Zillah Eisenstein

My writings, thoughts, and activism.

Feminist Theory/ies (Spring 2010)

Essential Readings (Books at IC Bookstore)
Zillah Eisenstein. The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism (packet)
Catherine MacKinnon. Feminism Unmodified.
Monique Wittig. The Straight Mind.
bell hooks. Talking Back.
Gloria Anzaldua. Making Face / Making Soul.
Chandra Mohanty. Feminism Without Borders
Uma Narayan. Dislocating Cultures
Slovenka Drakulic. How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed.
Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke, eds. Opening the Gates, A Century of Arab
Feminist Writing.
Saba Mahmood. The Politics of Piety
Zillah Eisenstein. Sexual Decoys
This course introduces and then explores SOME of the multiple meanings and
varieties of feminism. I try to be inclusive in scope in terms of the themes and political
commitments of feminisms both here, and across the globe, but also know that this is an
impossible endeavor. We will first examine `western feminisms’ in order to clarify
several of the theoretical/political themes usually associated with feminism in general:
liberal feminism, radical feminism, and lesbian feminism. We will examine how any one
of these theoretical constructs can be further pluralized as well as connected to each
But first we will interrogate the very meaning of both sex and its relation to
gender in order to pluralize our thinking about sex(es) and gender(s). I will ask you to
wonder whether there are simply two sexes and two genders, and what the complex
relationship is between these two realms. In the end we will query how the multiplicity
of gender itself more fully pluralizes feminisms themselves.
We will next examine Third World Feminisms as: women of color critiques of
western feminism; Black U.S. feminism; Chicana/Mexicana feminism; and Arab
feminisms. Next we will examine Eastern European post-socialist and communist
feminisms along with a discussion of the theoretical meaning of socialist feminism.
We will examine the unique features of each, their intersection with each other, and their
dialogue with the construct `western feminism’. You will be asked to query whether you
think feminism is a diversely constructed politics rather than an inherently `western’
construct. We query whether feminism(s) is always plural in meaning and how this
impacts on the idea of feminisms across the globe. 2
The discussion and comparison of western feminisms, women of color feminisms,
post-communist feminisms, and Arab feminisms will be directed by a series of analytic
queries and theoretical constructs. These queries will be used to construct the similarities
and the differences that exist between feminisms and within any one feminism.
The theoretical queries explore the relations between:
in order to better understand the intertextuality between racism, patriarchy, and
We will utilize a method of radical pluralism to explore the false oppositions
constructing the concept of sex/gender ‘difference’ and its relation to its racialized
meaning. And, we will rethink feminisms from the notion that there are more than two
sexes and more than two genders and many races.
Our course assumes that there are many feminisms today, and that they are both
similar and different to earlier historical understandings and political strategies and
movements. I ground our study in some of the early historical discussions that dominated
“western” feminism because this is our location—and then we branch outward both in
terms of time and space to embrace feminist struggles at this particular militarist moment
in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq,
Each student will be expected to write two analytical papers in the course with the
intent of defining their notion of a radically ‘inclusive’ and `polyversal’ feminist theory.
Each student is expected to attend every session ready to participate in class discussion.
We will follow the format below:
I. Western Feminisms in Dialogue
1. Liberal Feminism and Its Critique
Read: Zillah Eisenstein. The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism,
(entire packet)
2. Radical Feminism
Read: Catherine MacKinnon. Feminism Unmodified, Introd., ch. 1, 2, 3,
7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 16.
3. Lesbian Feminism
Read: Monique Wittig. The Straight Mind, Forward, Preface, ch. 1, 2, 3,
6, 8.3
4. Women of Color Third World Feminisms
Read: Chandra Mohanty. Feminism Without Borders, ch. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9.
5. U.S. Black Feminism
Read: bell hooks. Talking Back, ch. 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 12, 13, 17, 18, 21, 23,
24, 25.
6.Chicana/Mexicana Feminism
Read: Gloria Anzaldua. Making Face/Making Soul, Introd. and articles
beginning on pp. 20, 25, 29, 55, 139, 142, 174, 182, 194, 203, 245,
256, 197, 304, 321, 326, 335, 370, 371, 377, 390.
II. Eastern European Post-Communist Feminisms
Read: Slovenka Drakulic. How We Survived Communism and Even
III. Arab Feminism(s)
Read: Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke, eds. Opening the Gates,
Introd. and articles beginning on pp. 3, 26, 54, 63, 72, 104, 137, 160, 168,
186, 220, 227, 257, 296, 317, 337, 343, 352, 366, 372, 394.
