Prof. Maryanne Horowitz
Women's Studies/Gender Studies 237 (or Hist.), Sp. 2005

    Syllabus Jan. 20, 2005. Up-to-date Syllabus on-line at

CONTEMPORARY FEMINISM   (Eligible for credit in CORE 6 Intercultural Topics; Eligible for elective credit in History Department)


Prof. Maryanne Horowitz
Class Meets: 8:30-9:55 am Tues and Thurs.     Location: Johnson 205
Office: Swan 316    Hours:  Tues 11:45-1:15 p.m. , Th. 10:05-11:30 am  and by appointment 259-2583
Horowitz Homepage
Campus mail to Horowitz mailbox, 
Hist. Dept., S. Swan 


Books in Bookstore:

Estelle Freedman, No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women (Ballantine, 2002)

Lynette Knapp, ed. The Abortion Controversy (Greenhaven, 2001)

Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (Routledge, 2002)

Yuval Merin, Equality for Same-Sex Couples: The Legal Recognition of Gay Partnerships in Europe and the United States (U. Chicago 2002)

Chandra Mohanty, Feminism without Borders:  Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity (Duke, 2003)


Also see list of readings at the reserve  desk of the library. New Dictionary of the History of Ideas (On reserve in hardback and on-line. Abbreviated NDHI below) is abbreviated NDHI. See Ref. section HQ1111-HQ1904, especially Women's Issues HQ1115W6425   1997  3 vols. and Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories HQ1190 E63 2000.

Students will discuss and debate issues and respond to students' papers, write two five-page papers, and write two essay exams.

20% each: Class Participation, 2 papers, 2 essay exams. There will be guidance in class the meeting before each exam on ways to organize one's preparation for the essay writing in class.

Papers are 5 typed pages M.L.A. Style with Works Cited and parenthetical notes. In your writing, include citations to student or faculty comments in class (name, date), documents and interpretations within class readings, library books, footnoted articles in journals or in on-line journals as in Wilson Select under First Search at the  Occidental College Library Homepage. I strongly recommend that you prepare a bibliography early and submit requests for the interlibrary loan of some books and document delivery of some articles.

Paper 1: Include a mixture of journal articles, book chapters, encyclopedia articles, and news reports, as well as Butler or Merin. Report on a public debate on either abortion or same-sex legal recognition. Clarify the policy issues and the interest groups involved.

Paper 2:  Evaluate the viewpoints and activities of one feminist or of one feminist organization during l or 2 decades. Include writings by the feminist or the organization, critiques of views, and narratives that discuss the activities in social context. If the person or organization is very well known or very prolific, you may narrow the topic further. If there is insufficient information on a person or organization or if you would like to focus on contrasting views, expand scope to two persons or two organizations.

Extra Credit to Class Participation for attending feminist happenings especially during Women's Herstory Month on campus 1) announce previously in class or class email 2) afterwards pass in a page analysis of  the event.  See bottom of syllabus for suggestions: 

  #Top of page


Th. Jan. 20
What is Feminism?  Student interests and background

"Women's Studies," "Feminism, " "Anti-Feminism" in NDHI

2) T Jan. 25, Th. Jan. 27 (workshop in library, room right of circulation desk) Start bringing to class for student use on reserve of copies of articles from 2002-2005 on abortion, on stem-cell research, and on same-sex unions.
Freedman, Preface, ch. 1 "Historical Case for Feminism" and ch. 2 "Gender and Power" ; The Abortion Controversy, chs. 1 and 2. Merin, Equality for Same-Sex Couples, ch. 1 Introduction:

"Family Planning," in NDHI

Tues. Debate on Abortion Controversy ch. 1 Is Abortion Immoral?   ch. 2 Should Abortion Rights be Protected or Restricted? 

3)  T. Feb. 1, Th. Feb. 3

Freedman, ch. 10 "Reproduction: Politics of Choice,"; The Abortion Controversy, chs. 1-5.

Recommend: Stetson, ed. Abortion Politics...:A Comparative Study (Reserve); Preface and Intro, ch. 5 French case, ch. 8 Ireland, ch. 9 Italy, ch. 12 USA 59-98,  ch. 11 Spain, ch. 13 comparison

Tues. Debate on Abortion Controversy ch. 3 Should Women have Greater Access to Abortion

Thurs. Debate on Abortion Controversy, ch. 4 Should Protesters Target Abortion Clinics and Providers?

Debate on Abortion Controversy ch. 5 Should Aborted Fetuses be Used for Medical Research?

Feb. 8 Pass in paper 1 topic with bibliography. Try to include a one-paragraph abstract.

4)  T. Feb. 8, Th. Feb. 10
Freedman, ch. 11 "Sexualities, Identitites, and Self-Determination" and ch. 9 "Medicine, Markets and the Female Body"

"Gay Studies" and "Queer Theory" in NDHI.

