Course code:



I - Introductory

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:


This course introduces students to some of the central texts and genealogies of feminist thought, with a focus on transnational feminist theory.

We will address periods of feminist thought that have been significant in shaping the concerns of transnational feminisms, including 1970s US feminism, French feminism, postcolonial theory, and Marxist thought. Over the course of the term, we will consider how differences across national borders have informed discussions about transnational feminist solidarity.

We will examine how feminist theory can help us think about the following: kinship; reproduction; the law and justice; human rights discourse, political economy, racialized and other forms of difference; existence and the subject; the relation between individual and group; the relation between terms such as “gender” and “sex;” and the varied currencies the terms “queer” and “feminist” have carried in different national and transnational contexts. The course will explicitly address debates in feminist theory about the following topics: the “sex/gender distinction;” histories and politics of the term “rape;” political representation, the juridical and the nation-state in the contexts of religious and cultural differences around practices such as veiling, circumcision/genital mutilation; and questions of labor, prostitution and sex work.

The course draws on work in French Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Psychoanalysis, Continental Philosophy, Cultural Anthropology, and Diaspora Studies. Readings will include texts by Gayle Rubin, Luce Irigaray, Elizabeth Grosz, Simone de Beauvoir, Ranjana Khanna, Monique Wittig, Judith Butler, Gayatri Spivak, Sigmund Freud, Friedreich Engels, Shulamith Firestone, Alexandra Kollontai, Emma Goldman, bell hooks, Karen Engle, Catherine McKinnon, Drucilla Cornell, Ratna Kapur, Sarah Franklin, Daniel Boyarin, Henry Louis Gates, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Shoshana Felman, Saba Mahmood, Diana Fuss, and Chandra Mohanty.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.