Teaching Transnational Feminist Philosophy in a Feminist Philosophy course
My colleague at Denison University, Barbara Fultner, and I received a Themed Course grant from the Great Lakes Colleges Association to incorporate transnational feminist perspectives into our feminist philosophy courses. We are teaching shared texts for a little more than half of the syllabus. Our students will meet by video conference three times over the course of the semester and then meet for a workshop at Denison at the end.
I was nervous when we first started talking about doing this work because I didn’t want to add transnational feminist activists to the syllabus in a way that was just examples or application of European or Anglophone feminist philosophy. I wanted to make sure that the transnational feminism invited us to reconsider the conceptual apparatus provided by Western and Global North feminists. For me the most pressing questions of feminist philosophy have been about sexual difference, by which I mean questions of whether difference between genders can be thought in non-reductive, non-essentialist, non-oppositional and non-hierarchal ways. I teach the course around these questions and the challenge to equality brought by inadequate notions of difference. Transnational feminists offered counter schemes that challenge the assumptions of which differences matter, of what does and does not organize social life, and of how material conditions affect our perception of sex and gender.
I’m usually shy / proprietary about sharing syllabi, but I think that this is important work. In the hopes that others might find this useful, I’m sharing the reading schedule. Feedback welcome!