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Feminism and Social Change: Suggested Readings

In November 2003, Stephanie Riger posted a query on WMST-L seeking
suggested readings for a course on feminism and social change.  She
later posted a summary of the responses she received.  What follows
are her query and summary, including two syllabi, and a
preliminary syllabus she put together using suggestions offered.
For additional WMST-L files available on the Web, see the
WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 06:14:22 -0600
From: sriger <sriger AT UIC.EDU>
Subject: Feminism and social change - need readings
I'm teaching a course in the spring on Feminism and social change and I'm
looking for suggestions of readings in the following areas:
-consciousness raising
-creating alternative organizations
-legal tactics for social change
-extra legal tactics
-political reform
-violent resistance
-nonviolent and civil disobedience
-lesbian separatism
-collaboration withother groups
-any other strategies.
Please write me privately and i'll compile the responses and send them to the
Thanks in advance for your help,
Stephanie Riger
sriger  AT  uic.edu
Date: Thursday, December 04, 2003 7:05 AM -0600
From: sriger <sriger AT UIC.EDU>
Subject: Feminism and social change
Recently I queried the list for readings for a class on feminism and
social change, and I agreed to post responses to everyone.  Below are
most of the responses.  i also got a wonderful set of syllabi from
someone and I'd like to post them, too, but alas the name of the
author got separated from the syllabi and lost!  If you sent me these
syllabi, send me an e-mail and I'll attach your name to the syllabi
and post them You deserve credit for them - they are terrific! Thanks
to all who helped on this.  At some point in the near future, I will
post the syllabus that I develop for my course.

Stephanie Riger
sriger  AT  uic.edu
>===== Original Message From Laurie Finke <finkel AT kenyon.edu>:
I have found the following pretty useful in teaching about feminist
social change. Some address the topics you outline below.

Ellen Messer-Davidow, "Know-How" in Engendering Knowledge, ed. Joan
Hartman and Ellen Messer-Davidow.

Chapter 27 in Our Bodies Ourselves is a veritable how to manual on
social activism.  It's called "Organizing for Change."

On consciousness raising and all things radical feminist, I have
successfully used Daring to Be Bad and also the Duke Scriptorium which
has a large number of documents from the radical feminist movement. The
web address is http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/

On terrorism (violent resistance) I have used Robin Morgan's Demon Lover
which I think is interesting in many ways.
>===== Original Message From isbel ingham <ingham AT pdx.edu>:
I teach a similar course, and have tried these books, all of which worked
well for some people, and not so well for others.  I really like them all:
The newest edition of This Bridge Called My Back
Sing, Whisper, Shout, Pray!: Feminist Visions for a Just World
by M. Jacqui Alexander
Politics in Liberation: An Introductory Reader on Political Life
by  Nicky Gonzalez Yuen
Readings for Diversity and Social Justice : an Anthology on Racism, Sexism,
Anti-semitism, Heterosexism, Classism, and Ableism
by Maurianne / Blumenfeld, Warren J. / Castaneda, Rosie / Hackman, H. Adams
/ Taylor & Francis
Borderlands, by Gloria Anzaldua has a great chapter on consciousness raising
Yuen's book has wonderful (and hopeful) information about creating
alternative organizations and political reform
Of course This Bridge covers separatism
>===== Original Message From "Liz Dedrick" <ldedrick AT hotmail.com>:
Nancy Naples has written several books related to feminist
activism.  I can say that her one on community activism is good and
touches on several of the topics you listed.  Also (Saskia?)
Wieringa's book _Subversive Women_ is useful and gives a nice global
perspective to feminist activist.
>===== Original Message From Kimberly Simmons <kcs AT maine.rr.com>:
I am teaching a very similar class in the spring and am late on
my book order -- I would appreciate any advice that you get!

The Story of Jane by Laura Kaplan is a good read -- and raises
interesting questions about feminist process and leadership; I am also
considering Faye Ginsburg's book on the choice movement, b/c she gets
to the complexity of community organizing so well, although it is a bit
dated now.

