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Critical Approaches to Literature HUMA 3300.001

by: Nicholas Notetaker

Critical Approaches to Literature HUMA 3300.001 HUMA 3300.001 (Ming Dong Gu)

Marketplace > University of Texas at Dallas > Arts and Humanities > HUMA 3300.001 (Ming Dong Gu) > Critical Approaches to Literature HUMA 3300 001
Nicholas Notetaker
GPA 2.76

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Summary of Chapter 8: Feminism and Gender Studies approach
Critical Approaches to Literature
Dr. Ming Dong Gu
Class Notes
Feminism, gender studies, Literature, Critical Approaches to Literature, mingdongu, UTD, HUMA, HUMA3300
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nicholas Notetaker on Sunday April 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HUMA 3300.001 (Ming Dong Gu) at University of Texas at Dallas taught by Dr. Ming Dong Gu in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Critical Approaches to Literature in Arts and Humanities at University of Texas at Dallas.


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Date Created: 04/17/16
Critical Approaches to Literature April 12th­14th, 2016 Chapter 8 feminism and gender studies Opening questions:  What is the difference between feminism and women's study? o Women's study is the study of woman's life such as pregnancy and marriage o Feminism sympathizes with female struggles from relations to men  What is the difference between women's study and gender studies? o Genders studies covers both women and men, becomes a study to correct the  negative connotation of feminism Key terms:  Patriarchal culture  Binaries  L'ecriture feminine  First, second, and   Body centered   Identity politics third wave  discourse  Third­space women feminism  Gynocriticitsm  Subaltern   Cultural feminism   Hegemony  Mestiza  and difference   Materialist studies consciousness feminism  Lacan:   Materialist   Essentialist and   the imaginary feminism constructivist   law of the father  Male gaze feminism  symbolic  Alterity queer   Phallogocentrism theory Feminism and the feminist literary criticsm:  Patriarchal culture, feminism, a political approach like Marxism, there is no longer a  single set of assumptions or a homogeneous feminism What is feminism?  Feminism is an intellectual thought concerned with the oppression and marginalization of women in a patriarchal/male domination  it is also a continuous political movement that aims at women's liberation from  patriarchal/male domination What do feminist critics do in literary and culture studies?  Feminist critics explain how the subordination of women is reflected or challenged by  literary texts; they examine the experiences of women of all races, class, sexual  preferences, and cultures Feminist critic's goals:  It aims to expose patriarchal premises First wave feminism (1848­1960):  Objective: struggle for political rights  British precursors  Mary Wollstonecraft's vindication of the rights of woman (1792) Second wave feminism (post WWII):  Objective: gender equality in social, political, legal, and economic right  Representative things and writers  Simone de Beauvoir: the second sex (1949)  The central questions: what is woman? How is she constructed differently from men?  Answer: men construct her differently  Kate Millet, sexual politics: first widely read feminist literary feminism  Major theme: literature as a record of male dominance  Betty Friedman: the feminine mystique:  Major theme: demystified the image of the happy American suburban housewife and  mother  Gilbert and Gubar: madwoman in the attic Third wave feminism (1990s­present):  Covers broader group of women included (Anzaldua, hooks, Sandoval, Rebecca walker,  rich)  Challenge the first and second waves "essentialist" definitions of felinity   Concerns itself with subjectivities of women of color, transgender politics, and a rejection of gender binaries  Role of third­space women, triply oppressed by class, gender, and race. Materialist  studies (especially black maternalist studies) ­ Morrison, Alice Walker, and O'rilley Woman: created or constructed?  Elaine Showalter's three phases of feminism in literature o The "feminine" (women writers imitate men)" o The "feminist" (women advocated minority rights and protested) o The "female" (the focus is now on women's texts as opposed to merely  uncovering misogyny in men's texts)  Showalter's four models of sexual difference: o Biological: literature somehow mirrors the body o Linguistic: women speak men's language as a foreign language and purging  language of sexism is not going far enough o Psychoanalytic model identifies gender difference in the psyche as well as in the  artistic process o Cultural model: locates feminist concerns in social contexts, acknowledging class, racial, national, and historical differences and determinants among women A fifth model: constructivist feminism: asks people to consider what it means to be gendered; to  what extend the supposedly male and female traits are culturally and socially constructed It gave rise to genre studies, which conceives all gender categories as culturally rather than  biological Differences among English, French, and American feminism:  English: Marxist, opposition  French: psychoanalytic, repression  American: textual, expression Feminism and psychoanalysis:  French feminism and L'ecriture and an enemy  Influenced of Freud: an inspirer and an enemy  His theory of women's psychology severely attached, e.g. women's ailments like hysteria  Jacques Lacan: the notion of the imaginary (pre­Oedipal phase. non­differentiation  between child and mother) and symbolic (acquisition of language, symbolic order taught  by the father)  The law of the father: phallogocentric universe  Myth criticism: archetypal figures as the great mother and early goddesses  Viewing such women as Medusa, Cassandra, Isis, as racial "others" worshipped as  alternatives to dominant male deities like Zeus or Apollo  Criticizing Jung and Frye for privileging hegemonic Greco­Roman mythologies and  downplaying the role of the feminine from the pre­Greek past  When matriarchal societies were replaced by patriarchal societies, male gods supplanted  the older "earth mothers"; and many goddesses were metamorphosed as witches,  seductresses, or fools Feminist of color:  Feminists of color like lesbians feminists have different concerns than mainstream white  heterosexual women  Competing: new voices, such as modern slave narrative; post colonialism and the  subaltern woman (Spivak): Anzaldua, the New Mestiza  Alice Walker prefers womanism to feminism Marxist and materialist feminism:  Lower class women have a different view of feminist goals as opposed to middle and  upper­middle­class women; debate between Marxist and materialist feminism  Materialist feminism: a way of reading that rejects "the dominant pluralist paradigms and  logics of contingency and seeks to establish the connections between the discursively  constructed differentiated subjective that have replaced the generic "woman" in feminist  theorizing, and the hierarchies of inequality that exploit and oppress women." It recognizes as material contradictions such as ideologies or race, sexuality, imperialism  and colonialism and anthropocentrism Feminist film studies  Laura Mulvey and de Lauretis  "Male Gaze" based on voyeurism (female image as object of desire, guilty female) and  fetishism (female as object of worship); social construction of female identity Gender studies:  It examines how gender is less determined by nature than by culture  Gender as false binary:  Queer Theory: it relies on postmodern concepts like gender ambivalence, ambiguity, and  multiplicity of identities; which have replaced the more clearly defined sexual values of  earlier generations  It rejects the conventions of western sexual mores.  Sedgwick: "Epistemology of the Closet": Deconstructs the pathology of the homosexual  and argues that sexuality is "an array of acts, expectations, narratives, pleasure, identity­ formations, and knowledge."  "I come out, therefore I am."  Gender studies examine how sexual identity influences the creation and reception of  literary works  Male and female discursive logic: sequential vs. associational Feminism and gender studies in practice:  Hamlet:  Ophelia's case: obedience to, object of male dominance and attack (Polonius' and Laertes' dominance, Hamlet's abuse of her)  Ophelia's death finally awakens Hamlet's love of women and realization that he is not a  victim of women


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