L3 Traffic in Women Lecture.pdf

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Department
Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Course
CAS WS 101
Professor
belle
Semester
Fall

Description
TRAFFICKING WOMEN and the origins of the sex/gender system Ploucha Lecture September 9 , 2013 !"#$%&'"()"*+%*',-"%."/0-'%&12" 34  5-6," 74  89+.," Sex, Gender, and Feminist Theory • Sex: a biological or medical category in which a “female” or “male” possesses distinct chromosomes (XX or XY), secondary sex characteristics, and/or a hormonal predominance of estrogens or androgens. • Gender: culturally and historically constructed roles and stereotypes associated with the sexes • Shaped by social forces and institutions • When feminists sought to separate sex from gender, they emphasized gender as a social construction because social norms could conceivably be challenged, altered, and reimagined. •While scholars of gender and sexuality have challenged, problematized, and expanded on this distinction, the separation of sex and gender is the fundamental basis of feminist theory from which our course departs. SEX GENDER Nature Culture Male/Female Man/Woman Making Gender a Category of Scholarly Analysis • First Women’s Studies departments were established in 1970, at SUNY Buffalo and San Diego State College • Realizing that women were missing from the traditional disciplines— both as objects of study and as scholars—feminists sought to establish a new discipline with women at the center • Successfully established gender as a category of analysis, if you look at the array of Women’s Studies and WGS Departments • But also succeeded in challenging its own premise, that women were a coherent category of scholarly analysis, by challenging gender essentialism • The field relies on interdisciplinary study that draws from the humanities, social sciences, and (less often) the natural sciences (like our class!) Gayle Rubin • Born in 1949, academically trained as an anthropologist • Anthropology’s comparative approach to social structures has made it a sophisticated field for studying and interpreting different sexual cultures • Became involved in the feminist movement of the 1970s • Scholarship combines anthropology, economics, psychology, women’s studies, and cultural theory • Was a central figure in the “feminist sex wars” of the 1980s, in which battle lines were drawn between antiporn feminists and pro-sex or sex radical feminists • Attended “Barnard Sex Conference” in 1982, where she first presented what would become her landmark essay, “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality” • Saw her work on gender and sex as essentially anthropological: “We have learned to cherish different cultures as unique expressions of human inventiveness rather than as the inferior or disgusting habits of savages. We need a similar anthropological understanding of different sexual cultures.” “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the “Political Economy” of Sex •Originally published in 1975 in Toward an Anthropology of Women •Has become a foundational Women’s Studies text used across the disciplines •Cited in other important works of gender theory by authors like Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Why analyze the sex/gender system? “The analysis of the causes of women’s oppression forms the basis for any assessment of just what would have to be changed in order to achieve a society without gender hierarchy.” Rubin, p. 393 :$%*$";0..%." 0;;-,..%0&"?0,."@6
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