Gender, Genre and Political Transformations:

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

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Syllabus

Introduction

Books

Week 1, September 6

Week 2, September 13

Weeks 3 and 4, Sept 20 & 27

Weeks 5 and 6, October 4 and 11

Weeks 7 and 8, October 18 and 25

Week 9, November 1

Weeks 10 and 11, November 8 and 15

Weeks 12 and 13, November 22 and 29

Weeks 14 and 15,   December 6 and 13

Introduction

 

Questions of gender and citizenship in the West have their roots in the transatlantic "age of revolutions" and they have remained central to political developments in Europe and the Americas to the present day.   Subsequent moments of intersection between transformations in gender relations and political struggles, such as the feminist movements of the second half of the twentieth century, also have been trans-Atlantic phenomena. These recent periods of movement resurgence lend themselves to analyses that parallel the research on the late-18 th -century and early19th century revolutionary moments.

 

This seminar is organized around analyses of and comparison across a series of key historical moments when there were intersections between challenges to the political order and challenges to the gender order in Europe and the U.S., and integrates literary, historical, and sociological perspectives on these struggles. By using literary texts and political tracts produced by women themselves in diverse revolutionary moments, as well as secondary analyses theorizing these transformations, we examine issues of political language and identities, perspective, voice, and intersecting inequalities.     We consider competing definitions of feminism, radicalism, transformation, inclusion, equality, and citizenship in European and American politics from 1776 to 2000.

 

The periods/transformations on which we will focus are:

1. the transatlantic revolutions between 1776 and 1820

2. the extension of liberalism and the popular revolts of 1848

3. first wave feminism, World War I and socialist revolutions, roughly 1900-1919

4. fascism, anti-feminism, familism, and female agency

5. the "new social movements" associated with 1968

6. the " Wende " of 1989, and afterward; post-socialism, and democratization

              All required readings will be available in English.

Books

The following books have been ordered at the bookstore and put on reserve:

    • Pat Herminghouse and Magda Mueller, eds. German Feminist Writing . [Continuum, 2001].
    • Karen Offen, European Feminisms, 1700-1950. A Political History. [Stanford, 2000].
    • Christa Wolf. The Quest for Christa T. (trans. Christopher Middleton. NY: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1979)

An additional packet of readings will be available on the course website.

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Week 1, September 6
Getting Organized and Defining Interdisciplinarity

Required readings:

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Week 2, September 13
Developing Interdisciplinary Frameworks

 

Faciliators: Myra, Ruth-Ellen, MJ

 

Required readings:

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Weeks 3 and 4, Sept 20 & 27
The era of transatlantic revolutions (1776-1820)

 

This was a period in which the ideals and institutions of   patriarchy were initially taken for granted and bound up with notions and defenses of monarchy (as in the German slogan linking Gottesvater, Landesvater, Hausvater in a hierarchy of political authority).   The issues of transformative politics have a lot to do with the separation of the household from the realm of citizenship. This separation challenged the old way drawing a parallel between the household and the kingdom, with the (typically male) heads of each having a special moral status of divine origin that could be treated analogously. Debates about gender thus seemed very openly to be debates about political authority, and conversely.

WEEK 3 facilitator: MJ

Required readings - Recent scholarship:

Required readings - Women's writings, 1790-1820

WEEK 4 facilitator: Ruth-Ellen

Required readings - Women's writings, 1790-1820

Student Choice readings:

  • Harriet B. Applewaite and Darlene Gay Levy, eds. 1991. Women and Politics in the Age of the Democratic Revolution.
  • Ute Gerhard. 2001. Debating Women's Equality. Toward a Feminist Theory of Law from a European Perspective.
  • Carla Hesse. 2001. The Other Enlightenment. How French Women Became Modern. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
  • Lynn Hunt. 1992. The Family Romance of the French Revolution. [Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Joan Landes. Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution
  • Linda Kerber. 1980. Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America.
  • Alice Rossi, The Feminist Papers. (The biographies and the writings in her first section, feminism and the enlightenment, pp 1- 238)
  • Virginia Sapiro, 1992. A Vindication of political virtue: The political theory of Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Lyndall Gordon, 2005. Vindication: a life of Mary Wollstonecraft

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Weeks 5 and 6, October 4 and 11
1848: Bourgeois liberalism and its exclusions

 

JOINT MEETING of both seminar groups in MINNEAPOLIS: October 7-8
There will not be class meetings on October 4 or 11. Instead, the readings for these two weeks will be discussed at our get-together in Minneapolis on Friday evening October 7 and Saturday October 8.

 

In this era bourgeois liberalism emerged as a political force. With its abstract notion of citizenship it was from the start built on marginalizing "Others" along gender, racial and class lines even as it argued on theoretical grounds for the expansion of the citizen's   political   involvement and civic rights.