IV. Rethinking Islamic Feminisms and their practices
Read: Saba Mahmood. The Politics of Piety
V. Interrogating `western’ and `third world feminisms
Read: Uma Narayan, Dislocating Cultures , ch. 1, 2, 3.
VI. Polyversal Feminisms and the problem of Imperial Feminism
Read: Zillah Eisenstein, Against Empire, ch. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8
Partial Suggested Reading List
1. Historical Readings
Eleanor Flexner. Century of Struggle.
Aileen Kraditor. The Ideas of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1890-1920
(Doubleday Anchor)
William O’Neill. Everyone Was Brave (Quandrangle).
Mary Beard. Woman as Force in History (Collier Books).
Judith Hole & Ellen Levine. Rebirth of Feminism (Quandrangle).
Alan Grimes. The Puritan Ethic and Woman’s Suffrage (Oxford).
Mary Ryan. Womanhood in America (Viewpoints)
Midge MacKenzie. Shoulder to Shoulder (Knopf).4
Nancy Cott. The Bonds of Womanhood.
Linda Gordon. Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right.
Ann Douglas. The Feminization of American Culture.
Edward Shorter. The Making of the Modern Family.
Carol George, ed. Remember the Ladies (Syracuse, 1975).
Gail Parker. The Oven Birds (Doubleday, 1972)
Alice Rossi. The Feminist Papers (Columbia, 1973)
Ehrenreich & English. “Witches, Midwives and Nurses,” Feminist Press pamphlet.
Gordon, Mari Jo Buhle, Nancy Schrom. “Women in American Society,” Radical
America 5 (July-August 1971), pamphlet form.
Sheila Rowbotham. Women, Resistance and Revolution (Pantheon Books, 1972).
Sheila Rowbotham. Hidden from History (Pluto Press, 1973).
Dorothy Anne Liot Backer. Precious Women (Basic Books, 1973).
Martha Vincinius. Suffer and Be Still: Women in the Victorian Age (Indiana, 1973).
David Morgan. Suffragists and Liberals (Basil Blackwell, 1975).
Ross, Evans, Paulson. Women’s Suffrage and Prohibition (Scott, Foresman).
Baxandall, Gordon, Reverby. America’s Working Women (Vintage).
H. Guttman. The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925.
2. The Western Liberal Tradition
Mary Wollstonecraft. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Norton, 1967)
Miriam Kramnick, ed. Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Penguin, 1975)
Margaret George. One Woman’s Situation – A Study of Mary Wollstonecraft
(University of Illinois Press, 1970).
Edna Nixon. Mary Wollstonecraft, Her Life and Times (Dent & Sons, 1971).
Ralph Wardle. Mary Wollstonecraft. A Critical Biography (University of
Nebraska Press, 1951).
Eva Figes. Patriarchal Attitudes (Fawcett, 1970).
Claire Tomalin. The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft (Harcourt Brace, 1974).
Janet Todd. “The Biographies of Mary Wollstonecraft,” in Signs (Spring 1976),
vol. 1, no. 3, part 1, pp. 721-35
J.S. Mill. On the Subjection of Women (Fawcett).
Alice Rossi, ed. Essays on Sex Equality (Chicago Press).
Gertrude Hummelfarb. On Liberty and Liberalism (Knopf).
J. Kamm. John Stuart Mill in Love.
Salper. Female Liberation.
Schneir. Essential Writings of Feminism.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Eighty Years and More (Schochen Books, 1971).
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, et. al. History of Woman’s Suffrage (Fowler and Wells,
1881; seven volumes).
Mary Ann Oakley. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Feminist Press).
Elinor Rice Hays. Lucy Stone (Tower Publishers).
Ellen Dubois. “On Labor and Free Love: Two Unpublished Speeches of Elizabeth
Cady Stanton,” in Signs, vol. 1, no. 1 (Autumn 1975), pp. 257-269.
Ellen Dubois. Feminism and Suffrage.5
3. Radical and/or Cultural Feminism
Shulamith Firestone. The Dialectic of Sex.
Robin Morgan. Going to Far.
Ingrid Bengis. Combat in the Erogenous Zone (Alfred Knopf).
Kate Millett. Sexual Politics (Doubleday).
Robin Morgan, ed. Sisterhood is Powerful (Vintage, 1970).
Robin Morgan, ed. Monster (Vintage, 1972).
