WOST 691B Issues in Feminist Research Seminar Spring 2002

Professor Ann Ferguson, Philosophy and WOST Bartlett 370 Phone 5-5802, Tues. 2:30-4 or by appointment Email: ferguson@philos.umass.edu

Required Books (available at Food for Thought Books, Amherst)

Sandra Harding, ed. Feminism and Methodology (1987, Indiana University) [abbreviated: Harding text]

Sharlene Hesse-Biber, Christina Gilmartin and Robin Lydenberg, eds. Feminist Approaches to Theory and Methodology (1999, Oxford University Press) [Hesse-Biber text]

Gesa E. Kirsch Ethical Dilemmas in Feminist Research (1999, State University of New York Press). [Kirsch text]

Shulamit Reinharz Feminist Methods in Social Research (1992, Oxford University Press).[Reinharz text]

Course packet and readings (handed out).

Optional texts:
Ruth Behar Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza's Story (1993, Beacon) [Behar text]

Sandra Burt and Lorraine Code, eds. Changing Methods: Feminists Transforming Practice (1995, Peterborough, Canada, Broadview Press). [Burt and Code text]

Evelyn Fox Keller and Helen Longino, eds. Feminism and Science (1996, Oxford University Press).[Keller and Longino text]

Diane L. Wolf, ed. Feminist Dilemmas in Fieldwork (1996, Westview Press) [Wolf text]

Description of Course:

This course is a 3 credit seminar for graduate students, primarily those who are students in the Women's Studies Graduate Certificate Program in Advanced Feminist Studies, and those interested in applying for the program. (Applications to the Program for next year, which will include retroactive credit for courses taken this year, are due March 8 in the WOST office: Call Nancy Patteson at 5-5332 for further information). This course is connected to a Women's Studies Public Lecture series by faculty and students. Lectures will usually be on Weds. at 4 p.m.

Goal of Course:

The goal is to provide an introductory framework for thinking about methods of research from a feminist perspective. The hope is that we can apply theory to the research practice presented, and that our theory of feminist methods can also be developed in the process. Also, we aim to create a transdisciplinary community of feminist faculty and graduate students on campus who can network with each other to provide help on our joint and individual research and its ethical and political implications.

Course Requirements:

  1. Class Participation: Reading, Class Reports and Discussion: There will be a regular syllabus of reading that students should be prepared to discuss. Seminar students will be expected to sign up to give two class reports [CR on the syllabus]. These should be no more than a 10 minute summary of a reading. Reporter should raise some questions for class discussion after the summary. Please sign up for a Class Report by the second seminar.

    Attendance is an important part of class participation, particularly attendance of the Lecture Series. For full credit in class participation, students may not miss more than 2 seminars.

  2. Short paper: Students will be expected to write a short paper on some problem or issue for feminist research ethics or procedure that is raised by the presentation of one of the lecturers. Your paper should present your own critical position on this issue, critiquing other views and defending your own. These papers will be due March 27 with copies for all seminar participants.

  3. Presentation and Term Paper: Students will be expected to give a research paper presentation lecture series at the end of this class, or a proposal for a research project. It is expected that this research will be related to an actual or possible project in their major discipline. Some part of this presentation should refer to one or more relevant issues in feminist research that we discuss during the semester and way(s) of handling such issues in this particular research. This research paper will be presented in one of the last three or four seminars--a 3-5 page abstract and outline due by May 3 with copies for the class--and due as a Term Paper of 10+ pages at the end of the semester. Please sign up for your presentation date by the third seminar.

  4. Peer Feedback: For the last seminar, students will be expected to bring some critical suggestions for development and revision of all the student papers which were presented in the seminar, to aid in students' revisions of their term paper submission.

Syllabus of Seminars, Lectures and Readings

NOTE: Most reading is on regular 3 day Reserve in the main Library (3rd floor), including the required and optional texts for the course

Seminar I, (1/30) Introduction: Feminist Epistemologies, Critical Paradigms and Ethics

Handouts on Epistemological Research Paradigms
Distinction between Epistemologies, Methodologies and Methods (Harding)
Discussion of Some Ethical Problems of Feminist Research
Seminar II (2/6) Feminist Theoretical Paradigms
  1. Background reading
    R. Tong Feminist Thought, Introduction, Reader I
    M. Calas and L. Smircich "From the Woman's Point of View?" (handout)
    G. Kirsch Ethical Dilemmas in Feminist Research, text, ch. 1

