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Lecture 2

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Women's Studies
WMST 1000
Andrew Robinson

Stephanie Oliveira 1 Chapter 1: pages 19-21, 24-28 Claiming an Education  2 parts: some thoughts about you, the women studies here, and some thoughts about us who teach in a women’s college.  As a student, you cannot afford to think for yourselves as being here to receive and education; you will so much better to think of yourselves as being here to claim one. You shouldn’t expect to have an education handed to you, but rather, you should work for it.  The teacher should respect the intellect and potential of students. The students should take responsibility of their own education.  To claim: take as the rightful owner; to assert in the face of possible contradiction.  To receive: to come in possession of; to act as receptacle or container for; to accept as authoritative or true.  The difference: between acting and being acted-upon, and for women it can literally mean the difference between life and death.  One of the weaknesses of university learning has been its almost total erasure of women’s experience and thought from the curriculum, and its exclusion of women as members of the academic community.  Douglass College is a women’s college in a university administered overwhelmingly by men.  Most significant part: is how men have perceived and organized their experience, their history, their ideas, of social relationships, good and evil, sickness and health.  It has only been within the last hundreds of years that higher education has been opened up to women at all.  There are many books that describe “human” reality that doesn’t include women.  Less than a decade ago, women students and teachers began to demand and set up women’s studies courses and now, women studies are still growing.  There is more essential experience that that you owe yourselves, but which finally depends on you, in all your interaction with the world. This is the experience of taking responsibilities toward yourselves.  Responsibility toward yourself- refusing to let other do your thinking, talking and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts. It means that you don’t treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security. It means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, and have low professional expectations.  Women are finding the courage to do this more and more, and we are finding the courage both in our study of women and in eachother.  As students, you should demand to be taken seriously so that you can ho on taking yourself seriously.  There is no more exhilarating and intellectually fertile place in the academic world today than a women’s college-- If both students and teachers in large enough numbers are trying to fulfill this contract.  The contract is really a pledge of mutual seriousness about women, about language, ideas, methods and values. Men and Women’s Studies: Premises, Perils, and Promise.  What does women studies have to do with men? It clears an intellectual space for talking about gender. Women Studies has made men visible.  What does Kimmel mean by “privilege of Invisibility” ? He cant see the privileges that are bestowed upon himself, as a middle class, white male. He says that gender is invisible to men. Race is invisible to white people.  By making women visible, women’s studies also made me
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