Course Description:

Why do people fight for their own servitude as if it were their own deliverance? This is a question that has been at the heart of philosophy for a long time under the headings of voluntary servitude, ideology, and more recently domination. The aim of this seminar is to explore how gender theories have proved capable of addressing this question in ways that have challenged some of the most established tenets of the Western philosophical canon. In particular, we aim to explore the role that the body plays in domination. We will proceed through a close analysis of key texts of Marxist feminism, anarchafeminism, psychoanalytic feminism, queer and postcolonial theory, and we will apply these readings to concrete examples of lived experience through media analysis and clinical psychoanalysis. In particular, we will explore the heralded return of the gender wars (thinking of issues surrounding rape and the discourse around sex), the commercialization of transgenderism and queer culture, and the abundance of TV shows that focus on women, especially reality television shows, some of which have exposed the place of domination in women’s lives while others have exhibited new forms of domination as spectacle.

Students are also invited to attend the event “Primal Screens”, scheduled for 28 April 10-6pm and devoted to analyze gender roles and performances in reality TV.

Session 1

25 January

Introduction and organization of the course.

Session 2

1 February. Dilemmas of voluntary servitude

· La Boetie, E. de. “The discourse of voluntary servitude.” In The politics of obedience (1552), Mises, Institute, pp. 39-70

· Chanter, T. “Introduction” + “Formative Moments.” In Gender: Key Concepts in Philosophy (New York: Continuum, 2007), Ch. 1, pp. 1-31 (for those who do not have a background in gender theory)

· View: Belle de jour, by Luis Bunuel (trigger warning : the movie contains some nudity and potentially upsetting sex scenes)

· View: Foot binding (traditional) (modern)

Session 3

8 February. Domination: one or many? From the politics of being queer to anarchafeminism

· Bottici, C. Bodies in plural: towards an anarchafeminist-manifesto, in Thesis Eleven, 2017

· Goodman, P. “The politics of being queer.” In Anarchism. A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, ed. R Graham (Montreal: Black Rose, 1969), pp. 487-491 (originally published in The Second Wave, Spring 1975)

· Ehrlich, C. “Anarchism, feminism and situationism.” In Anarchism. A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, ed. R. Graham (Montreal: Black Rose, 1977), pp. 492-499

· View: Laura Anderson Barbata’s work on Julia Pastrana

Session 4

15 February. Creating compliant bodies: rituals, ceremonies and colonialism

· Lugones, M. The Coloniality of gender.

· Oyewumi, O, 1997, The Invention of Women, University of Minnesota Press, Introduction+ chapt 1 (Visualizing the body: Western Theories and African Subjects)

· Bottici, C and Webster, J. 2017, “The family is sick”, in Spike Magazine

· View: YouTube video of Scott asking Kourtney Kardashian to shave her vagina even when pregnant (note: pubic hair”trends”)

· Public Seminar: Elena Petrovska’s commentary on pubic hair trends.

Session 5

22 February. Polymorphous Perversity

Guest Speaker: Alison Gingerass.

· Freud, S. Three Essays on The Theory of Sexuality (Basic Books, 2000)

· View:

· In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

· Mouth Mantra by Bjork

· Jordan Wolfson’s Female Figure

· Creepy Dancing Robot

Session 6

1 March. The hysterical woman: Dora

· Freud, S. Fragment of and Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (New York: Penguin Edition, 1905)

· View:  Dresden Sistine Madonna by Raphael

· View: Dogville by Lars Von Trier, and the beginning of his Nymphomaniac.

Session 7

8 March. Dialectic(s) of Enlightenment: liberation or domination?

· Horkheimer, M. and Adorno, T.W. “The Concept of Enlightenment.” In Dialectic of Enlightenment (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), pp. 1-34

· Adorno, T.W. 1991, “Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda” In The Culture Industry (London: Routledge 1991), pp. 132-157 (as commentary see the PS panel “Reading Adorno in the Age of Trumpism” with contribution by Bernstein, Bottici, Satale and Webster)

·View: Century of The Self (documentary).

·View: Sick Bodies, Hysterical Pregnancies, ISIS Wives.

Session 8

15 March. Irigaray: “The little girl is (only) a little boy”

Guest Speaker: Jill Gentile.

· Freud, S. “Femininity.” In New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. (New York: Norton and Company, 1965), pp. 139-168

· Irigaray, L. Speculum of the Other Woman. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), pp. 13-65

· Gentile, J. 2016, Feminine Law. Freud, free speech and the voice of desire, Karnac books (in particular intro+ch 1, 2, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15)

View: Cliteracy Art Project

· Public Seminar: Chiara Bottici commentary

· Online Open Public Seminar Student reflection: Ceilidh Webster, In Between her Legs: Theorizing feminine space


22 March Spring break

Session 9

29 March. Beating fantasies and pornography’s temptation

· Webster, J. “Masturbation fantasies”, manuscript, forthcoming in Apology magazine.

· Cornell D. “Pornography”. In The Imaginary Domain (New York: Routledge, 1995), pp. 95-163

April 5: No class

Session 10

12 April. Lacan, feminine sexuality, and the masquerade

· Lacan, J. “The mirror stage as formative of the I function, as revealed in psychoanalytic experience.” In Ecrits(New York: Norton, 1949)

· Fluegel, J.C. “The Great Masculine Renunication” fromThe psychology of cloths (1930), reprinted in Purdy, ed. The rise of fashion. A reader, Minnesota UP, 2004, pp. 102-108

·  Rose, J. “Introduction II.” In Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the Ecole Freudienne (New York: Norton, 1982), pp. 27-59

Class presentation of Webster and Gherovici: “Dressing up the Death Drive: Psychoanalysis and Fashion”

Session 11

19 April. Butler. “Gender in drag”: is there still a “subject” of feminism?

Guest Speaker: Guilherme Massara Rocha

· Butler, J. 2011. “Gender is Burning.” In Bodies that Matter on the Discursive Limits of “Sex. (New York: Routledge), pp. 81-99

· Butler, J. “Melancholy gender/refused identifications.” In The Psychic Life of Power (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997), pp. 132-151;

· View: Paris Is Burning, directed by Jennie Livingston

· View: Antony and the Johnsons “Crazy in Love” vs Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”/ Donna Summer’s “I feel love” vs Bronski Beat “I feel love”

Session 12

26 April. Black feminism, capitalism and critique

· Hill Collins, P. “The social construction of black feminist thought.” In Black Feminist Thought. (New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 1-19, 39-43

· Hill Collins, P. “Mammies, matriarchs and other controlling images.” In Black Feminist Thought. (New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 69-96

· Murphy, M. 2015, “Reproduction”, in Marxism and Feminism, edited by Mojab, S., Zed Books, 2015, pp. 287-305

View: Princess and the frog (Disney)

View: Beyonce’s “Lemonade”

Session 13: note this is a Saturday.

28 April, 10am-6pm: “Primal screens: reality TV in the age of trumpism”, place TBA

Session 14

3 May. The biopolitical condition: sex, drugs and biopolitics

· Preciado, B. “Introduction,” “Your death,” and “The pharmacopornographic era.” In Testo junkie. (New York: Feminist Press, 2013), pp. 11-54, 68-82, 99-129

Session 15

10 May. Conclusions.

Guest Speaker: Vanessa Place on Rape Jokes.

Papers due.