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Feminist Inquiry

Location: MIT

Mondays 6:00PM - 9:00PM

February 1, 2017 - May 10, 2017

How are feminists to construct methods of inquiry that give voice to the multiply located perspectives of marginalized subjects and communities without replicating the masculinist, racist, classist conceptual structures and methodologies that constitute traditional Western epistemologies?  Feminist Inquiry is a seminar designed to investigate the methodological approaches and conceptual frameworks that inform feminist theorizing, critical analysis, and research across a range of disciplines.  We will examine the types of questions asked, the assumptions that serve as foundation, the frameworks that structure the method of inquiry, and the values and power relations inherent in particular approaches.  The seminar considers questions of feminist epistemology such as epistemologies of ignorance, knowing others, intersectionality, and the construction of the knowing subject.  Most of the course will be organized around a series of topics that include, but are not limited to: pathologized bodies, the construction of biological sex, sexuality and race, and gender as performance/spectacle.  Each week, we’ll focus on media from different disciplines (for example, a medical case study, a memoir, a performance) and consider how each genre raises different questions and allows for alternative modes of feminist inquiry.



Jo Trigilio is the Director of the Graduate Program in Gender and Cultural Studies at Simmons College, where they hold a joint appointment in the departments of Women’s and Gender Studies, and Philosophy. Trigilio has a special interest in the intersection of theory and practice, specializing in oppression/liberation theories, including feminist and gender theories, race theories, sexuality theory, and queer theory. Trigilio is currently leading The Boston Dyke March History and Archive Project.


Caroline Bicks received her PhD in English Literature from Stanford University (1997). She is associate professor of English at Boston College and is on the faculty of the Bread Loaf School of English. She specializes in early modern drama, gender theory, the history of science, and girlhood studies. She is the author of Midwiving Subjects in Shakespeare's England (Ashgate, 2003); co-editor of The History of Women's Writing, 1500-1610 (Palgrave, 2010); and co-author of Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas (Penguin, 2015).