Public course on French feminism, starts Friday 26 November

Free public mini-course on French feminism by Rosa Nogues, starting Friday 26 November, 2010, 4pm.

Rationale: Feminist theory in France encompasses a field of thought much wider and more heterogeneous than that suggested by what has come to be known as ‘French Feminism’, a category coined by the Anglophone academy and mostly limited to the work of Cixous, Kristeva and Irigaray. The aim of this course will be to outline the different positions in French feminism at the time of the women’s liberation movement in France, and to explore some of the basic concepts and debates in feminist theory within the specific context of French feminist thought, such as the sex/gender distinction, the concept of difference, or the essentialism/constructionism debate. Pdf copies of texts will be made available a week in advance of each session. We will look at the work of key figures such as Simone de Beauvoir, Christine Delphy, Monique Wittig, Monique Plaza, Catherine Clément, Hélène Cixous, Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray.

Session I: Friday 26 November 2010, 4-6pm

Introduction to French Feminism

Reading: Simone de Beauvoir, Introduction to The Second Sex (1949); Christine Delphy, ‘Rethinking Sex and Gender’ (1993).

Optional reading: Monique Wittig, ‘The Category of Sex’ (1982); Hélène Cixous, ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’ (1975).

Session II: Friday 3 December 2010, 4-6pm

Luce Irigaray

Reading: Irigaray, ‘The Little Girl Is (Only) a Little Boy’, from Speculum of the Other Woman; ‘This Sex Which Is not One’, from This Sex Which Is not One.

Optional reading: ‘An Ethics of Sexual Difference’, from An Ethics of Sexual Difference; ‘Women’s Exile’, in Ideology and Consciousness, no. 1 (May 1977).

Session III: Friday 10 December 2010, 4-6pm

Julia Kristeva

Reading: Kristeva, ‘Approaching Abjection’ and ‘From Filth to Defilement’, in The Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection; ‘Women’s Time’, in Signs, 7/1 (1981).

Optional reading: ‘From One Identity to Another’ in Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art.

For pdf copies of the texts, please email

Place: Room M222, second floor, Mansion Building, Middlesex University, Trent Park campus, Bramley Road, London N14 4YZ. NOTE ROOM CHANGE.

Tube: Piccadilly line to Oakwood station, free bus to campus.

This course is free and open to the general public. ALL WELCOME.

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