I like Arelene Stein's work on lesbian separatism and generational
issues about what it means to be a lesbian...

Feminist Organizations ed. by Myra Marx Ferree and Frances Fox Piven (?
that doesn't seem right) is great, but getting a bit dated too...

The latest women's review of books had an essay about books featuring
women in politics, some of which seemed interesting.

When I taught a similar course a few years ago, I used Raka Ray's book
on feminism in India - -it is a brilliant analysis of political fields
-- and how feminist activism needs to be understood as situated, but it
was a little too theoretical for my students.
>===== Original Message From Marjorie Jolles <marjorie-jolles AT uiowa.edu>:
A great essay on consciousness raising--or, more specifically, what
"feminist consciousness" means, is Chapter 1 from Sandra Bartky's book
Femininity and Domination (Routledge, 1990). The chapter is called
"Phenomenology of Feminist Consciousness," I think. It's beautifully
written, very accessible, and my students have all really liked it.
>===== Original Message From Judith Ezekiel <ezekiel AT univ-tlse2.fr>:
Always difficult to praise one's own work, but my book,
Feminism in the Heartland, has extensive sections on
consciousness-raising, alternative institutions, legal and extra-legal
tactics, coalition building etc.  I hope you'll consider it for your
>===== Original Message From Shereen Siddiqui <ssid8129 AT fau.edu>:
Have you had any luck with books yet? I've found plenty of books on feminism,
but still no general books on activism. If we can't find something, maybe we
ought to write one!
Here are some of the books I'm considering right now:
Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks
Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings by Miriam Schneir
Feminism in Our Time: The Essential Writings, World War II to the Present by
Miriam Schneir
That Takes Ovaries: Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts
Third Wave Agenda: Being Feminist, Doing Feminism by Heywood and Drake
Sisterhood is Forever by Robin Morgan
Sisterhood is Global by Robin Morgan
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2003 06:28:39 -0600
From: sriger <sriger AT UIC.EDU>
Subject: FWD: feminism and social change
More readings on feminism and social change...
>===== Original Message From Nancy Naples <nancy.naples AT uconn.edu>:
you should also check out Heidi Gottfried's ed. collection
entitled Feminism and Social Change as well as the bibiliography Karen
Bojar and I have included in Teaching Feminist Activism. N --

Nancy A. Naples President Elect - Sociologists for Women in Society
Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies
University of Connecticut
344 Manchester Road, Unit 2068
Storrs, CT 06269-2068  E-Mail: Nancy.Naples  AT  uconn.edu


UConn WS

Sociologists for Women in Society
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 19:41:23 -0600
From: sriger <sriger AT UIC.EDU>
Subject: Feminism and Social Change - first syllabus
These wonderful syllabi are from Rose Corrigan - THANKS ROSE!
Please contact her if you have questions. I'm sending them in 2

 Rose Corrigan
Assistant Professor
Department of Government
John Jay College/CUNY
p: 212.237.8244
e: rcorrigan  AT  jjay.cuny.edu

 Women, Activism and Social Change
Spring 1999

January 21      Introduction
        in-class readings: SCUM Manifesto, NOW Bill of Rights

January 28      What Does the Academy Have To Do With Activism?
        Heidi Hartmann et. al., "Bringing Together Feminist Theory and Practice: 
A Collective Interview"
        Layli Phillips & Barbara McCaskill, "Who's Schooling Who?: Black Women 
and the Bringing of the Everyday Into Academe, or Why We Started The Womanist"

February 4      Mobilization & Participation    Reflection Paper #1 DUE
        Sara Evans, "Southern White Women in a Southern Black Movement"
        Sandra Morgen, "`It's the Whole Power of the City Against Us!': The
Development of Political Consciousness in a Women's Health Care Coalition"
        Carol Hardy-Fanta, "Latina Women and Political Consciousness: La Chispa 
Que Prende"

