Choose ONE of the following topics:
Because it is dynamic, change-oriented, feminism has always had a special place for the creative artist. The first step toward changing reality is usually to change people’s perceptions of the world and of themselves through new descriptions of reality–a task for which the artist is uniquely qualified. Choose an artist whose work you consider to be useful for feminism, in the sense that it raises issues that, in your opinion, feminists should be addressing (some suggestions are offered below, but you’re encouraged to choose an artist not on the list). You can choose an artist who does not self-identify as a feminist, if you believe they are raising questions that feminists should address. Discuss the feminist implications or gender-related issues that emerge from this artist’s life and work.
Trinh T. Min-ha
Mierle Laderman Ukeles
2. Discuss the philosophy of restorative justice. Illustrate how it could function, using a real or hypothetical example of a situation where an offence has been committed. Or research a Baltimore school or community organization that is using restorative justice practices.
3. Feminists as well as environmentalists and advocates for developing countries have criticized the use of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of the economic health of nations and communities, because the GDP ignores the value of human and environmental production that take place outside the monetary system, and ignores the distribution of resources and other important factors affecting actual quality of life. Research the Genuine Progress Indicator, a proposed alternative to the GDP. If you want, you can use the Maryland Genuine Progress Indicator website as your focus for exploring how the Genuine Progress Indicator works.
4. For students interested in the intersection of gender studies and violence prevention: compare and evaluate three or more rape prevention organizations. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each program in its theory and practice? What modifications would you suggest? What aspects of rape discourse do they attempt to change and by what methods? Do they include homophobic violence under their rubric of “sexual assault”? In your opinion, do the programs have blind spots, or “rape-supportive beliefs” of their own that go unquestioned? What aspects of these programs do you support most strongly? Are there aspects that you would change? You can examine rape prevention programs on college campuses or national organizations. Here are a few suggestions for national organizations to examine:
Men Can Stop Rape www.mencanstoprape.org
(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.;
One in Four http://www.oneinfourusa.org
(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.; and
White Ribbon (Michael Kaufman) http://www.whiteribbon.ca/
(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and www.michaelkaufman.com
Force: Upsetting Rape Culture www.upsettingrapeculture.com
(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) http://www.rainn.org/
5. The family is a basic unit of history. It is where change either happens or doesn’t; where social norms (regarding gender, power, democracy, authority, legitimate use of violence, etc.) are either reproduced, challenged or negotiated. Interview parents in at least two different families about their philosophy of parenting, particularly in relation to gender and power. Is “non-sexist parenting” a conscious goal for them? If so, how do they pursue that goal and what have been the greatest challenges? If not, what are their beliefs about gender and how do they feel the gender code is affecting their children? Do the parents’ beliefs about gender affect other aspects of the family structure? For instance, how do they define a family? What are their disciplinary practices? How are decisions made in the family (democratically or otherwise)? What are their beliefs about adult authority over children?
6. For students interested in creative writing: Write a piece of short fiction that in some way addresses a feminist or gender issue of importance to you.
7. For students interested in autobiographical writing: Discuss three generations of your own family history in terms of gender roles. If you can, try to make connections to the larger social forces that have the most direct impact on gender roles: the economy; the war-system; race; class; and social beliefs about gender and sexuality.