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 6 participants. There will be a small amount of 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’ – 5 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 – Male Dominance, Hierarchy and Gender

  • What is patriarchy? Theories of the origins of patriarchy. Male dominance and the analysis of male violence. 
  • What is gender? Gender as a social hierarchy vs. gender as ‘natural’ sex differences. The nature and function of patriarchal femininity. Femininity and race. Cultural hierarchies and mechanisms of ‘othering.’ Gender as deep social structure and gender as performance.

Week 3: ‘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 4: 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 5: 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: £150. This includes five two-hour online seminars, and one hour one-on-one with Jane. Most course readings will be provided, but there will be one or two key texts to buy. If you are on a low-income but would like to participate, please send an email via the registration page as there will be a few concession spaces available.

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