February 11     Getting Organized
        Alice Echols, Daring to Be Bad, chs. 4 & 5: "Varieties of Radical 
Feminism" & "The Eruption of Difference"
        Joreen, "The Tyranny of Structurelessness
        Stephanie Riger, "Challenges of Success: Stages of Growth in Feminist

February 18     Women & The State       Reflection Paper #2 DUE
        Jean Bethke Elshtain, "Antigone's Daughters: Reflections on Female 
Identity and the State"
        Frances Fox Piven, "Ideology and the State: Women, Power, and the 
Welfare State"
        Hester Eisenstein, "The Australian Femocratic Experiment: A Feminist 
Case for Bureaucracy"

February 25     Alternatives to the State
        Laura Kaplan, The Story of Jane

March 4 Creating Coalitions     Reflection Paper #3 DUE
        Bernice Johnson Reagon, "Coalition Politics"
        Beverly Smith, "Crossing the Great Divides: Race, Class, and Gender in
Southern Women's Organizing, 1979-1991"
        Ellen Scott, "Creating Partnerships for Change: Alliances and Betrayals 
in the Racial Politics of Two Feminist Organizations"
        Ruth Schwartz, "New Alliances, Strange Bedfellows: Lesbians, Gay Men, 
and AIDS"

March 11        Political Communities
        Iris Marion Young, "The Ideal of Community and the Politics of Difference"
        Adrienne Rich, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence"


March 25        Reconceiving History: Birth Control in African American Communities
        Simone Caron, "Birth Control and the Black Community in the 1960's: 
Genocide or Power Politics?"
        Angela Davis, "Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive Rights"
        Suzanne Shende, "Fighting the Violence against Our Sisters: Prosecution 
of Pregnant Women and the Coercive Use of Norplant"

April 1 Practicing Politics: Anti-Pornography Movements
        Donald Downs, The New Politics of Pornography

April 8 "The Master's Tools."?: Abortion & Privacy in Public Discourse
        Wendy Brown, "Reproductive Freedom and the Right to Privacy: A Paradox 
for Feminists"
        Zillah Eisenstein, "Reproductive Rights and the Privatized State: The 
Webster Decision, Post-Webster Restrictions, and the Bush Administration" &
"Revisioning Privacy for Democracy"
        Rosalind Pollack Petchesky, "The Body as Property: A Feminist Re-vision"

April 15        Community Organizing?: Oregon's Anti-Gay Initiatives
        in-class film: "Ballot Measure 9"
        Suzanne Pharr, "Community Organizing and the Religious Right"

April 22        Can Theory Matter?: Welfare Reform
        David Zucchino, Myth of the Welfare Queen
        Gwendolyn Mink, "The Lady and the Tramp (II)"
        Nancy Fraser & Linda Gordon, "A Genealogy of Dependency: Tracing a 
Keyword of the U.S. Welfare State"

April 29        TBA             Reflection Paper #4 DUE (or earlier)
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 19:42:18 -0600
From: sriger <sriger AT UIC.EDU>
Subject: Feminism and Social Change - second syllabus
Here's another from Rose Corrigan: See my other e-mail for more info.

Women's Studies Internship Course
Spring 2000

Jan 24  Introduction
in-class readings: SCUM Manifesto, NOW Bill of Rights, Redstockings Manifesto

Jan 31  What is Women's Studies?
Charlotte Bunch, "Not By Degrees," in Passionate Politics
*Heidi Hartmann et. al., "Bringing Together Feminist Theory and Practice: A
Collective Interview" in Signs
Daphne Patai & Noretta Koertge, "On Airing Dirty Linen," "Introduction to the
World of Women's Studies," and "Training the Cadres" in Professing Feminism
Barbara Smith, "Racism and Women's Studies," in Anzaldoa, Haciendo Caras
Mary Evans, "In Praise of Theory: The Case for Women's Studies" in Bowles &
Duelli Klein, Theories of Women's Studies

Feb 7   Framing Feminist Research
Janice Ristock & Joan Pennell, Community Research as Empowerment