 

Facilitators: MJ and Ruth-Ellen

Required readings - Recent scholarship:

Required readings - Women's writings of the era around 1848

Student Choice readings:

  • Ruth-Ellen Joeres. Respectability and Deviance: 19th-Century German Women Writers and the Ambiguity of Representation [Chicago, London: U Chicago P, 1998]
  • Linda Kerber. No constitutional right to be ladies : women and the obligations of citizenship [New York: Hill and Wang, 1999].
  • Dagmar Herzog, Intimacy and Exclusion. Religious Politics in Pre-revolutionary Baden [Princeton, 1996]
  • Anna Clark. 1997. The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class.
  • Barbara Taylor, Eve and the New Jerusalem [New York: Pantheon Books, 1983].
  • Carole Pateman, The Sexual Contract
  • Bonnie S. Anderson, Joyous Greetings: The First International Women's Movement 1830-1860 [NY: Oxford UP, 2000].
  • Claire Goldberg Moses. French Feminism in the Nineteenth Century. State University of New York Press, 1984
  • Joan Scott. 1997. Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man
  • Susan Moller Okin. 1989. Justice, gender, and the family. New York: Basic Books.

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Weeks 7 and 8,   October 18 and 25
The era of suffragism, World War and revolution (roughly 1890 to 1919)

 

In this era divergent streams of thought and conflicting politics marked the emergence of the "First Wave" feminist organizations and contemporaneous women's writings. One of the issues needing exploration is the influence of arguments valorizing difference (especially the varieties of "maternalist" thought) as opposed to those insisting on equality. Another focus in this period is the tension between the "women's movement" and socialism as competing/complementary movements struggling over how to organize women in the political sphere. A third issue raised in this   period is the emergent pull of global solidarity constructed along gender or class lines as it comes into conflict with the competing tugs of nationalism, imperialism, and racial hegemony.

 

WEEK 7 facilitator: Myra

Required readings - Recent Scholarship:

Required readings - German Women's writings of the "first wave" era

WEEK 8 facilitator: MJ

Required readings - Recent Scholarship:

Required readings - Women's writings of the "first wave" era

Student Choice readings:

  • Allen, A. Feminism and Motherhood in Germany.
  • Linda K. Schott. 1997. Reconstructing Women's Thoughts: The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Before World War II
  • Kathryn Kish Sklar, Anja Schüler, and Susan Strasser. 1998. Social Justice feminists in the United States and Germany: A Dialogue in Documents. [Ithaca: Cornell University Press]
  • Mary Jo Maynes, Taking the Hard Road. French and German Workers' Autobiographies in the Era of Industrialization [Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1995].
  • Nancy Reagin, A German Women's Movement [Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1996].
  • Leila Rupp, Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women's Movement [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997].
  • Jean Quataert and M. Boxer, eds. Socialist Women [New York, 1978].
  • Sharon Ouditt, Fighting Forces, Writing Women: Identity and Ideology in the First World War [London: Routledge, 1994]
  • Richard Evans. Comrades and sisters: feminism, socialism and pacifism in Europe, 1870-1945. New York : St. Martin's Press, 1987
  • Kumari Jayawardena, 1986. Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World
  • Atina Grossman, 1995. Reforming Sex: The German movement for birth control and abortion reform, 1920-1950

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Week 9 , November 1
Fascism and women, authoritarianism, anti-modernism and anti-feminism

 

Among the many other ways of interpreting fascism - both the European forms of the interwar era and also other variants - is as a form of modernist anti-feminism.   In this section we address three kinds of issues:

First, how is ant i- feminism related to fascism and in particular how do anti-feminist discourses provide an entré into protofascist arguments and organizations? How, in particular, do familist appeals figure into fascisms? ? How did fascism organize women (and gender?)

Second, what is the relationship between women's political activity/organization in the post WWI era and the growth of constituencies for right-wing parties?

Third, how are we to understand women and agents and victims of fascism?

 

Facilitator: MJ

Required readings - Recent scholarship:

Student Choice readings:

  • Johanna Gehmacher, Elizabeth Harvey, and Sophia Kemlein, editors. 2004. Zwischen Kriegen: Nationen, Nationalismen und Geschlechterverhältnisse in Mittel- und Osteuropa 1918-1939
  • Gisela Bock (ed.) 2005. Genozid und Geschlecht: jüdische Frauen im nationalsozialistischen Lagersystem
  • George Mosse, 1996. Image of man: the creation of modern masculinity.
  • George Mosse, 1988. Nationalism and Sexuality: Middle-class morality and sexual norms in modern Europe  
  • Mala Htun, 2004. Sex and the State: Abortion, Divorce and the Family under Latin American Dictatorships and Democracies
  • Claudia Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland: women, the family and Nazi Germany
  • Christine Thürmer-Rohr 1991. Vagabonding: feminist thinking cut loose (translated by Lise Weil)
  • Robert Moeller, 1993. Protecting Motherhood: Women and the family in the politics of postwar West Germany
  • Kathleen Blee, 1992. Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s
  • Raffael Scheck. 2004. Mothers of the Nation: Right-Wing Women in Weimar Germany

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Weeks 10 and 11, November 8 and 15
The 1960s rebellions and the "Second Wave"

 

Among the issues to explore are interpretations of the politics of the 68ers as an effort to break the hold of a certain kind of socialism and reclaim a number of "everyday life" issues that had been excluded from "the political" by the marxist traditions of theory and organization. The fact that American and European activists in '68 had very different relationships to such marxist traditions   makes for a useful comparison. In addition, the legacy of WWII and Nazi hegemony was still to be dealt with in Germany, and whether women had a different relation to national responsibility for war and violence posed new questions of political accountability.

