English 5454: Studies in Theory: Representing Female Bodies
T/Th 12:30-1:45 pm, Shanks 352
Bernice L. Hausman
For all Prof. Hausman's courses:
course will introduce students to three significant and overlapping areas
of scholarship: cultural studies, feminist theory, and social studies of medicine.
We will examine how anthropologists, historians, philosophers, and literary
scholars interpret female embodiment. Basically, we will consider how women's
experiences in their bodies are mediated by technological developments, changes
in medical theory and practice, transformations in the family structure and
social function, and the representational emphases of late twentieth-century
Western culture. This course focuses on theoretical paradigms; students are
encouraged to apply their theoretical studies of the body to literary texts,
or to work on other cultural media or social practices.
The course begins with some initial readings on cultural studies approaches to the
body generally, introducing the students to this burgeoning area of scholarship and its
significance in more traditional literary study today. We then look at a series of topics within the more general area of feminist cultural studies of the body, examining the racialization of sexuality, the impact of popular culture on perceptions of bodies, reproductive practices and technologies, the body projects of adolescent girls, and the production of femininity and muscularity in contemporary body building practices.
The course does not require that students have had a previous course in feminist or gender theory. Indeed, the course was developed with both the beginning and the advanced graduate student in mind.
Introduction to course materials, assignments, topics, class management.
August 26: Introducing Cultural Studies
1. Stuart Hall, “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies,” in Cultural Studies
2. Cary Nelson, Paula Treichler, and Laurence Grossberg, “Cultural Studies: An Introduction,” in Cultural Studies
August 31: Modernist/Postmodernist Cultural Studies
1. Horkheimer and Adorno, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” in Dialectic of Enlightenment (or excerpted in Norton Anthology of Literary Theory)
2. Roland Barthes, “From Work to Text,” in Art After Modernism
September 2: Post-Marxist Cultural Studies
1. Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” from Lenin and Philosophy
1. Michel Foucault, “Docile Bodies,” in Discipline and Punish
2. Diane MacDonell, “Introduction” and “The End of the 1960s,” in Theories of Discourse
Hottentot Venus Archive
1. Gilman, Sander L. "Black Bodies, White Bodies: Toward an Iconography of Female Sexuality in Late Nineteenth-Century Art, Medicine, and Literature." In "Race," Writing, and Difference, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985, 1986. 223-261 (notes).
2. Gould, Stephen Jay. "The Hottentot Venus." In The Flamingo's Smile. New York: Norton, 1985. 291-305.
1. Alexander, Elizabeth. "The Venus Hottentot." In The Venus Hottentot. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1990. 3-7.
2. Fausto-Sterling, Anne. "Gender, Race, and Nation: The Comparative Anatomy of "Hottentot" Women in Europe, 1815-1817." In Deviant Bodies, ed. Jennifer Terry and Jacqueline Urla. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995. 19-48.
September 16: Class cancelled, Rosh Hashanah.
hooks, bell. "Selling Hot Pussy: Representations of Black Female Sexuality in the Cultural Marketplace." In Writing on the Body: Female Embodiment and Feminist Theory, eds. Katie Conboy, Nadia Medina, and Sarah Stanbury. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997. 113-28.
1. Atwood, Margaret. "The Female Body." In The Female Body: Figures, Styles, Speculations, ed. Laurence Goldstein. Ann Arbor: U Michigan P, 1991. 1-4.
2. Rand, Erica. Barbie's Queer Accessories. Chapters 1 and 3, plus conclusion. (Skim Chapter 2.) Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.
in class--VIEW: Barbie Nation
September 28: Barbie 2
duCille, Ann. "Toy Theory: Black Barbie and the Deep Play of Difference." In Skin Trade. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. 8-59.
September 30: Barbie 3
Urla, Jacqueline and Alan Swedlund. "The Anthropometry of Barbie: Unsettling Ideals of the Feminine Body in Popular Culture." In Deviant Bodies, ed. Jennifer Terry and Jacqueline Urla. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1995. 277-313.
