LITS2307 MODERN CRITICAL THEORY

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WEEK 11: MARXIST FEMINISM

Required Readings:

Lecture 1:

  • Friedrich Engels "The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State" [1884] (also in Miriam Schneir, ed. Feminism: the Essential Historical Writings; also in course folder)

Lecture 2:

  • Nancy Hartsock Money, Sex and Power: Toward a Feminist Historical Materialism [1983]: "The Feminist Standpoint: Developing the Ground for a Specifically Feminist Historical Materialism" (you can read an excerpt in Sandra Kemp, et al., eds. Feminisms; also in course folder)

Tutorial:

  • In this tutorial this week, we will review Benjamin's arguments in "The Author as Producer" (and, to a lesser extent, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction") from last week.

Recommended Readings:

PhilWeb:

Notes:

Questions:

Marxist Feminism:

  1. How do Marxist Feminists conceptualise the difference between male and female?  What model of society do they often employ?
  2. What, according to Marxist Feminists, is the cause of ideologies of gender difference and misogyny?
  3. How do Marxist Feminists rewrite the Base / Superstructure model in order to take gender into account?

Friedrich Engels The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State:

  1. How does Engels conceptualise the social construction of gender?
  2. How does Engels explain the historical existence of patriarchy and the concomitant oppression of women?
  3. "In the final analysis, gender inequality is the result purely of economic factors."  Do you agree with this assessment of Engels' position? 

Socialist Feminism:

  1. How do Socialist Feminists conceptualise the difference between male and female?  What model of society do they often employ?
  2. What, according to Socialist Feminists, is the cause of ideologies of gender difference and misogyny?

Hartsock "The Feminist Standpoint: Developing the Ground for a Specifically Feminist Historical Materialism":

  1. What, according to Hartsock, is a feminist standpoint?
  2. How is Hartsock's concept related to Lukács’s notion of class consciousness?

Gynocriticism:

  1. How do Marxist / Socialist Feminist critics in general approach works written by women?
  2. How might the concept of a feminist standpoint be useful for interpreting works written by women writers?

Feminist Critique:

  1. How do Marxist / Socialist Feminist critics in general approach works written by men?
  2. How, according to Jehlen, do male authors perpetuate masculine "assumptions about women" (75) and how ought women critics to read such works?