 

WEEK 10 facilitator: Myra

Required readings - political essays and contemporary scholarship;

Required readings - women's writings:

WEEK 11 facilitator: Ruth-Ellen

Required readings - Women's writings of the 'second wave' era

Student Choice readings:

  • Sara Evans, Personal Politics: The Roots of Feminism in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left.
  • Kate Weigand, 2001. Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women's Liberation.  
  • Kimberly Springer, 2005. Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-80.
  • Ruth Rosen, 2000. The World Split Open: How the modern women's movement changed America.
  • Cheryl Hercus, 2004. Stepping out of Line: Becoming and Being a Feminist
  • Silke Roth, 2003. Building Movement Bridges : The Coalition of Labor Union Women
  • Belinda Robnett, How Long, How Long? Black Women Leaders in the Civil Rights Movement [New York: Oxford University 1997]
  • Ute Gerhard, Atempause: Feminismus als demokratisches Projekt. Fischer Taschenbuch, 1999.
  • Claire Duchen, Feminism in France: From May 68 to Mitterand
  • Edith Hoshino Altbach et al, eds. German Feminism: Readings in Politics and Literature.
  • Nancy Lukens, Dorothy Rosenberg. (trans. & ed.) Daughters of Eve: Women's Writing from the German Democratic Republic
  • Raka Ray, Fields of Protest: Women's Movements in India
  • Patricia Richards, 2004. Pobladoras, indigenas and the state: Conflicts over women's rights in Chile
  • Maurice Isserman, If I had a hammer: the death of the old left and the birth of the new left.
  • Luise Passerini, Autobiography of a Generation
  • Gisela Kaplan, Contemporary Western European Feminism.
  • Harrad Schenk, Die feministische Herausforderung
  • Irmtraud Morgner The life and adventures of Trobadora Beatrice as chronicled by her minstrel Laura : a novel in thirteen books and seven intermezzos translated by Jeanette [Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000].

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Weeks 12 and 13, November 22 and 29
The "Wende" and afterward; post-socialism, and democratization

 

The different organizations of socialist and non-socialist states help to present a core paradox, the gendered nature of "the political" as a supposedly abstract concept. In remaking social orders politically, the organized nature of "the private" and the politics of families are exposed. The question of when and how "the private is political" thus becomes a more or less explicitly "political" (i.e. publicly debated) question. How this does or does not involve the remaking of the family and the re-thinking of citizenship and public life is one key   issue facing feminists and for defining 'feminism" today.   Issues of identity and solidarity as they emerge in feminist writing and discussions across lines of color and privilege, historically and in the present, are also critical in making "women's movements" and social change.

 

WEEK 12 facilitator: Myra

Required readings - Contemporary scholarship

Required readings - women's writings:

WEEK 13 facilitator: Ruth-Ellen

Women's   writings from the era of the Wende

Student Choice readings:

    • Susan Gal & Gail Kligman, 2000. The Politics of Gender after Socialism
    • Regina Becker-Schmidt (ed) 2002. Gender and Work in Transition: Globalization in Western, Middle and Eastern Europe. Leske+Budrich.
    • Jill Bystydzienski & Joti Sekhon, (eds) 1999. Democratization and Women's Grassroots Movements
    • Mounira Charrad, 2001. States and Women's Rights: the Making of Post-colonial Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria
    • Fatima Mernissi, 1987. The Veil and the Male Elite: A feminist interpretation of women's rights in Islam.
    • Cynthia Enloe, 2004. The Curious Feminist: Searching for women in the age of empire
    • Nitza Berkovich, 1999. From Motherhood to Citizenship
    • Nancy Naples and Manisha Desai, (eds) 2002. Women's Activism and Globalization
    • Anne Hampele, Der Unabhängige Frauenverband.
    • Brigitte Young, 1999. Triumph of the Fatherland.
    • Birgit Bütow and Heidi Stecker, eds. EigenArtige Ostfrauen: Frauenemanzipation in der DDR und den neuen Bundesländern [Bielefeld : Kleine Verlag, 1994].
    • Christine Kulka et al. (eds), Wider das schlichte Vergessen: Der deutsch-deutsche Einigungsprozess - Frauen in Dialog [Orlanda Frauenverlag 1992].
    • Agnes Joester and Insa Schöningh, eds, So nah beieinander und doch so fern: Frauenleben in Ost und West [1992].
    • Hella Hertzfeldt, Katrin Schäfgen, Silke Veth (eds). 2005. Geschlechterverhältnisse. Karl Dietz Verlag
    • Ingrid Miethe, Claudia Kajatin, Jana Pohl (ed). 2004. Geschlechterkonstruktionen in Ost und West: Biographische Perspektiven.

 

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Weeks 14 and 15, December 6 and 13
Student Presentations

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