Feb 14  Discussion Day
Student response papers

Feb 21  Frameworks for Thinking about Feminism & the State
Hester Eisenstein, "The Australian Femocratic Experiment: A Feminist Case for
Bureaucracy" in Ferree & Martin, Feminist Organizations
*Jean Bethke Elshtain, "Antigone's Daughters: Reflections on Female Identity
and the State" in Diamond, Families, Politics, and Public Policy
*Frances Fox Piven, "Ideology and the State: Women, Power, and the Welfare
State" in
Gordon, Women, the State, and Welfare

Feb 28  State-Centered Movements
*Joyce Gelb & Marian Lief Palley, "Feminism and the American Political System"
in Women & Public Policies
Donald Downs, chs. 2, 3, 4 in The New Politics of Pornography
*Kristin Bumiller, "Victims in the Shadow of the Law," in Signs

Mar 6   Alternatives to Working with the State
Laura Kaplan, The Story of Jane


Mar 20  Discussion day
Student response papers

Mar 27  Thinking About Working Together or, Can't We All Just Get Along?
*Mar-a Lugones & Pat Alake Rosezelle, "Sisterhood and Friendship as Feminist
Models" in Kramarae & Spender, The Knowledge Explosion
*Iris Marion Young, "The Ideal of Community and the Politics of Difference" in
Social Theory & Practice
*Stephanie Riger, "Challenges of Success: Stages of Growth in Feminist
Organizations" in Feminist Studies
Carol Mueller, "The Organizational Basis of Conflict in Contemporary Feminism"
in Ferree & Martin, Feminist Organizations

Apr 3   Leadership, Power, & Organizational Structure
*Joreen, "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" in The Second Wave
*Chela Sandoval, "Feminist and Racism: A Report on the 1981 National Women's
Studies Association Conference," in Anzaldua, Haciendo Caras
Allison Tom, "Children of Our Culture? Class, Power, and Learning in a
Feminist Bank" in Ferree & Martin, Feminist Organizations
*Kathy Ferguson, "Femininity as Subordination" and "The Client as the Second
Sex" in The Feminist Case Against Bureaucracy

Apr 10  Conflicts & Coalitions
*Ellen Scott, "Creating Partnerships for Change: Alliances and Betrayals in
the Racial Politics of Two Feminist Organizations" in Gender & Society
*Ruth Schwartz, "New Alliances, Strange Bedfellows: Lesbians, Gay Men, and
AIDS" in Stein, Sisters, Sexperts, Queers
*Bernice Johnson Reagon, "Coalition Politics" in Smith, Home Girls

Apr 17  "Success," "Failure," & Change
*Janet Gornick et al. The structure and activities of rape crisis centers in
the early 1980s.
Nancy Matthews, "Tactical Choices by Rape Crisis Centers" in Ferree & Martin,
Feminist Organizations
Margaret Strobel, "Organizational Learning in the Chicago Women's Liberation
Union" in Ferree & Martin, Feminist Organizations

Apr 24  Discussion day
Student response papers

May 1   TBD
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 12:20:44 -0600
From: sriger <sriger AT UIC.EDU>
Subject: Feminism and Social Change Syllabus I
Thanks to all, especially Rose Corrigan, who sent me suggestions for
this syllabus.  Thanks also to Becki Campbell whose syllabus provided
the model and much of the readings for this.  It's not quite done and
I still welcome your comments and suggestions.  I'm particularly
looking for videos for each topic, and for some more recent articles
to replace some of the oldies.  Here's the first part:

University of Illinois at Chicago
Gender & Women's Studies 390
Feminism and Social Change
Instructor:     Stephanie Riger, Ph.D.
                1062C Behavioral Sciences Building
                sriger  AT  uic.edu
                Office hours: Wed. 10am-12noon and by appointment

Class:          Wednesdays, 1-4pm, 0316 SH

Required readings: A packet of readings may be purchased. Other
readings are on the web, as noted.

Purpose: The purpose of this course is to examine strategies for
social change from a feminist perspective.  We will consider and
critique a variety of strategies that feminists have used and place
those strategies within their historical time frames.