Ellen Frankfurt. Vaginal Politics (Quandrangle, 1972).
Collective. Our Bodies Ourselves (Simon and Schuster, 1971).
Red Stockings. Feminist Revolution (pamphlet, 1975).
Adrienne Rich. Of Woman Born.
Dorothy Dinnerstein. The Mermaid and the Minotaur.
Nancy Chodorow. The Reproduction of Mothering.
Lin Farley. Sexual Shakedown.
Andrea Dworkin. Woman-Hating.
Andrea Dworkin. Right Wing Women.
Susan Griffin. Pornography and Silence.
Susan Griffin. Woman and Nature.
4. Radical Lesbianism
Ti Grace Atkinson. Amazon Odyssey.
Jill Johnston. Lesbian Nation.
Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love. Sappho Was a Right-on Woman, A Liberated
View of Lesbianism (Stein and Day, 1972).
Ingrid Bengis. Combat in the Erogenous Zone, chapter 2.
Rita Mae Brown. Ruby Fruit Jungle (Dauthers, Inc.)
Anne Koedt. “Loving Another Woman,” in Notes from the Third Year: Women’s
Liberation (booklet by Bell & Howell, pp. 25-30).
Anne Koedt. “Lesbianism and Feminism,” in Notes from the Third Year.
Donna Martin. “The Lesbian Love Ethnic,” Amazon Quarterly, vol. 1, Issue 3,
pp. 49-56.
Robin Morgan, “Lesbianism and Feminism: Synonyms or Contradiction,” Second
Wave, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 14-23.
Betty Friedan. “Up From the Kitchen Floor,” New York Times Magazine Section
(March 4, 1973), pp. 8-37.
Betty Wysor. The Lesbian Myth (Random House).
5. Women of Color Feminisms
Angela Davis. Women, Race, and Class.
“Combahee River Collective Statement,” in Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for
Socialist Feminism.
Barbara Smith. “Notes for Yet Another Paper on Black Feminism,”6
Conditions: Five.
Alice Walker. “Porn at Home,” Ms. Magazine, 1980.
Combahee River Collective. “Why Did They Die,” Radical America, 1979.
Barbara Smith. “Ain’t I a Woman: Spreading Confusion.”
Ellen Willis. “Sisters Under the Skin.”
bell hooks. Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism.
Angela Davis. “Reflections on the Black Woman’s Role in the Community of
Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, eds. This Bridge Called My Back.
Lorraine Bethel and Barbara Smith, eds. Conditions: Five, The Black Womens’
Issue, 1979.
Ellen Dubois. Feminism and Suffrage.
“Why Did They Die? A Document of Black Feminism,” Radical America, B,
No. 6 (Nov-Dec. 1979).
Sara Evans. Personal Politics, 1979.
Beverly Fisher. “Race and Class: Beyond Personal Politics,” Quest 3, no. 4
(Spring 1977).
Herbert Guttman. The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925 (New
York: Pantheon, 1976).
Diane Lewis. “A Response to Inequality: Black Women, Racism and Sexism,”
Signs 3, No. 2 (Winter 177).
Margaret Simons. “Racism and Feminism: A Schism in the Sisterhood,”
Feminist Studies 5, No. 2 (Summer 1979).
Carol Stack. All Our Kin, Strategies for Survival in a Black Community
(New York: Harper & Row, 1974).
Off Our Backs. “Special Issue on Racism and Sexism,” 9, no. 10 (November 1979).
Michele Wallace. Black Macho and the Myth of the Super Woman, 1978.
Alice Walker. “Born at Home,” Ms. 8, no. 8 (February 1980).
Jean Noble. Beautiful Also Are the Souls of My Black Sisters.
Ntozake Shange. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the
Rainbow is Enuf.
Zora Neale Hurston. Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye and Jula.
Dexter Fisher Rose, ed. The Third Woman
La Frances Rodgers, ed. The Third Woman
Bell, Parker, and Guy-Sheftall, eds. Sturdy Black Bridges.
Alice Walker. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens.
Barbara Smith, ed. Home Girls.
Hull, Scott, Smith, eds. But Some of us are Brave.
6. Feminisms in Islam and/or Muslim and Islamic Feminisms
Asma Barlas. `Believing’ Women in Islam
Margot Badran. Feminism, Islam and Nation
Deniz Kandiyoti. Women, Islam and the State7
Fatima Mernissi. Women’s Rebellion and Islamic Memory
Leila Ahmed. A Border Passage
Haideh Moghissi. Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism
Nawal el Saadawi. A Daughter of Isis
Valentine Moghadan. Gender and National Identity
Sunita Mehta. Women for Afghan Women
Miriam Cooke. Women Claim Islam
Khalida Messaoudi. Unbowed
7. Socialist Feminism
Zillah Eisenstein. Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism.
