Feminist Futures: Place Theory and Method

Note: This is the course description and readings for a literature course on “Women and Literature” offered in the Fall of 2021. Syllabus making is labor. In case, you use any part of this syllabus, I would appreciate, if you acknowledge it.

Course Description:

In 2019, the Chilean Feminist Collective Las Tesis wrote the song “Un Violador en Tu Camino” (A Rapist in Your Path) to protest against the increasing violence, rape and disappearance of women in Chile. The foundational philosophy of the song is the complicity of the State in gender violence and a call for dismantling the structures of the State to challenge patriarchy. The song, the movement and the choreography with women mostly closing their eyes with a piece of black cloth caught the attention of feminist activists and was performed globally. To close eyes indicates oppression, not being allowed to see but simultaneously it opens up the space to imagine futures that the State does not make space for.

Our course on Feminist Futures take up a few key questions: Why do we need to envision a future that recognizes the histories of colonialism and slave trade and yet advocates for another world? Who imagines these futures? Who is a participant in these futures? What kind of scholarly and advocacy work within the university spaces and beyond are enabled by feminist futures? In this course, we dream about feminist futures, through three lenses: place, theory and method. We will find our way through the course with a focus on the Indian Ocean World to imagine forms of placemaking; then orient ourselves with contemporary thought in Black Feminisms, Indigenous Feminisms and Global South Feminisms; and finally we will end our journey with an emphasis on archives as a methodological practice to create and reflect.

As part of a feminist pedagogy, we will create an inclusive space in the classroom, that allows you to experiment, collaborate, create joy, interrogate and collectively dream of a world that you want to be a part of.

The possibilities are for you to imagine…

Course goals:

Ø To reflect on how literature and the arts can be transformative in imagining feminist futures.

Ø To consider the cultural and historical ramifications of feminist futures for our past, present and future.

Ø To orient you with archival methods and practices in feminist digital scholarship

Fall Schedule, 2021

Unit I: Indian Ocean Feminisms

Week 1 Whom does the future belong?

31st August, Tue: Welcome Day

2nd September, Thursday: Pumzi and continuing syllabus discussion

Week 2 Speculative Futures and Otherwise Possibilities

7th September, Tue : Short Stories “Floating Rugs” and “Mother Whale”

9th September, Thursday: Poetry

Week 3 Place(d) Futures

14th September, Tue : Latitudes of Longing

16th September, Thursday: Latitudes of Longing

Week 4 Place(d) Futures

21st September, Tue: Latitudes of Longing

23rd September, Thursday : Latitudes of Longing

Week 5 Pausing for the Future

28th September Tue: Peer-Review Day

30th September, Thursday : General Review and Reflection Day/In-class work day

Close Reading Assignment Due, 30th September, 11:59 pm EST, via Canvas

Unit II: Dialogues in Theory

Week 6 Past Futures, Present Futures

5th October, Tue : Venus in Two Acts” by Saidiya Hartman

7th October, Thursday: Sharpe’s “In the Wake”

Week 7 Indigenous Feminisms and Ecological futures

12th October, Tue: “Fish, Kin, and Hope: tending to water violations in amiskwaciwâskahikan and Treaty Six Territory” and “Indigenizing the Anthropocene” by Zoe Todd.

14th October, Thursday: “Suspending Damage: A Letter to Communities” by Eve Tuck

Week 8 : Global South Feminisms and Institutional Futures

19th October, Tue : Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s Feminism without Borders (excerpts)

21st October, Thursday : “Complaint as Feminist pedagogy” by Sarah Ahmed,

Week 9 : Pausing For the future II

26th October, Tue: Afghan Voices Audio Project

28th October, Thursday: Peer Review and Reflection Activity

Dialogues Assignment Due, 31st October, 11:59 pm EST via Canvas

Unit III: Archives

Week 10 Archival Futures

2nd November, Tuesday : Readings on Feminist Archive

4th November, Thursday : Introduction to Digital Archives

Week 11 Archival Futures

9th November, Tuesday : Visit to Pitt Library. Library’s collections (subject to COVID regulations)

11th November, Thursday: Workshop on Omeka

Week 12 Archival Futures

16th November, Tuesday: In-class Archive Activities

18th November, Thursday: In-class Archive Activities

Week 13

Thanksgiving Break

Week 14 Dream the future

30th November, Tuesday: In-class Consultations/Work-Time

2nd December, Thursday : Presentation Day

Week 15 Dream the Future

7th December, Tuesday: Presentation Day

9th December, Thursday: Wrapping it up

Final exhibits and reflections due on 17th December, Friday, 11:59 pm EST.

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