The aim of the project is to develop a series of different courses covering aspects of historical and contemporary feminist debates. The first phase will be the creation of a ‘Certificate in Feminist Thought’ which will consist of two modules – ‘Introduction to Feminism’ and ‘Re-reading the Second Wave.’ At present we are taking general registrations for people who would be interested in taking the ‘Introduction’ course.

The ‘Introduction’ course will consist of a series of online seminars with 8 to 9 participants. There will be some set reading for each seminar, as well as a selection of other optional readings, and some guided reading/reflection questions. Each participant will also get a 30-minute online introductory and closing session one-on-one with Jane, so we can get to know each other, and reflect on the course at the end. You will also be asked to keep a learning-journal as we go through the seminars.

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‘Introduction to Feminism’ – 6 Weeks

Week 1: Introduction – History, Rights and Equality

  • Overview of the ‘waves’ theory of feminism, the historical emergence of the second-wave, the main strands of second-wave thought.
  • Liberal feminism and feminism as a ‘civil rights’ project. Issues of the tension between ‘equality’ and ‘difference’ in feminism. Feminism as an ‘equality’ project vs. feminism as a ‘liberation’ project. Class and race-based critiques of liberal feminism.

Week 2: Patriarchal Power – Theory and Origins

  • What is patriarchy?
  • Radical and socialist feminism on the origins of patriarchy.
  • Theories of the origins of patriarchy.

Week 3: Patriarchal Power – Gender and Hierarchy

  • What is gender?
  • Gender as social hierarchy vs. gender as ‘natural’ sex differences.
  • Gender as social ‘roles’. The nature and function of patriarchal femininity.
  • Gender as cultural hierarchies and mechanisms of ‘othering.’
  • Gender as deep social structure and gender as performance.

Week 4: ‘This Woman’s Work’ – Labour, Class and Care

  • Women’s representation in the workplace. ‘The problem with no name.’ How women’s work is impacted by class and racial intersections.
  • Socialist feminism and social reproduction. The role of women’s reproductive, domestic and emotional labour. Material appropriation, patriarchal origins, and capitalism. 
  • Maternal feminism and the ethics of care – the social, political and philosophical importance of revaluing care-work.

Week 5: Sex – Power, Pleasure and Danger

  • ‘Sex positivity’ vs. ‘Sex negativity.’ The feminist ‘sex-wars.’  Prostitution and pornography.
  • Reckoning with sexual harms. Male entitlement, narcissism and rape. Objectification and the male gaze. Sexual trauma and the mechanics of oppression.
  • The importance of female sexual pleasure. Sex, subjectivity and creativity. French feminism and jouissance.

Week 6: Fourth-Wave Futures

  • Class round up, including:
  • Discussion of third-wave, queer and intersectional feminisms. What is valuable in the critique of second-wave feminism? What major aspects of second-wave feminism have been lost, and should be re-centred? How do we weave the waves together into a feminism for the future?

Course fees:

There are two price points for this course: The standard fee is £180. For those on higher incomes who feel they can afford it, the fee is £230 – this will go towards funding concessions spaces and supporting further plans for the institute. If you are on a low-income but would like to participate, please send an email via the registration page as there are concession spaces available.

The fee includes six two-hour online seminars, and one hour one-on-one with Jane. It also includes the six course packs which contain a large amount of reading material for your future reference. There is only one set text to buy for under £10.

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