Family Law, Feminist Theories and the Relationship between them. This course explores how family law has changed due to academic and legal feminist activities. We will ask whether these changes are positive? What are their negative effects? We will further ask what other changes are desirable from a feminist perspective? where is family law heading in the future? In discussing family law we will address couples relationships (marriage, divorce, common law marriage, same-sex couples), parents-children relationships (parenthood, children's rights, new families, inheritance), grandparents-grandchildren relationships and siblings relationships.
Pornography. The course deals with the history of pornography as a modern Western genre, and with the theoretical and political debates around pornography. We trace the emergence of pornography as a category of representations as part of the construction of sexuality in the 18th and 19th centuries, and examine its simultaneous construction as an aesthetic and juridical category; we focus on the history of moving-image pornography; and we devote special attention to the feminist debate on pornography, raising the issues of pornography’s harm to women as individuals and as a social group on the one hand, and its potential for recuperation by women as a resource for alternative constructions of sexuality and gender on the other. Classes include screenings of selected pornographic representations.
Transgender: Theories and Narratives of Gender Transition. The course examines both literary and theoretical discourses of transgender, focusing primarily on the less represented experience of FTM. We read novelistic representations - both fictional and autobiographical - of transgendered experience asking what narratives of self and what understandings of transgender they offer. Concomitantly, we explore different conceptualizations of gender variance from 19th century inversion theory to queer and postmodern formulations. The discussion of these texts will revolve around questions of minoritizing versus universalizing, and essentialist versus performative understandings of transgender, inquire into the role of narrative in identity construction, and address the relations between identity and technology, “authentic self” and cultural possibilities.
Gay and Lesbian Fiction. Aside from the centrality of homoerotic desire to the Western literary canon as a whole, modern gay identity gave rise to works of fiction that center on lesbian and gay male experience in a homophobic society. In this course, we read novels and short stories by Wilde, Proust, E.M. Forester, Jean Genet, James Baldwin, Andrew Holleran, Gertrude Stein, Radclyffe Hall, Virginia Woolf, Rita Mae Brown, Leslie Feinberg, and Joan Nestle, alongside queer scholarly work that contextualizes or analyzes these works of fiction. We examine these literary texts as attempts to lend expression to a realm of experience silenced by dominant culture, and as taking part in the construction of modern gay identity, which like all identities is founded on narratives. We ask about the type of gay or lesbian identity they construct (e.g. in terms of gender characterization, social belonging or non-belonging) and the generic and narrative conventions they utilize.
Experiencing the Body: Gender, Identity and Corporeality. While many feminist scholars have come to see gender as socially constructed, the physical body has emerged as a crucial and contested site of feminist analysis. How can we make sense of the body as both an object of representation and a subject of experience? What are the differences between thinking the body as “gendered” and thinking the body as “biological sex”? How do we experience our bodies? Is corporeal experience unmediated? What is the relationship between corporeality and identity? In this course we read and draw on a wide range of feminist thinkers in order to address these and other questions.
Identity and Passing. “Passing,” the public claiming of an identity that one is not legally or socially entitled to, is a term employed in racial, gendered, and sexual contexts: blacks can pass a white, women as men, and gays as straight. Narratives of passing hold a mirror to the dominant culture, expose the arbitrariness of its hierarchies, and destabilize its categories. The cultural texts we examine include literary texts, films, television shows, historical studies, and juridical texts that deal with gendered, racial, and sexual passing. These texts provide the basis for a discussion of the performativity of identity, and for a comparison of different types of oppression in terms of embodiment, visibility, and stigma, and the ways in which these aspects come into play in cultural representations. We also raise questions concerning processes of identity acquisition and identity attribution, the naturalization of social identities, and mobility between social categories.
Gender and Visual Culture Studies. Visual Culture Studies is a new discipline that developed in the last three decades. It strives to understand the visual image in and of itself and the visual image in cultural-political context. Visual Culture Studies and Gender Studies are based on critical ways of thinking. The course will combine between these two critical perceptions. Central scholars and issues of both disciplines will be presented in the course, bringing into the class visual events and visual images from films, performance, art and more, for discussion and interpretation. In order to develop critical reading of texts and visuals, we will learn basic terms. Among the subjects that will be taught are the definitions of fields and fields of research, the interdisciplinary character of the two disciplines, the social network, the (gendered) spectatorship, space, ethnics and post- colonialism
Equality: Theory, Law and Practice. In this course we will study equality from feminist perspectives. We will discuss several theories of equality from Aristotle to contemporary feminist theories such as formal equality and substantive equality. We will also discuss equality in several contexts such as equality in the military, buses, labor market and affirmative action, in light of antidiscrimination law and the above theories. We will raise questions such as whether the feminist movement should focus on equality for women or alternatively on dignity? And if so how should the feminist movement promote equality for women? Are there relevant differences between the sexes and should the feminist movement focus on these differences in light of queer theories?
The Human Condition, the Feminine Condition: Reflections on Hannah Arendt's Works. In this course we will learn about Hannah Arendt, the woman, whose femininity did not stand on her way, the Jew whose Jewishness did not hinder her from strictly criticizing her origins and the thinker who left her mark on the entire western 20th century thought. We will explore her works from gender perspectives and focus on issues of human existence such as evil, terror and violence. Political conflicts and the conditions of existence in tyrannical regimes and in democracy will be studied in light of gender literature and concept aiming at understanding Arentd's logic views of history within gender context
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can The Subaltern Speak": Difficult, revolutionary, enriches. The article of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak is one of the most difficult, enriching and revolutionary that were written in the last few decades. What makes it particularly difficult is its rich and diverse paradigmatic ground from which it emerges, the complex language and the original mode of thinking that the author employs. This is an article that is being studied in many fields, constantly cited and conferences center around it. This seminar examines the scientific and the literature ground of the article, the revolutionary forces embedded in it as well as its inspiration force for so many academic disciplines. We shall learn the hermeneutics of the article and the author.
Manhood - Theoretical Perspectives. In this course we will focus on theories concerning Manhood and Fatherhood, as those of Foucault, Irigaray, Lacan, Freud, Karen Horney, MacKinnon, George Mosse, Boyarin, and Bourdieu.