feminist epistemology

I am at the moment working on how feminist epistemology influences the choice of a social research method.

What is feminist epistemology and philosophy of science? Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines it as the study of the ways gender influences our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification. The history of epistemology is one of clash between committment to struggle and to philosophy (Alcoff and Potter 1993). Initially, it aimed to show how women have been traditionally disadvantaged and excluded from systems of knowledge production. While this project of critique still goes on, feminist epistemology has moved on to reconstruct this dominant tradition and its practices so that they serve the interests of subordinate groups (ie women).

The central concept is that of  situated knowledge. How does gender situate the subject? According to Sandra Harding’s classification (1986), three main approaches have been articulated by feminist philosophers: feminist postmodernism, feminist empiricism and feminist standpoint theory. This paper examines these approaches and, moreover, addresses the recent trend of intersectionality. Gender, for contemporary feminist philosophers, does nor function as single and universal category or the primary axis of oppression. The term ‘woman’ does not have an analytic credibility and it cannot be separated from class, race, sexuality, culture, age and other contextual categories. This school of thought has significantly transforms the methodological framework of the social research undertaken.

Alcoff, Linda, and Elizabeth Potter, (eds.) 1993. Feminist Epistemologies. New York: Routledge
Benhabib, Seyla, Judith Butler, Drucilla Cornell and Nancy Fraser, 1995. Feminist Contentions. New York: Routledge
Butler, B. and Scott, J. (eds.), ‘Feminists Theorize the Political’, New York and London: Routledge
Haraway, Donna, 1991. “Situated Knowledges”. In Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. New York: Routledge
Harding, Sandra, 1986. The Science Question in Feminism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press
E. Grosz  ‘What is feminist theory?’ in C, Pateman, E Gross (eds) Feminist Challenges (Allen and Unwin, 1986)
M. Hawkesworth ‘Knower, knowing, known: feminist theory and claims of truth’ Signs 14(3), 1989.
J.W. Scott (1992) ‘Experience’, in Judith Butler and Joan Scott (eds.), Feminists Theorize the Political. New York and London: Routledge.
C.T. Mohanty (2002) ‘”Under Western Eyes” Revisited: Feminist solidarity through anticapitalist struggles’, Signs 28(2): 499-533.
L. Stanley (1993) ‘The Knowing Because Experiencing Subject: Narratives, lives, autobiographies’, Women’s Studies International Forum 16(3): 205-215.
Umut Erel, Jin Haritaworn, Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Christian Klesse (2007) ‘On the Depoliticisation of Intersectionality Talk. Conceptualising Multiple Oppressions in Critical Sexuality Studies’.


time management lesson

I attended the 3-day Personal Skills Course from GPA Partnership on campus which I found unusual. I did however reflect on my own tactics and how I tend to approach tasks and people. The DPhil was presented as a manageable project that needs clarity, setting objectives, interim realistic aims and strategy. A good tip for prioritizing was to keep different material spaces for different priority tasks, which is not particularly useful to me because I don’t have that much space. Additionally, I don’t like paper to take up that space so I usually strip letters, notes etc to their core volume, which can be a note in my notebook.

A good tip that I am piloting and seems to work is: Use 10 minutes at the start of the day to plan (jot down 5-10 things that have to be done today). Use the plan. And spend another 10 minutes at the end of the day reflecting on own failure to accomplish the tasks, move for next day etc.

impressions from the feminist history conference

Reflections on the event

This is not intended to be a review of the Conference, and it does not function as a minutes document either. It consists more of a personal reflection and always within the framework (which is still shaping) of my research. In this light, I will refer to the various talks and presentations but it will be my interpretation of the arguments presented, in the sense that there may be a point more pertinent to the presenter’s discussion which I may have overlooked here. Continue reading “impressions from the feminist history conference”

In Depth:Feminism and History Conference and Update

The Artists page has been updated , with some more names and a few resources. This week I am looking at

intersections of feminism and technoscience and also searching for artists using computer media that focus

on gender/body/identity.

On Saturday Bishopsgate Institute is holding a one-day-conference in Feminism and History (organised by the History of Feminism Network in partnership with the Raphael Samuel History Centre, Goldsmiths, University of London-History and Politics Departments and the Graduate School), which I will be attending.

From the site:

“This one-day conference will explore the relationship between feminism and the making and writing of history. Postgraduates and early career scholars will present papers on many different aspects of the history of women’s movements since 1800, including ‘women of letters’, feminism and religion and re-thinking the first and second waves of feminism. The day will also discuss the rise of feminist history in the context of the women’s liberation movement and ask whether there is still a future for feminist history.

Speakers include Professor Barbara Taylor (University of East London), Dr Lucy Bland (London Metropolitan University), Dr Kathryn Gleadle (University of Oxford), Dr Lucy Delap (University of Cambridge) and Dr Margaretta Jolly (University of Sussex)”.
Booking and info here.
The Feminist Acivist Forum will also have a presence there, presenting their work on ‘Outwrite’ newspaper.

QueerNL workshop

This came from the Queeruption list -announcement of the workshop (21-23 November 08) follows:

“We would like to propose a 2dh5 workshop on queer activism in the
Netherlands. The Netherlands had a very active queer and lgbt actvist
movement in the 70s and 80s. This movement had organised public
demonstrations, started public debates, and played a huge role in changing
the legal as well as social response to homosexuality and related issues.
However, over the last decade and a half, the momentum has steadily
decreased. Society at large, including lgbt people, see the struggle as
having been won, and there being nothing left to achieve. There are now
only a handful of queer groups as well as lgbt groups in the country, and
a majority of the latter have evolved into institutionalised lobbying
groups. Continue reading “QueerNL workshop”