  2. Liberal Feminism
    R. Tong Feminist Thought, ch. 1, Reader I
    W. Williams "The Equality Crisis", D. Tietjens Meyers, ed. Feminist Social Thought, Reader I

  3. Radical Feminism
    C. MacKinnon "Feminism, Marxism, Method and the State: An Agency for Theory", D. Tietjens Meyers, ed. Ibid, Reader
    S. Bordo "Feminist Skepticism and the 'Maleness' of Philosophy", Hesse-Biber text

  4. Marxist Feminism
    M. Benston "The Political Economy of Women's Liberation", in R. Hennessy and C. Ingraham, eds. Materialist Feminism, Reader I
    S. Webb "Counter Arguments: an Ethnographic Look at 'Women and Class', L. Stanley, ed. Feminist Praxis, Reader I

  5. Socialist Feminism
    D. Kandiyoti "Islam and Patriarchy: A Comparative Perspective", Hesse-Biber text
    H. Hartmann "The Family as Locus of Gender, Class and Political Struggle: The Case of Housework", A. Herrmann and A. Stewart, eds. Theorizing Feminisms, Reader I
    [Optional: Z. Eisenstein "The Sexual Politics of the New Right", N. Tuana and R. Tong, eds. Feminism and Philosophy]

Seminar III. (2/13) Feminist Theoretical Paradigms, Part II

  1. Poststructuralist Feminism
    C. Weedon Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory, ch 2-4, Reader I
    J. Butler "Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology", Reader I [CR]
    K. Canning "Feminist History After the Linguistic Turn" in Hesse-Biber text.
    [Optional: M. Devaux "Feminism and Empowerment: A Critical Reading of Foucault" in Hesse-Biber text; J. Butler "Imitation and Gender Subordination" from H. Abelove et al, eds. The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader; J. Butler Bodies that Matter, ch. 1]

  2. Postcolonial Feminism
    J. Alexander and C. Mohanty, eds. Feminist Genealogies, Introduction, Reader I
    A. Ong "Colonialism and Modernity: Feminist Re-Presentations of Women in Non-Western Societies", A. Herrmann and A. Stewart, eds. op. cit., Reader I
    [Optional: M. Marchand "Latin American Women Speak on Development: Are We Listening Yet?" in Marchand and Parpart, eds. Ibid.]

  3. Black/Integrative/Intersectional Feminisms
    P. Hill Collins "Learning from the Outsider Within" in Hesse-Biber text.
    K. Crenshaw "Intersectionality and Identity Politics: Learning from Violence against Women of Color", M. Lyndon Shanley and U. Narayan, eds. Reconstructing Political Theory: Feminist Perspectives, Reader I [CR]
    b. hooks "Postmodern Blackness", from hooks Yearning, Reader I
Seminar IV (2/20) Feminist Epistemologies and Methodologies
Q. Is there a specific feminist epistemology (standpoint, way of knowing)? Specific feminist research methodologies?

S. Harding text, Introduction and Conclusion
N. Hartsock "The Feminist Standpoint: Developing the Ground for a Specifically Feminist Historical Materialism", Ibid
G. Burrell and G. Morgan Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, intro, chs. 1,2, Reader I
W.L. Neuman (1991), Social Research Methods, ch. 3, Reader I
J. Kelly-Gadol "The Social Relation of the Sexes: Methodological Implications of Women's History" in Harding text
S. Gorelick "Contradictions of Feminist Methodology", E. Ngan-Ling Chow et al, eds. Race, Class and Gender, Reader I
Z. Tang Halpin "Scientific Objectivity and the Concept of 'the Other'", Women's Studies International Forum, v. 12, #3, 285-294, 1999, Reader I
A. Peshkin "In Search of Subjectivity--One's Own", Educational Researcher: 17 (7), 17-22 , Reader I [CR on both Halpin and Peshkin]
[Optional: L. Stanley and S. Wise "Method, Methodology and Epistemology in Feminist Research Processes", in L. Stanley, ed. Feminist Praxis; M. Belenky et al, eds. Women's Ways of Knowing, skim; D. Haraway "Situated Knowledges", in E. Fox Keller and H. Longino text; D. Fuss Essentially Speaking, skim]

Seminar V (2/27) Epistemology from Feminist and Race/Ethnic Standpoints
Q. Do social differences between women (race, ethnicity, class, sexuality) create different epistemological standpoints and ways of knowing?

