deborah Scroggins (2005)
- “Migration,(Im)mobility, and Modernity: Toward a Feminist Understanding of the ‘Global’ Prostitution Scene in Amsterdam,” Marchand, Reid, and Berents (1998)
- “State Feminism, Modernization, and the Turkish Republican Woman,” Jenny B. White
- “The Kurdish Question in Turkey,” Dogu Ergil (2003)
- “The Emergence of Gay Identities in Contemporary Turkey,” Tarik Bereket & Barry Adam (2006)
This course is devoted to questions of theory and practice of feminist research in the social sciences and the humanities. We will consider the following: What is the relationship between methodology and knowledge claims in feminist research? How do language and narrative shape experience? How do the practices of interpretation intersect with questions of the authority of the researching subject and her respondents? How is the traditional social science relationship between the researcher and the examined object (e.g., the texts of oral histories, interviews, photographs, advertisements, statistical data, etc.) redefined within frameworks of feminist research? How are feminist study methods impacting traditional constructions of arts, humanities, and sciences?
Through discussion workshops and individual research projects, students will evaluate research approaches that reflect the feminist goal of equalizing poser relations between researcher and respondent.
- Caroline Ramazanoglu. “Choices and Decisions: Doing a Feminist Research Project.” From Ramazanoglu, Caroline & Janet Holland, eds. Feminist Methodology: Challenges and Choices (Sage, 2002).
- Diane L. Wolf, ed. Feminist Dilemmas in Fieldwork. Westview Press, 1996 (excerpts).
- Uma Narayan. Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions, and Third World Feminism. NY: Routledge, 1997 (excerpts)
- Sandra Harding, ed. The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. NY: Routledge, 2004 (excerpts).
WGS 350 Comparative Feminist Theories (4 semester credits)
This course frames several of the central debates in continental feminist and queer theory in the context of emerging local and global pressures on women’s and LGBTQ movements. Exploring subjectivity, interpersonal relations, and community as mobile sites of knowledge and power formations, students will become conversant with contemporary feminist theory as we consider affinities and divergences among different theory models. Students will evaluate frameworks for political intervention, questioning the ability to transfer feminist and queer concepts across cultures and languages.
- Gabrielle Griffin & Rosi Braidotti, eds. Thinking Differently: A Reader in European Women’s Studies. Zed Books, 2002.
- Rosi Braidotti. Metamorphoses: Towards a Feminist Theory of Becoming. Polity Press, 2002 (excerpts).
- Judith Butler. Undoing Gender. Routledge, 2004 (excerpts).
- Jasbir Puar. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham: Duke UP, 2007 (excerpts).
- Michel Foucault. The History of Sexuality, vol.1. NY: Vintage, 1977.
- Hazel Rowley and Elizabeth Grosz. “Psychoanalysis and Feminism,” 1990.
WGS 396 Independent Field Research (4 semester credits)
The program is structured to offer students the opportunity to conduct on-site academic research, generating a comparative analysis within the contemporary European social, cultural, political, and economic framework. Students will select a topic of interest that can be explored in the context of the program, develop and execute research method(s), and present their work in both written and oral forms.
Using readings and field research to record observations and experiences, including critical examination of the researcher’s positionality, students take part in continual discussion and analysis of their research. Through this experience, students will develop independent research skills, approaches for interpreting results, and tools for analyzing and evaluating research effectiveness.
Previous topics include:
- Women asylum seekers and refugees
- Gender performance: drag queens and kings
- Sex Education and Hetero-Normativity
- Gender Identity and Gender-Segregated Bathrooms
- Public Art Addressing Violence Against Women
- Feminist presses
- Sex work, legalization and trafficking
- Sexual and reproductive health & rights
- New European Anti-Semitism
- Domestic Violence Shelters in Europe
- Alternative magazines for Women
The Program Director supervises the planning of each research project. Student initiative is emphasized in both design and execution. The project culminates in a group presentation and final written paper, submitted after the student returns to the U.S.