Feminist Inquiry

FALL: Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
September 6, 2012 – December 6, 2012
Building and Room TBD

This course investigates theories and practices of feminist inquiry across a range of disciplines. Doing feminist research involves rethinking disciplinary assumptions and methodologies, developing new understandings of what counts as knowledge, seeking alternative ways of understanding the origins of problems/issues, formulating new ways of positing questions and redefining the relationship between subjects and objects of study.

All research grows out of complex connections between epistemologies, methodologies and research methods. We shall explore how these connections are formed in the traditional disciplines and raise questions about why the traditional disciplines are inadequate and/or problematic for feminist inquiry. What, specifically, are the feminist critiques of these disciplines? The course will consider methodology, i.e., the theory and analysis of how research should proceed. We shall be especially attentive to epistemological issues—pre-suppositions about the nature of knowledge. We shall examine the theoretical positions our authors take, and evaluate the usefulness of their methodological approaches.


Renee Bergland is Professor of English at Simmons College. She teaches courses in American literature and culture, gender and cultural studies, and literary and cultural theory. Her books include The National Uncanny: Indian Ghosts and American Subjects; Maria Mitchell and the Sexing of Science: An Astronomer Among the American Romantics; and Philosophies of Sex: Critical Essays on Julia Ward Howe's Hermaphrodite (edited with Gary Williams).

Frinde Maher is Professor Emerita of Education, Wheaton College, and Resident Scholar at the Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University.  Her research concerns feminist pedagogies and women in higher education.  She is co-author, with Mary Kay Tetreault, of The Feminist Classroom (1994,2001) and Privilege and Diversity in the Academy (2007).

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Contact Us

The Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-211
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: 617-324-2085