Syllabus: Rethinking Female Aggression

The New School for General Studies
Department of Social Sciences
                   Dr. Leeb Claudia

Description: This course reviews research on women’s aggression (Bjoerkqvist/Francek/Lindfors), feminist psychoanalyses that engages with female aggression (Benjamin/Fast/Chodorow), and newer feminist scholarship on women’s aggression, rooted in postmodern and interactionist theory (Grossmann, Leeb). We also analyze representations of aggressive women in film and popular culture (including Hart). We answer the following questions: How do these works define and explain female aggression? What is the theoretical basis upon which they base their arguments? Do their arguments enhance or impede our understanding of women and aggression?

Books and articles:
Hart, Lynda (1994). Lesbian Sexuality and the Mark of Aggression New Jersey: Princeton University Press, (Available at Poseman bookstore); all other articles are available as a course binder (in the library). 

9/19	Introduction 
Goal: Explanation of syllabus and seminar requirements. 

9/26 Cultural Constructions of Female Aggression
Goal: To assess different definitions of female aggression depending on the cultural context. 
Burbank, V. (1994). Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Aggression in Women and Girls: An Introduction. Sex Roles, Vol. 30, Nos. 3/4, pp. 169 – 176. 
Bjoerkqvist, K. (1994). Sex Differences in Physical, Verbal, and Indirect Aggression: A Review of Recent Research. Sex Roles, Vol. 30, Nos. 3/4 (pp. 177-187).
Cook, K. (1992). Matrifocality and Female Aggression in Margariteno Society. In: K. Bjoerkquist and P. Niemelae (eds), Of Mice and Women. Aspects of Female Aggression, pp. 149-161. 
Burbank, V. (1999). Fighting Women. Anger and Aggression in Aboriginal Australia, pp. 179-191.

10/3	Disciplining Female Aggression 
Goal: The elaboration of Michel Foucault’s theoretical framework to explain female aggression.
Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison,  Chapter 3. Panopticism, pp. 195 – 228.
Bartky, S. (1997). Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power,  in: Conboy, Medina & Stanbury (eds.), writing on the body. Female Embodiment and Feminist Theory, pp. 129-154.
Bordo, S.R. (1989). The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity: A Feminist Appropriation of Foucault, in: Jagger & Bordo (eds.), Gender, Body, Knowledge, pp. 13-33.

10/10 Resisting the Disciplining: The Fighting Woman
Goal: The assessment possibilities of resisting the Foucauldian Panopticon.
Marcus, S. (1996). Fighting Bodies, Fighting Words: A Theory and Politics of Rape Prevention, pp. 387-401.
Castelnuevo, S. & Guthrie, S. (1998). Elite Female Bodybuilders: Models of Resistance or Compliance? The Thousand Waves Experience: Intersecting Feminism and the Martial Arts, pp. 49 – 65, pp. 67 – 90.
John Berger (1981). Ways of Seeing, pp. 45-64.

10/17 Social Class and Aggression 
Goal: The examination of female aggression and social class.
Walkerdine, V. (1996). Working-class women: psychological and social aspects of survival. In: Sue Wilkinson (ed.). Feminist Social Psychologies. International Perspectives, pp. 145 – 164.
Zandy, J. (1990). Calling Home. working class women’s writings. (New Brunswick/New Jersey: Rutgers University Press), pp. 1-13. 
Cisneros, S. (1990). The House on Mango Street. In: Janet Zandy (ed.). Calling Home. working class women’s writings, pp. 68-69.
Cummings, L. (1994). Fighting by the Rules: Women Street-Fighting in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico. Sex Roles, Vol. 30, Nos. 3/4, pp. 189-198. 