The Body as a Project
October 5 and 7:
Brumberg, Joan. The Body Project. New York: Random House/Vintage, 1997.
October 12 :
1. Bartky, Sandra Lee. “Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power.” In Writing on the Body, 129-154.
2. Bordo, Susan. “The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity.” In Writing on the Body, 90-110.
Midterm paper due. No reading assigned.
Reproduction and Femininity: Discourse, Practice, Technology
October 19 and 21:
Barbara Duden, Disembodying Women: Perspectives on Pregnancy and the Unborn.
Petchesky, Rosalind. "Fetal Images: The Power of Visual Culture in the Politics of Reproduction." Feminist Studies 13, no. 2 (Summer 1987): 263-92.
in class view The Silent Scream.
CHOICES AND CHALLENGES FORUM ON CLONING--PLEASE ATTEND.
November 2 and 4:
Helena Michie and Naomi Cahn, Confinements: Fertility and Infertility in American Culture.
November 9 and 11:
Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body
November 16 and 18:
Terri Kapsalis, Public Privates.
November 30 and December 2:
Morgan, Lynn. "Imagining the Unborn in the Ecuadoran Andes." Feminist
Studies 23, no. 2 (Summer 1997): 323-50.
2. Erickson, Susan L. "Post-Diagnostic Abortion in Germany: Reproduction gone awry, again?" Social Science and Medicine.
The Muscular Female Body
in class view Pumping Iron 2: The Women
1. Brady, “Pumping Iron with Resistance: Carla Dunlop’s Victorious Body,” in Recovering the Black Female Body
2. Annette Kuhn, “The Body and Cinema: Some Problems for Feminism,” in Writing on the Body
There are five assignments in this class, all of which will be discussed at length on the first day of class:
1. Body diary--2+ pages of written response to the readings, due each Friday at 12 noon, in Dr. Hausman's mailbox. 1 point each week for handing the assignment in for a total of 15 points.
2. Midterm paper, critically responding to a reading or group of readings. 10 pages. 20 points.
3. Final seminar paper, on a topic of your choice, investigating a text, an institution, or a cultural practice. Can be a research paper or an interpretive paper. 15-20 pages. 30 points.
4. Final presentation. 20-minute oral presentation on the topic of your seminar paper. 15 points.
5. Two brief oral presentation introducing the readings to the class. In the first week of class, students will sign up to present on specific readings. Presentations should last 10-15 minutes, and should provide a thoughtful introduction to the reading, by offering a short synopsis of the argument and a consideration of the theoretical contribution of the piece. Students should develop, that is, a reading of the text that shows others what is of interest in the text and how it relates to other texts in the syllabus. 10 points each for a total of 20 points.
A note about participation, reading, attendance, and self-evaluation:
I do not measure quality of contribution solely by how much students talk. The reality of university education is that you may not be graded on what often turns out to be the best part of the class--the discussion. English students, however, need to be able to translate their learning in this realm to tangible, written documents and cogent oral remarks. Thus, this class emphasizes written papers and oral presentations as evidence of learning.
There is, as you will soon surmise, a lot of reading to do each week. While this may seem daunting to you, I encourage you to consider this course an immersion in feminist cultural studies of the body. As such, you will want to devote energy to the reading and to thoughtful consideration of it. Happily, I can assure you that all of the readings are fascinating, and that they will compel you to spend time with them.
Each student can take one week's worth of cuts (that is, 2 cuts if the class meets twice per week) during the semester without penalty. More absences will result in points taken off your final grade. Please speak with the professor if you have an ongoing issue that will interfere with your attendance in this class.
Before you can receive a grade in the class, you must hand in a self-evaluation, which is described on another web page on my site. The self-evaluation is not graded, but without it you will not receive a grade for the class.