Merin, Equality for Same-Sex Couples, ch. 2 "Changing Institution of Marriage and the Exclusion of Same-Sex Couples,, ch. 7 Same Sex Partnerships in the United States
Student reports on Merin, ch. 3 Nordic Countries, ch. 4 Netherlands, ch. 5 Other European countries with Appendix A

5) T.  Feb. 15  Th. Feb. 17

Merin, ch. 4 "Cohabitation Model", ch. 5 "Contrasts" and ch. 9 "Domestic Partnership, Registered Partnership and Marriage."
Student reports on Merin, ch. 4 Canada, Australia, New Zealand. 

Freedman, ch. 12 "Gender and Violence,"  ch. 14 "No Turning Back: Women and Politics"

"Sexual Harassment" and "Human Rights/Women's Rights" in NDHI

Student Discussion of differences and similarities of different types of legal arrangements.

"Sexuality" (especially section on Islamic Views) and "Gender in the Middle East," NDHI   Compare the 2 viewpoints on Islam and Feminism.

6) T. Feb. 22 , Th. Feb. 24   Feb. 22 Last date for paper  1 abstract and bibliography. Be prepared to discuss paper argument orally. 

Merin, chs. 10 "Alternatives to Marriage and the Doctrine of 'Separate but Equal,'" 11 "Feasibility of Opening up Marriage to Same-Sex Couples", 12 "Conclusion"

Tues. March 1 Paper 1 due. Report on a public debate on either abortion or same-sex legal recognition. Clarify the policy issues and the interest groups involved. 5 pages with parenthetical MLA citations, plus Works Cited. Pass in 2 copies (1 for reserve)

7) T. March 1, Th. March 3
Freedman, Part II The Historical Emergence of Feminisms"  pp. 45-122  Read at least 4 student papers on reserve (2 for each issue).

"Philosophies Feminist, Twentieth Century" in NDHI.

Th. March 3 Bibliography due for paper 2 on one individual feminist or one feminist organization.  Make interlibrary loan orders.

8)  T. March 8, Th. March 10  

Freedman, Part III The Politics of Work and Family pp. 123-202, and ch. 13 "Women's Creativity as Feminist Practice"

"Machismo," "Mestizaje," and "Identity, Multiple, Overview" in NDHI

March 10 In-Class Essay Examination on Freedman, on Abortion Controversy, on Same-Sex Partnership Controversy, and on articles and classwork.

Spring Break March 14-18:    Read about your feminist. Mohanty, Introduction pp. 1-13 and ch. 1 pp. 17-42.

9) T. March 22 , Th. March 24    Mohanty, chs. 2 and 3 pp. 43-105. Student 5-minute oral presentations about a feminist or feminist organization; pass in a 1 page sentence outline or a l page chronology (to be placed on reserve).  Discuss Mohanty, Feminism without Borders on theme of "Decolonizing Feminism"

10)  T. March 29, Th. March 31  Mohanty, chs. 4, 5, 6, pp. 106-168.  

Oral presentations continue.  Discussion of alternative positions of the feminists.

11) Prof. Horowitz in Cambridge, England, for Renaissance Society of America April 5 and 7.   Films scheduled in class. 

April 5: Whale Rider   This ethnographical study of  Maori customs from a feminist girl's point of view raises some universal issues of male-female relations as well as some issues specific to the Maori of New Zealand. With which issues do you identity? Which issues seem distinctive and local?

April 7: end of Whale Rider and Beyond Borders: Arab feminists talk about their lives--east and west.    Be able to present several distinctive Arab feminist viewpoints.
12)   T April 12 Th April 14.

Mohanty, chs. 7-9, pp. 169-252. Discuss Part II "Demystifying capitalism"  and Part III"Reorienting Feminism"

  Th. April 14 Paper 2 Due.  5 pages, MLA parenthetical citations, Works Cited.

13) T. April 19, Th. April 21 

"Gender," "Gender Studies," "Gender, History of,"  in NDHI

Judith Butler, Undoing Gender, Introduction and chs. 1-5, pp. 1-130

14) T. April 26, April 28 (Last Class)  

Judith Butler, chs. 6-11, pp.131-250.

  Th. April 28  In-Class Essay Exam on Mohanty (with Freedman, ch. 5 and ch. 7) and Butler (with Freedman, ch. 4, ch. 11, and ch. 13), as well as articles and other classwork.



Possibilities:   especially appropriate for paper 1:


[1am 6pm, Friday, UCLA School of Law-Room 1430]
This half day conference is the fourth annual update on sexual orientation law to be sponsored by the Williams Project, a national think tank dedicated to the field of sexual orientation law and public policy. Invited guests include Professors Christine Littleton, William B. Rubenstein and R. Bradley Sears, UCLA School of Law; Professor David B. Cruz, USC School of Law; Jennifer C. Pfizer and John Davidson, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund; Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry Coalition, Barney Frank (D-MA), U.S. House of Representatives. Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women.