P. Hill Collins Black Feminist Thought, ch. 2, 10, 11, Reader I [CR]
S. Harding "'. . and Race'? Toward the Science Question in Global Feminism", ch. 8 of S. Harding Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Thinking from Women's Lives, Reader I
A. Hurtado "Sitios y Lenguas: Chicanas Theorize Feminisms", Hypatia, v. 13 #2 (Spring 1998), Reader I
B. Thornton Dill "The Dialectics of Black Womanhood", Harding text. Others???
[Optional: P. Hill Collins, skim rest of book.]

Seminar VI (3/6) Social Construction of Difference and Integrative Feminisms
b. hooks "Eating the Other", Hesse-Biber text
S. Lanser "Feminist Criticism, 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and the Politics of Color in America" Ibid
H. Carby "White Woman Listen! Black Feminism and the Boundaries of Sisterhood" from R. Hennessy and C. Ingraham, eds. op.cit., Reader I
R. Brewer "Theorizing Race, Class and Gender", in S. James and AM Busia, eds. Theorizing Black Feminism , Reader I[CR].
V. Smith "Intersectionality and Experiments in Black Documentary", in Not Just Race, Not Just Gender: Black Feminist Readings, Reader I
Seminar VII (3/13): The Methods and Ethics of Ethnography and Cross-cultural Research
  1. Ethnography and Cross-Cultural Research
    S. Reinharz text ch.3, 6, Reader II
    R. Behar text ch.15, 17, Reader II
    U. Narayan "Essence of Culture and a Sense of History: A Feminist Critique of Cultural Essentialism", Hypatia, v.13 #2 (Summer 1998), Reader II
    [Optional: D. Wolf Feminist Dilemmas in Fieldwork, ch. 1; C. Stack "Writing Ethnography: Feminist Critical Practice", in Ibid.]

  2. Ethical Questions
    D. Patai "US Academics and Third World Women: Is Ethical Research Possible?"
    S. Berger Gluck and D. Patai, eds. Women's Words: The Feminist Practice of Oral History, Reader II [CR]
    J. Rollins Between Women: Domestics and Their Employers, introduction, Reader II [CR}
    E. Flinders "In Search of Ethical Guidance: Constructing a Basis for Dialogue". Qualitative Studies in Education, 1992, v. 5#2: 101-115, Reader II
    [Optional: R. Behar text, skim rest of book.]
MARCH 27 (please bring copies for everyone in seminar)

Seminar VIII (3/27) Methods: Oral History, Consciousness Raising and Action Research

  1. Oral History/Interviewing
    A. Oakley "Interviewing Women: A Contradiction in Terms" from H. Roberts, ed., Doing Feminist Research, Reader II
    J. Scott "The Evidence of Experience" Hesse-Biber text
    S. Stone-Mediatore "Chandra Mohanty and the Revaluing of 'Experience'", Hypatia,v.13, #2 (Spring 1998), Reader II [CR on both Scott and Stone-Mediatore]

  2. Consciousness-Raising and Participatory Research
    D. Henderson "Consciousness Raising in Participatory Research: Method and Methodology for Emancipatory Nursing Inquiry", Adv. Nurs. Sci., 1995: 17 (3), 58-69, Reader II
    A Karach and D. Roach "Collaborative Writing, Consciousness Raising, Practical Feminist Ethics" Women's Studies Int. Forum, 1992: 15 (2), 303-308, Reader II
    J. Coates, M. Doss and J. Jensen "Isn't Just Being Here Political Enough? Feminist Action-Oriented Research as a Challenge to Graduate Women's Studies" Feminist Studies, v. 24 #2 (Summer 1998), Reader II [CR]
    M. Swantz and A. Vainio-Mattila "Participatory Inquiry as an Instrument of Grass-roots Development" in P. Reason, ed. Human Inquiry in Action, Reader II G. Kirsch text, ch. 2. (ethical questions on participatory research [CR]

