PS 933 Concepts and Categories: Feminist Political Thought and Practice

Taking Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s definition of queer—”the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone’s gender, of anyone’s sexuality aren’t made (or can’t be made) to signify monolithically”—this course takes up some critical concepts and categories of feminist political thought and practice.   Maintaining “a focus on a wide field of normalization as the site of social violence,” we will be engaging in thoughtful critiques and conversations as to the power of these concepts and concepts, attending to the way they are mobilized and deployed within the ‘canon’ of feminist theorizing and practice. It is impossible to claim that this course even begins to adequately address the entirety of feminist theories, theorizing, and theorists—a rather wonderful statement about the vibrancy of the traditions, and a rather wonderful challenge that will go here unmet.  Instead, the readings and organization are intended to illustrate a myriad of distinct and different approaches to the concept of ‘gender’ as a category of thought and practice, and way that it, in Sedgwick’s words, cannot be made to signify monolithically.