Feminism (0122-382-01, Cross-listed with 0105-335-01, 4 Units)

Classroom: HR 143

Professor Yoko Arisaka, Ph.D
Office: Campion D8  (Right next to classroom D7)
Office Hours: T/Th 2-3p, CA D8, and W 5-6, Lone Mountain Cafeteria
Office Phone: 422-6424   (422-6543 for the philosophy dept.)
email: arisaka@usfca.edu


Tuesday, April 29, we covered the handout on Comfort Women.  For Thursday May 1, we will take a look at Ynestra King, Chapter 6, ecofeminism, and also begin addressing some issues related to prostitution.

On Tuesday, May 6, we will visit Good Vibrations on POLK St. (at Sacramento), their new store. We will meet at 3:15p sharply in class, then we will carpool.  If you would rather meet at the location on your own, meet us around 3:30p, 1620 Polk St. (415) 345-0400

On Thursday, May 8, we will discuss the prostitution paper as well as Young's essay on pregnancy (Chapter7)

The readings for the rest of the semester, from the book, are:

Chapter 7; Iris Marion Young, on Pregnant Embodiment
Chapter 8; Susan Bordo, Reading the Slender Body
Chapter 9; Maria Lugones and Elizabeth Spelman, Have We Got a Theory for You!

So far, the handouts you should have are:

Please try to participate in some of the events on women-related issues that are happening at USF as well as around San Francisco (see handouts).

Bring bring websites and other resources to class to share.

Web resource (Please bring listings and I will post them here):

Submitted by Tricia;
San Francisco Women Against Rape
The Women's Building
National Women's History Project
Submitted by Kathy;
Woman, Inc (A Lifeline for Battered Women)
National Center for Lesbian Rights
Submitted by Tommy; San Francisco Chapter of the National Organization for Women

Course Description:

The course is designed as an upper division “core theory course” in the Women’s Studies program as well as an elective in philosophy.  The course focuses on feminist theoretical analyses.  Specifically, after the introductory section, we investigate the following:  First, in order for us to gain understanding of the diversity of approaches within what is labeled as “feminism,” we examine various feminist theories and analyze their claims and points of contention.  In this context, we also investigate the broader historical development and theoretical framework (such as “liberalism,” “existentialism,” “socialism,” “postmodernism,” etc.) within which specific feminist concerns have emerged and developed.  Second, we examine specific relations between philosophy, theory, praxis, technology, and feminism.  In this section the focus will be the analyses of feminist contributions to ethics, epistemology, social justice practices, selfhood, and meta-theory.  Finally, we conclude by contexualizing the current theoretical debates of feminism and philosophy within a global framework; we will examine the implications of a “postcolonial feminist” approach and discuss the relevance of feminism-at-large in such a context.  The issues of race and class, as well as the broader gender and sexuality issues are integrated throughout the course.

Learning Outcome:

At the end of the semester, the students should be able to:


Feminism and Philosophy, Tuana and Tong, eds.  Westview. 1995. (FP)

Additional reading material will be distributed in class.  (If the class size increases, it will be a Reader, to be purchased in the Philosophy Dept.)

Note: It is important that the reading assignments be read before the class, as the class time will be spent on discussing and analyzing the texts.

Course Requirements and Grading:

1. 10 Summary and analysis papers.  5 points each, 50 points total.  These short papers summarize the main points of the articles and provide your own evaluation.  You may also relate the material to other aspects of the course.  Summary papers should be written before we discuss the material; we will use them in class, for discussion/presentation.  If, however, you feel that you would like to develop your paper further given the discussion, you may do so.

2.  Final essay.  20 points. (take-home, 6-7 pages)  Final essay will be an analysis/evaluation paper, either on some aspect of the debates within feminist theories, relation between philosophy and feminism, or postcolonial feminist critique.  Possible topics will be distributed in class toward the end of the semester.

3.  Participation and Discussion.  10 points.  This course relies heavily on discussions.  For each class, two students will be responsible for presenting an article and its main points.  You can use your summary papers.

4.  Report and Service Learning Component.  20 points.  Please locate and visit any of the Bay Area’s women-related community centers, such as SF Women’s Building, Women’s Shelter, Battered Women’s Resource Center, Rape Prevention Center, etc., and arrange for an interview, and write a report.  Relate the practical observations to the theories.  If you do volunteer work, provided that it fits your schedule and given that the service is available, you will get extra credit (up to 10 points) for the report. Alternatively, you may review two films, related to the issues we discuss, and write a report, for extra credit.

100 points total.  A: 92-100, A-: 90 and 91, B+: 89, and so on.

Course Schedule:

Week 1 (Jan 28, 30): Introduction and Overview: bell hooks, “Feminism” (handout)

Week 2 (Feb 4, 6): Introduction and Overview continued; Naomi Wolf, Audre Lorde, Martha Nussbaum, (handouts)

Week 3 (Feb 11, 13): Liberal Feminist Perspectives (FP Section 1)

Week 4 (Feb 18, 20): Socialist Feminist Perspectives (Pateman handout, FP Section 5, )

Week 5 (Feb 25, 27): Radical Feminist Perspectives (FP Section 3)

Week 6 (March 4, 6): Psychoanalytic Feminist Perspectives (FP Section 4, plus handout)

Week 7 (March 11; no class March 13): Phenomenological and Existential Feminist Perspectives (FP Section 7)

Week 8 (Spring Break)

Week 9 (March 25, 27): Postmodern Feminist Perspectives (FP Section 8)

Week 10 (April 1, 3): Feminist Ethics (handout)

Week 11 (April 8, 10): Feminism and Technology (handout)

Week 12 (April 15, 17): Construction of the Self (handout)

Week 13 (April 22, 24): Multiculturalism, Feminism, and the Global Context (handout)

Week 14 (April 29, May 1): Postcolonial Feminist Perspectives (handout)

Week 15 (May 6, 8): Postcolonial Feminist Perspectives (handout)

Week 16 (May 13, 15): Review and discussion

Final is due on Wednesday, May 21, 5pm.

Policy on Attendance, Turning in your papers, etc.

You are expected to attend every class, as participation is weighed heavily.  I will accept VALID excuses (medical emergency, or other events which are totally beyond your control).  It is your responsibility to contact me if you must miss class.

Please note that “turning in the paper” means that I receive it; it does NOT mean that you dropped it off.  When in doubt, you must make sure with me that I actually have your material.

You can send the paper on-line (arisaka@usfca.edu).  However, I can only open a pc Word document (.doc)

You may turn your final in early.  No makeup for the final.

If you must drop the course, it is your responsibility to take care of the paperwork and to contact me.  If you stop coming and your name appears on the roster at the end of the course, you will receive an F (not my choice, but if your name appears on the final grading sheet, I have to assign a grade).  An “I” grade can be given only for a missed final.  It must be arranged with me beforehand.

Feel free to talk to me about any concerns you may have about the course.  I am always interested in what you have to say.

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