1. women's positions in patriarchal society and discourses: ( Patriarchy and the History of Feminist Writings)
issues: 1. What is phallocentrism? And phallogocentrism?
1. J. Derrida's critique of phallocentrism and binarism
3. jouissance (Barthes—that which is indeterminate, mobile, blank, the explosion of language, when language no longer has meaning; Lacan--female sexual pleasure; Cixous & Irigaray--characteristic of feminine writing)
Feminism/Postmodernism "Introduction" Nicholson, Linda, ed. Feminism/Postmodernism. New York: Routledge, 1990: 1-18.
1) [both have] uncovered the political power of the academy and of knowledge claims. In general, they have argued against the supposed neutrality and objectivity of the academy, asserting that claims put forth as universally applicable have invariably been valid only for men of a particular culture, class, and race.
2) [Postmodernists have alleged that] ideals which have given backing to these claims, such as "objectivity" and "reason," have reflected the values of masculinity at a particular point of history. Feminists have criticized other enlightenment ideals, such as the autonomous and self-legislating self, as reflective of masculinity in the modern West.
3) pm offers feminism some useful ideas
about method, particularly a wariness toward generalizations
which transcend the boundaries of culture and region.
1) pm's criticism of f's essentialism and traditional notions of history (e.g. the ways they locate the cause of women's oppression
e.g. biological determinants; a cross-cultural domestic/public separation; the assumption of monocausality
e.g. Seyla benhabib against postmodern relativism
1) forswear master narrative; theory would be explicitly historical
3) dispense with the idea of a subject of history. It would replace unitary notions of woman and feminine gender identity with plural and complexly constructed conceptions of social identity, treating gender as one relevant strand among others.
4) pragmatic and fallibilistic
1. Donna Haraway:
A Cyborg -- "contradictory, partial and strategic" (197), "a kind of disassembled and reassembled, postmodern collective self"?(205), breaking the dichotomies between "mind and body, animal and human, organism and machine, public and private, nature and culture, men and women, primitive and civilized…"
"What sort of body is it that is free to change its shape and location at will, that can become anyone and travel everywhere? If the body is the metaphor for our locatedness in space and time and thus for the finitude of human perception and knowledge, then the postmodern body is no body at all." (8)
p. 136 If the inner truth of gender is a fabrication and if a true gender is a fantasy instituted and inscribed on the surface of bodies, then it seems that genders can be neither true nor false, but are only produced as the truth effects of a discourse of primary and stable identity.
What is lesbian experience? (sexual relations; woman-centered experience; experience subversive of the patriarchy)
queer reading and the lesbian/gay texts in the closet
Lesbianism & Lesbian movement: Three stages; three definitions of the "lesbian" (Cf. 周華山; 矛峰)
Rich: Compulsory heterosexuality "Lesbian continuum" 114;
Wittig: Lesbians are not Women 115
critique: 117- e.g. 122 Lesbian as a pre-discursive subject
arguments about butch and femme 140-45
Black (Third World) feminism: e.g. Lorde's argument about sex and "erotic" 149
Foucault and Derrida
Judith Butler –gender identity as corporeal
styles, as a lack (non-identity); masquerade
What is "Lesbian"
aesthetic stage -- p. 424-25
1. representation of women with a focus on rape and spectatorship;e.g.
1. literature: "Araby"; "I'm Running for my Life"; "Rape Fantasies" "Rape"(Adrienne Rich);2. Women's discourse;
2. paintings: excerpt from Ways of Seeing;
3. popular culture--music video: Dream World;
4. popular culture--films: "Rear Window";
5. popular culture--ads: Contemporary Images of Women on the Ads
**Choose a Chinese or English text (literary or non-literary) and study its construction of women in relation to men. Are the women in the chosen text subordinated to men, objectified (used as a symbol or an object of desire) or stereotyped (angel or whore)? Is their development constrained in the patriarchal society? Is the text critical of,or complicit with, this sexual inequality?
**Choose a text written by a woman and study its attitudes toward patriarchal values and/or its construction of gender. Remember, a woman is not necessarily a feminist; some woman writers may be complicit withpatriarchal society.3. gender studies and lesbian studies
Artists on Women's Images: Madonna, Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Chinese Americans
and Female Artists and Femininist Issues: Taiwanese and Western feminist painters
**Choose a text and study its construction of gender. Are gender differences in the text absolute or relative? What constitutes the "female," the "male," or even the third sex (biology, language, psyche or culture)?
back to top