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Feminist Inquiry

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Location: MIT

Tuesdays 5:30PM - 8:30PM

February 2, 2016 - May 10, 2016

This course investigates theories and practices of feminist inquiry across a range of disciplines by studying a series of pairings of humanist and social science works by feminist scholars. It is not intended as a survey course on feminist theory, although students will recognize many pivotal thinkers included in our reading list. As an interdisciplinary course, Feminist Inquiry also cannot offer a strict "how-to" approach to research, but instead will engage students in questioning disciplinary assumptions and methodologies, seeking new ways to frame scholarly questions, and reconsidering the relationship between subjects and objects of study. Feminist Inquiry is simultaneously challenging and creative, as disciplines are revised by the analysis of gender, race, class, and sexual orientation, both embedded within and shaping particular historical, national, and cultural contexts. Students will also have the opportunity to engage in two "hands on" research inquiries of their own.

This course will proceed, after a brief framing of the issues, by closely analyzing pairings of humanist and social science "case studies" of feminist scholars and their work. Several of these feminist scholars will visit the class or speak with us remotely during the semester. Our aim is to allow seminar participants to think deeply about specific theoretical and methodological choices as these are evidenced in practice. We will also reflect on the ways that feminist inquiry/ies transform knowledge and inform varied forms of activism.



Linda M. Blum is Associate Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University. She is the author of Between Feminism and Labor: The Significance of the Comparable Worth Movement, At the Breast: Ideologies of Breastfeeding and Motherhood in the Contemporary United States, and Raising Generation Rx: Mothering Kids with Invisible Disabilities in an Age of Inequality.

Karl Surkan has taught in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at
MIT since 2005. Dr. Surkan does interdisciplinary work in queer, 
feminist, and new media studies with a humanities focus, and is currently
writing a series of articles on technology and the (trans)gendered body.