Feminism, Politics, and Imagination

Instructor: Asma Abbas
The Barnard Center for Research on Women
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

This course approaches the politics of marginal subjects through the work of women thinkers, writers, characters, actors, and artists. These figures confront the logics of colonialism, capitalism, racism, fascism, and patriarchy by thwarting the voices, loves, fates, destinies, and narratives conferred to them within these systems, as well as within those discourses that seek to liberate them. Notions of speech, disorder, pathology, trauma, romance, desire, repulsion, and faith will be central to approaching the trenchant critiques and rearticulations of state, society, and politics that emerge in the texts we study. We will work within multiple genres, including theoretical texts, novels, and film in a space of close reading and intimate intellectual consideration.

We will not consider femininity or the female body to be an a priori, an already known or knowable “object” of political work. Instead, we will follow these texts into the lifeworlds of capitalism, colonialism, liberalism, and imperialism inscribed on all our bodies and subjectivities—some more than others, to be sure—to the politics they ask of us. A key goal of the course will be to demonstrate that considering political experience and judgment cannot merely involve the aggregation of different perspectives from discrete lenses of race, class and gender; it is necessary to address what these forms of subjections share, as well as where they diverge. Readings will draw upon the work of, Hannah Arendt, Ingeborg Bachmann, Lauren Berlant, Helene Cixous, Denise DaSilva, Assia Djebar, Silvia Federici, Nancy Fraser, Ranjana Khanna, Catharine MacKinnon, Catherine Malabou, Hortense Spillers, Gayatri Spivak, Simone Weil, and Sylvia Wynter.

Course Schedule

Saturday, 2-5pm
January 30 — November 19, 2016
4 weeks


Registration Closed

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