Lydia Sargent, ed. Women and Revolution.
Sheila Rowbotham. Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World.
Juliet Mitchell. Women’s Estate.
Louise Kapp Howe. Pink Collar Workers.
Nancy Seifer. Nobody Speaks for Me, Self-Portraits of American Working
Class Women.
Kathryn Johnson. “Presentation by Kathryn Johnson to Feminism/Socialism
Conference,” New American Movement Women’s Newsletter (December 1972).
Branka Magas. “Sex Politics: Class Politics,” New Left Review, No. 66
(March-April 1971), pp. 69-96.
NACLA Newsletter. Volume VI, no. 10 (December 1972).
Isabel Largeria and John Dumonlin. Women in Struggle, specifically
“Toward a Science of Women’s Liberation,” pp. 3-20.
Susan Sontag. “The Third World of Women,” Partisan Review, 1973.
Sheila Rowbotham. Women, Resistance and Revolution (Pantheon).
Juliet Mitchell. Psychoanalysis and Feminism (Pantheon).
Hilda Scott. Does Socialism Liberate Women? (Beacon).
Wally Secombe. “Housework Under Capitalism,” in New Life Review 83
(January-February 1973).
Radical America. “Women’s Labor,” vol. 7, nos. 4 & 5: “The Earthly Family,”
Lise Vogel; “Domestic Work and Capitalism,” Ira Gerstein.
Rayna Reiter. Toward an Anthropology of Women (Monthly Review).
Sara Evans. “The Origins of the Women’s Liberation Movement,” Radical America,
vol. 9, no. 2 (March-April 1975).
Nancy Hartsock. “Fundamental Feminist Process and Perspective,” Quest,
vol. 2, no. 2 (Fall 1972).
Jean Westin. Making Do, How Women Survived the 50’s.
Jean Tepperman. Not Servants, Not Machines, Office Workers Speak Out (Beacon).
Roberta Hamilton. The Liberation of Women.
Michele Barrett. Woman’s Oppression.
Barbara Taylor. Eve and the New Jerusalem.
Rosalind Coward. Patriarchal Precedents.
8. Revisionist Feminism8
Jean Elshtain. Public Man, Private Woman.
Jean Elshtain. “Antigone’s Daughters.”
Carol Gilligan. In a Different Voice.
Sara Ruddick. “Maternal Thinking.”
Zillah Eisenstein. “Feminism and Sexual Equality.”
Naomi Wolff. Fire with Fire.
Katie Roiphe. The Morning After.
9. Anarcha Feminism
Emma Goldman. Living My Life, vol. I and II (Dover).
Emma Goldman, R. Dannon, eds. Anarchism and Other Essays (Dover, 1969).
Jo Freeman. “The Tyranny of Structurelessness.”
Carol Ehrlich. “Socialism and Anarchist Feminism.”
Alix Shulman, ed. Red Emma Speaks (Vintage).
Bakunin, S. Dolgoff, eds. On Anarchy (Praeger, 1972).
Marshall Shatz, ed. The Essential Works of Anarchism (Bantam, 1971).
10. Economic Feminism
Carl Degler. “Charlotte P. Gilman: The Economics of Victorian Morality,”
Ms. 1 (June 1973), pp. 22-28.
Charlotte P. Gilman. The Home: Its Work and Influence (University of
Illinois Press, 1972).
Charlotte P. Gilman. The Yellow Wallpaper (Feminist Press).
Charlotte P. Gilman. Women and Economics.
Gail Parker, ed. The Oven Birds (Anchor Books, 1972).
Mariarosa Dalla Costa. “Women and the Subversion of the Community,” and
Selma James, “A Woman’s Place,” in The Power of Women and the Supervision
of the Community, a pamphlet of Falling Wall Press, Ltd.
June Schchen. The New Woman in Greenwich Village, 1910-1920 (Quandrangle).
C.P. Gilman. The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography
(Harper & Row).
11. Socialist Tradition and Feminism
Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin. The Woman Question (International Publishers).
Margaret Benston. “The Political Economy of Women’s Liberation.”
Frederick Engels. “The Early Development of the Family,” Free Press pamphlet.
