Welcome to the course blog for GWSS 3004: Feminist Debates! While this blog has been developed for participants in the course, it is open to anyone for reading and engaging. 

FOR STUDENTS ENROLLED IN GWSS 3004: Make sure to check out the course information page for the most current information on assignments, due dates, and course readings. Also, check out the resources page for links to checklists, advice on how to blog and tweet and much more. 


FOR ALL VISITORS TO THIS SITE: In Feminism is for Everybody, bell hooks argues for the importance of feminist mass-based education in order both to counter mainstream media's overly negative representation of feminism and its goals and for sharing the positive contributions that feminist principles have made with as many people as possible (including those outside of the academy). In a chapter entitled, "Feminist Education for Critical Consciousness," hooks imagines this feminist education being spread through pamphlets, buttons, t-shirts, children's books, and television networks. 

But what about feminist blogs (and social media tools like twitter) for spreading awareness? 

Students in GWSS 3004: Feminist Debates at the University of Minnesota, will be using this blog and the hashtag #femd2011 to explore the limits and possibilities of developing and spreading mass-based feminist education online. In addition to contributing their own content to the meaning of feminist education (through blog posts, comments and tweets), they will be critically reflecting on a wide range of ways in which networks of feminists are already using the internet to develop and share their feminist principles and projects (as they relate to our 4 key clusters of issues: street harassment, reproductive rights/justice, domestic labor and education). 

The following passages have inspired the development of this course:

I approach feminism with the presumption that no undisputed premises are to be agreed upon in the global context. And so, for practical and political reasons, there is no value to be derived in silencing disputes. The questions are: how best to have them, how most productively to stage them, and how to act in ways that acknowledge the irreversible complexity of who we are?
Judith Butler, Undoing Gender

What is distinctive about developing a feminist curiosity? One of the starting points of feminism is taking women's lives seriously. "Seriously" implies listening carefully, digging deep, developing a long attention span, being reading to be surprised.
Cynthia Enloe, The Curious Feminist 

There is no magic formula for reaching fair and workable resolutions of these pressing and complicated problems. The best we can do is resolve to be as open and sensitive as we can to the diversity of interest and range of values involved. This in turn requires us to commit ourselves to seeking as many different perspectives as possible. If we are sincerely concerned with ending the subordination of all women, feminists cannot afford unquestioned assumptions, orthodoxies, or dogmatic commitments to positions alleged to be 'politically correct." Instead, we must find ways of hearing the voices of women muted in the dominant culture, and we must respond to these voices by giving special attention and weight to the concerns they express.

In this course we will take as our premise that debate is essential for the success of feminism as democratic movement and that that debate requires a healthy dose of feminist curiosity and a willingness to not resolve complexity but to engage with it. We will explore how feminists have energized their theoretical/political projects through productive debates on key issues, giving particular attention to how these debates are articulated and negotiated within social media spaces (especially on blogs and via twitter). 

After beginning with brief introductions to feminist social media, feminism and feminist debate, we will spend most of the semester on in-depth explorations of four key clusters of issues within transnational U.S. feminisms: (1) Street Harassment, (2) Reproductive Rights/Justice, (3) Domestic Labor and (4) Education and the Academic Industrial Complex. Through the process of exploring these clusters of issues, we will engage in our own ethical and political deliberation on feminisms and its various agendas for social justice and transformation.

Recent Entries

Social Media as a Tool for Feminism
Truthfully, I've been throughout the course of this class slightly troubled by the nigh-ubiquitous wholesale veneration of social media as…
This is a Feminist Issue Because... Feminist Ryan Gosling Reaffirms Primacy of Hegemonic Western Feminisms
While I'm reasonably positive that someone has already posted on the subject of our friend Feminist Ryan Gosling (whose exploits…
Feminist Social Media Assessment
While our presentation was slightly atypical in that it diverged from what we generally today consider to be social media,…