10/24 The Aggressive Woman in the Workforce
Goal: The elaboration of female aggression in the academic setting.
Aisenberg, N. & Harrington, M. (1988). Women of Academe. Outsiders in the Sacred Grove. (The Old Norms/Voice of Authority), pp. 3-19, pp. 64-82. 
Collins, P.H. (1991). Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought. In: Joan E. Hartman and Ellen Messer-Davidow (eds), (En)Gendering Knowledge. Feminists in Academe.
Kadi, J. (1993). A Question of Belonging. In: Michelle M. Tokarczyk and Elisabeth A. Fay (eds), Working-Class Women in the Academy. Laborers in the Knowledge Factory, pp. 87-95. 

10/31 Talking Back: Marginalized Women Speak Out
goal: the discussion of texts by ‘women of color,’ who elaborate their marginalization in white (US) America. 
bell hooks (1990). Talking Back and Marginality as a site of resistance. In: Ferguson et al. (ed.). Out There, Marginalization and Contemporary Culture, pp. 337-343.
Quan, K. Y. (1990). The Girl Who Wouldn’t Sing. In Gloria Anzaldua (ed), Making Face, Making Soul. Haciendo Caras, pp. 212-220. 
Anzaldua, G. (1987). Borderlands. La Frontera. The New Mestiza.(The Homeland, Aztlan), pp. 1-13.
The Combahee River Collective (1982). A Black Feminist Statement. In: Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott & Barbara Smith (eds), But Some of Us Are Brave. Black Women’s Studies, pp. 13-22. 

11/7 The Performance of Female Aggression
goal: introduction into Judith Butler’s concept of performativity to explain female aggression.
Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, pp. 1-33. 
Ann, K. (1993). Madonna Politics, Repression, or Subversion? Or Masks and/as Master-y. In: Schwichtenberg, Cathy (ed), The Madonna Connection, pp. 149-165. 

11/14 Female Aggression and Sexual Desire I
goal: the assessment of female aggression in film and popular representations.
Hart, L. (1994). Fatal Women. Lesbian Sexuality and The Mark of Aggression (Introduction: The Paradox of Prohibition, Chloe Liked Olivia: Death, Desire, and Detection in the Female Buddy Film, Race and Reproduction: Single White Female, Why The Woman Did It: Basic Instinct and Its Vicissitudes,), pp. 3-28, pp. 65-87, pp. 104-134. 
Movie: Thelma and Louise

11/21 Female Aggression and Sexual Desire II
Goal: continuation of previous week.
Hart, L. (1994). Fatal Women. Lesbian Sexuality and the Mark of Aggression (The Victorian Villainess and the Patriarchal Unconscious, Enter the Invert: Frank Wedekind’s Lulu Plays, Reconsidering Homophobia: Karen Finley’s Indiscretions, Surpassing the Word: Aileen Wuornos), pp. 29-64, pp. 89-103, pp. 135-160.  

11/28 Jessica Benjamin: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Female Aggression
goal: introduction into psychoanalytic terminology as a means to explain female aggression development.
Benjamin, J. (1988). Master and Slave. In: The Bonds of Love. Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and The Problem of Domination, pp. 51-84. 
Benjamin, J. (1998). Shadow of the Other. Intersubjectivity and Gender in Psychoanalysis. (chapter 3. Intersubjectivity and Feminist Theory), pp. 79-108. 
Benjamin, J. (1995). Sympathy for the Devil: Notes on Sexuality and Aggression, with Special Reference to Pornography. In: Like Subjects, Love Objects. Essays on Recognition and Sexual Difference, pp. 115-141. 

12/5	Erotic Domination: Marquis De Sade and Sacher Masoch
goal: continuation of the elaboration of psychoanalytic terminology to explain erotic domination and subjugation.
Deleuze, G. (1989). Coldness and Cruelty, In: Masochism
(Foreword, The Language of Sade and Masoch, Are Sade and Masoch Complimentary? The Three Women in Masoch, From Contract to Ritual, Appendices: Two Contracts of Masoch), pp. 9-24, pp. 47-55, pp. 91-102, pp. 277-279. 

12/12	Paper Presentations and Conclusions

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