    [Optional: S. Reinharz, Feminist Methods in Social Research, ch. 10; P. Reason, ed. Human Inquiry in Action, esp. articles 1 and 2 by P. Reason and J. Heron ; R. Spalter-Ross and H. Hartmann "Small Happinesses: The Feminist Struggle to Integrate Social Research with Social Activism", Hesse-Biber text; E. Clift and V. Freimuth "Changing Women's Lives: A Communication Perspective on Participatory Qualitative Research Techniques for Gender Equity", Journal of Gender Studies, v. 6 #2, 1997: 289-296; S. Wise "Becoming a Feminist Social Worker", in L. Stanley, ed. Feminist Praxis; P. Maguire "Uneven Ground: Feminisms and Action Research" from P. Reason and H. Bradbury, eds. Handbook of Action Research]

Seminar IX (4/3/02) Discussion of Student Papers on Feminist Research Issue

Directions: Read other students' papers, type out comments or write on paper, and be prepared to discuss your reactions and your own views.
Seminar X (4/10/02) Women's Studies and Interdisciplinarity, and Feminist Disciplinary Critiques
Feminist Interdisciplinary Research
Q. Why interdisciplinary research? What is the reason for feminist interdisciplinarity? Are there some specific contents, concepts and methods specific to feminist interdisciplinarity?

Reading (please read both A and B for this seminar):

  1. Women's Studies and Interdisciplinarity
    J. Allen and S. Kitch "Disciplined by Disciplines? The Need for an Interdisciplinary Research Mission in Women's Studies", Feminist Studies ,v 24 #2, Reader II [CR]
    S. Hesse-Biber text, Introduction

  2. Feminist Cultural Studies
    T. Lovell, ed. Feminist Cultural Studies, Introduction, Reader II
    S. Franklin et al "Feminism and Cultural Studies", from Ibid, Reader II [CR}
Seminar XI (4/24) Feminist Pedagogy
J. Gore "What We Can Do for You! What Can We Do for "You"? Struggling over Empowerment in Critical and Feminist Pedagogy" from C. Luke and J. Gore, eds. Feminisms and Critical Pedagogy , Reader II [CR]
P. Lather "Critical Pedagogies: A Feminist Reading", Ibid, Reader II
A. Daniel Tatum "Talking about Race, Learning about Racism" Harvard Educational Review, v. 62, #1, Reader II [CR]
b. hooks Teaching to Transgress , chs. 3, 8, 12, Reader II
B. Bee "Critical Literacy and the Politics of Gender", in P. McLaren and C. Lankshear, eds. Critical Literacy, Reader II
J. Brady and A. Hernandez "Feminist Literacies: Toward Emancipatory Possibilities of Solidarity", Ibid, Reader II
No Seminar Weds. April 17: Monday class schedule

Seminar XII (5/1) Global Feminism? Power-Knowledges, Political Controversies and Ethical Concerns

A. Jaggar "Globalizing Feminist Ethics", Hypatia, v13,#3 (Spring 1998), Reader II
C. Mohanty "Women Workers and Capitalist Scripts: Ideologies of Domination, Common Interests and the Politics of Solidarity", Hesse-Biber text.
A. Ferguson "Resisting the Veil of Privilege: Building Bridge Identities as an Ethico-Politics of Global Feminism", Hypatia, v. 13 #4 (Summer 1998), Reader II
I. Grewal " On the New Global Feminism and the Family of Nations: Dilemmas of Transnational Feminist Practice" in E. Shoat, ed. Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminism in a Transnational Age, Reader II[CR]
H. Ford-Smith "Ring Ding in a Tight Corner: Sistren, Collective Democracy, and Organization of Cultural Production", from M.J. Alexander and C. Mohanty, eds. op. cit., Reader II
A. Miles Integrative Feminisms, ch. 6, Reader II [CR]

[Optional: J.Alexander and C. Mohanty, eds. Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures, skim; A. Miles Integrative Feminisms, skim; S. Reinharz text, ch. 8; I. Grewal and C. Kaplan "Warrior Marks: Global Womanism's Neo-Colonial Discourse in a Multicultural Context", Camera Obscura. #39 (Sept. 1996); A. Walker and P. Parmar Warrior Marks, skim].

STUDENT RESEARCH PAPER ABSTRACTS/OUTLINES DUE FRI. May 3 with copies for all seminar members in Bartlett 208, box for seminar

Seminar XIII (5/8) Presentations and discussion by seminar participants of their research paper, highlighting an issue of feminist research

Seminar XIV (5/15) Finish Presentations and Conclusion

Last Class Homework: A short set of comments or feedback to give to all the presenters on their presentations, to aid them in writing their final term papers.