Classics in Feminist Theory
This series is devoted to a critical rethinking of foundational texts in the development of feminist theory. Over the course of its history, feminist theory has developed an increasingly critical stance towards its central categories of analysis: sex, gender, and women. However important this stance has been, it has had the paradoxical effect of marginalizing texts once considered core to the feminist project itself. For example, it is not uncommon today for gender and sexuality students to have read Judith Butler's Gender Trouble but not Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. Apart from the assumption that what comes later is by definition better, this approach significantly distorts what was at stake for third-wave feminists such as Butler in the critique of Beauvoir. In an effort to better grasp contemporary feminist theory and the state of feminism today, the series seeks to reanimate interest in the texts that once inspired a radical political and cultural movement.
Each year, the Center chooses an author whose work has been fundamental to the development of feminist thought and praxis. In 2010-2011 and in 2011-2012 we featured the work of Simone de Beauvoir and Catharine MacKinnon, respectively. This year we will focus on the contributions made by Angela Yvonne Davis. Together with the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC), we will host several symposia dedicated to major themes in her work, culminating in a major lecture by Prof. Davis in May, 2013.
The Feminist/Queer Praxis (formerly Feminist Lives and Queer Trajectories) series brings artists, activists, scholars, and professionals to CSGS to talk about their work in the world as people committed to queer and feminist values and action. Previous speakers have included Amber Hollibaugh, a long time activist for economic justice, sexual liberation and LGBTQ human rights and author of My Dangerous Desires: a queer girl dreaming her way home; Jessica Halem, comedian and feminist/queer activist who served as a University of Chicago CAPS counselor and RH; Judge Sebastian Patti, the first openly gay man elected to an Illinois bench; and Anne Ladky, Executive Director of Women Employed and a nationally recognized expert on women's organizing, equal opportunity issues, career development and economic self-sufficiency.