(It is the first two chapters of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the
State, International Press, 1942).
Roxanne Dunbar. “Female Liberation as the Basis for Social Revolution,”
Free Press pamphlet.
Evelyn Reed. “Feminism and the Female Eunuch,” Internationalist Socialist Review
32 (July-August 1971), pp. 10-36.9
Evelyn Reed. “The Myth of Women’s Inferiority,” Free Press pamphlet.
Evelyn Reed. “Women: Caste, Class, or Oppressed Sex,” International Socialist
Review 31 (September 1970), pp. 14-42.
V.I. Lenin. The Emancipation of Women (International Publishers).
Linda Jenness. Feminism and Socialism (Pathfinder).
12. Feminisms in Islam/Muslim Feminists

Internet Resouces:
TODAY at: http://www.grrrlzines.net
Other sites:
Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
The Women’s Economic Network based in Canada
Women Today in China
The Network of East-West Women, a communication network linking more than
800 women’s advocates in more than 30 countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the
former Soviet Union and Western Europe, and North America.
Women’s Online Media Project – Tokyo
Coordination Region de ONGS de America Latina
United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women Home Page
Linkages WWW Page on the Fourth World Conference on Women
Listing of Feminist Organizations Across the Globe, huge, very interesting scope
Digital Images of Women’s Artwork, seen as a global women’s exhibition format
Feminist Site for Peace and Social Justice for a Shared Jerusalem
Listings of Women’s Groups and Actions in Russia and Other Post-communist
Cyberfeminism, huge and great set of sites; from these listings one can go just about
anywhere to find cyberwomen stuff
Online Zine – great and interesting
Teen/Girls Guide to the Internet
Virtual Sisterhood
Amy Goodloe
Digital Sojourn
Feminist Majority Foundation
Octavia Project
Virtual Sisterhood
World’s Women On-Line Electronic Art Networking Project
Women’s Web
DeLoach, A. 1996. “Grrrls Exude Attitude,” Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine 3(3) 1 March
geekgirl issue 1 (see Web sites).
Haraway, D.J. 1989. Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science. New
York: Routledge.
Haraway, D.J. 1991a. Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. London: Free Association
Haraway, D.J. 1991b. “The Actors Are Cyborg, Nature is Coyote, and the Geography is Elsewhere:
Postscript to ‘Cyborgs at Large’.” in C. Penley and A. Ross (eds) Technoculture. Minneapolis: University
of Minnesota Press, pp. 21-6.
Heath, D. 1995. “Modest Interventions and the Technologies of Feminist Science Studies.” Paper presented
at CRICT workshop, in Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK, 23 June 1995.
Hine, C. 1994. Virtual Ethnography. CRICT Discussion Paper No. 43. May. Brunel University, Uxbridge,
Martin, E. 1996. “Citadels, Rhizomes, and String Figures,” in S. Aronowitz, B. Martinsons and M. Menser
(eds) Technoscience and Cyberculture. London, Routledge, pp. 97-109.
Miller, L. 1995. “Women and Children First: Gender and the Settling of the Electronic Frontier,” in J.
Brooks and I.A. Boal (eds) Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information. San
Francisco: City Lights, pp. 49-57.
Plant, S. 1995. “The Future Looms: Weaving Women and Cybernetics,” Body and Society 1(3-4), 45-64.
Rheingold, H. 1993. The Virtual Community. New York: Addison-Wesley.
Shade, L.R. 1996. “The Gendered Mystique,” Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine 3(3) 1 March
Spender, D. 1995. Nattering on the Net: Women, Power and Cyberspace. Melbourne: Spinifex.
Stone, A.R. 1991. Will the Real Body Please Stand Up?: Boundary Stories about Virtual Cultures,” in M.
Benedikt (ed.) Cyberspace: First Steps. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 81-118.
Ullman, E. 1995. “Out of Time: Reflections on the Programming Life,” in J. Brook and I. A. Boal (eds)
Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information. San Francisco: City Lights, pp. 131-43.12
Wakeford, N.S. 1996. “Sexualized Bodies in Cyberspace,” in W. Chernaik and M. Deegan (eds) Beyond
the Book: Theory, Text and the Politics of Cyberspace. London: University of London.
Wiley, M. 1995. “No Place for Women,” Digital Media 4(8) January.
Woolgar, S. 1991. “Configuring the User: The Case of Usability Trials,” in J. Law (ed.) A Sociology of
Monsters: Essays on Power, Technology and Domination. London: Routledge, pp. 57-99.

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