Week Seven: Gender

Well, piggybacking on what I said last week, if there is a second essay that has most informed my writing, it would be Gayatri Spivak’s essay “Can The Subaltern Speak?” (Here is the full text that you will need for this week.)  Spoiler alert:  the answer is no.  But I am guessing you could have guessed that.

Caveats:  It is hard to talk about gender without falling into the trap of thinking about sexuality.  I come from the school that believes gender is constructed (so for example, I don’t believe that women are naturally less violent, but that societal constructions force women into such a mold, to be simplistic.   When I teach a gender theory course, we will spend weeks just thinking about gender in general).  Gender is not sexuality, and the two should not be conflated, though the theories certainly inform each other (see anything by Judith Butler, but make sure you give yourself enough time to work through her convoluted sentences).

Now that you know a little about my own scholarship, you will see how important the work of Leila Ahmed is to the study of women in the Islamic world.  I have asked you to read some of her writing, but I would suggest you listen to the interview with her first to give you some foundation.  You can listen to it from your computer or download it here.  Throw on your iPod and take a walk and give it a listen.  We all need to admire the budding daffodils, and why not do something for yourself while you are doing your homework.  Your dogs will thank you for it.  Mine are Calvin and Theo. I call them “the mangiacs” (Theo had mange when we adopted him).  They are lounging in the office with me while I write this post.

Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s seminal piece “Under Western Eyes” forced Western feminists to consider their own subject position and their own role in reifying the hegemony of the “West.”  She offers a critical lens for reading “world” texts about women.

The Gyasi short story link on the syllabus works.

As for this week’s blog post, I ask that you respond to the theoretical pieces and the stories.

Go outside.  Take a walk.  Take care of yourself.  Enjoy the green.  Take a breath.

Someday read this book:




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