Another topic on which we could have an entire course: Gender theory (or, In Which Dr. C encourages all of us to take a hike)

Well, piggybacking on what I said last week, if there is a second essay that has most informed my writing, it would be Gayatri Spivak’s essay “Can The Subaltern Speak?” (Here is the full text that you will need for this week.)  Spoiler alert:  the answer is no.  But I am guessing you could have guessed that.

Caveats:  It is hard to talk about gender without falling into the trap of thinking about sexuality.  I come from the school that believes gender is constructed (so for example, I don’t believe that women are naturally less violent, but that societal constructions force women into such a mold, to be simplistic.   When I teach a gender theory course, we will spend weeks just thinking about gender in general).  Gender is not sexuality, and the two should not be conflated, though the theories certainly inform each other (see anything by Judith Butler, but make sure you give yourself enough time to work through her convoluted sentences).

Now that you know a little about my own scholarship, you will see how important the work of Leila Ahmed (and now I just found this article which I clearly need to read) is to the study of women in the Islamic world.  I have asked you to read some of her writing, but I would suggest you listen to the interview with her first to give you some foundation.  You can listen to it from your computer or download it here.  Throw on your iPod and take a walk and give it a listen.  We all need to admire the foliage before winter comes, and why not do something for yourself while you are doing your homework.  Your dogs will thank you for it.  Here are Calvin and Theo. I call them “the mangiacs” (Theo had mange when we adopted him).  They are lounging in the office with me while I write this post.

Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s seminal piece “Under Western Eyes” forced Western feminists to consider their own subject position and their own role in reifying the hegemony of the “West.”  She offers a critical lens for reading “world” texts about women.

The Bessie Head short story link on the syllabus no longer works, so when I get to campus on Wednesday I will send you a PDF of either Devi’s “The Hunt” or Head’s “Life.”  I might send both and let you pick which one you want to read.   I look forward to reading your papers.  If there’s anything you need, let me know

As for this week’s blog post, I ask that you respond to the theoretical pieces (and if you aren’t writing until later in the week, I would like to hear your thoughts about the short story as well, but I understand if some of you want to do your work on Monday since we have off in honor of the destruction of indigenous peoples).

Go outside.  Take a walk.  Take care of yourself.  Enjoy the leaves.  Winter will be here soon enough.



  1. Nice picture of Calvin and Theo. I hope they are better behaved than my pack: Ciaran, Bridgid, Toby and Rue. According to our syllabus we don’t have a post due this coming week, I assumed because of the paper. Is that changing? I’m working on my rationale but a post on top of that will be rough. I don’t have off for Columbus Day and have an assignment due for my other class as well. I don’t spend enough time outside now that school has started which is criminal because autumn is my favorite time of year to be outside…. Have you been reading a lot of Winnie the Pooh lately? (It’s your post titles!) Thanks!

  2. CORRECTION! There is no blog post this week (boy, will you have a lot to write about for next week!). I will not be sending you a short story this week, then. Thanks, Donna. And they are not all that well-behaved!

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