This class is the final class in the Gender and Women's Studies minor
and assumes that you have a good grounding in women's studies and
feminist theory.  We will not cover introductory ideas about feminism
but rather will consider how to apply those ideas to bring about
change.  If you have never had a course in women's studies, this
course probably is not appropriate for you.

This course is a seminar and students are expected to be active
participants in class discussions.  I will not lecture and I expect
that our classes will consist of discussion of the readings, debate,
critique and exploration.  For this format to be successful, you must
read and think about the assignments before coming to class.


1.  Leading Class Discussion

2.  Critical Analysis Papers

3.  Final Project

4.  Final Exam

Schedule of Topics and Readings

Jan 14: Introduction
        Visit Hull House.  Video: Women of Hull House

Jan 21: Consciousness Raising

Sarachild, K. (1973).  Consciousness-Raising: A Radical
Weapon ( http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/fem/sarachild.html )

Longres, J. F. & Eileen McLeod (1980).  Consciousness raising and social work
practice.  Social Casework: The Journal of Contemporary Social Work, 61,

Rich, A.  (1979).  Women and honor: Some notes on lying.  In On Lies,
Secrets, and Silence (pp. 185-194).

Bartky, S. (1977).  Towards a phenomenology of feminist consciousness.
In Vetetrling- Braggin, M. et al, eds., Feminism and Philosophy,
pp. 22-34.

Jan 28: Creation of Alternative Services  (I)

Enke, A. (2003).  Taking over domestic space: The battered women's
movement and public protest.  In V. Gosse and R. Moser, The world the
sixties made.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Schechter, S. (1982).  The roots of the battered women's movement:
Personal and political.  In Women and male violence: The visions and
struggles of the battered women's shelter movement.  (chapters 2 & 3).

Pride, A. (1981) To respectability and back: A ten year view of the
anti-rape movement.  Fight Back! (pp. 114-118).

Chicago Women's Health Center web site:

Riger, S.  (1994). Challenges of success: Stages of growth in feminist
organizations.  Feminist Studies, 20, 275-300.

Video: Voices Heard, Sisters Unseen  HAS ANYONE SEEN THIS VIDEO?

Feb 4: Creation of Alternative Services (II): Jane

Jane: An abortion service.

Surgal, R. and the CWLU Herstory Committee (1999). Organizing a clandestine
abortion service.  CWLU Herstory Website:

Arcana, J. (1999).  Feminist politics and abortion in the USA: A
discussion with Judith Arcana.

ACCESS: Keeping abortion legal is not enough.  Off Our Backs,.December, 1995.

video: Jane: An Abortion Service  ***IS this the best Jane movie?***

Feb 11: Creation of alternative services (III): Education

Liberation school for women

Gardiner, J. K. (1999). History of GWS at UIC

Relke, D. M .A. (1994).  Feminist pedagogy and the integration of
knowledge: Toward a more interdisciplinary university
http://www.usak.ca/wgst/journals/conf3.htm ***This article isn't great
at explaining feminist pedagogy- is there a better one on the web?


Riger, S., Brecke, C., & Wiederhold, E. (1995).  Dynamics of the
pluralistic classroom: A selected bibliography.  Journal of the
National Women's Studies Association, 7, 58-75.  (on Blackboard)




        Guest speaker: Judy Gardiner, a founder of the UIC GWS program

Feb. 18: Feminist research

Hartmann, H. Bravo, E. (1996)., Bringing together feminist theory and
practice: A collective interview in Signs, pp. 917. (on Blackboard)

Institute for Women's Policy Research  http://www.iwpr.org/about.html

Stanley, L. & Wise, S. (1979).  Feminist research, feminist consciousness, and
experiences of sexism.  Women's Studies Int. Quart, 2, 359-374.

Acker, J. Barry, K. & Esseveld, J. (1991).  Objectivity and truth:
Problems in doing feminist research.  Beyond Methodology: Feminist
Scholarship as lived research.

Fonow, J. M. & Cook, J. A. (1991).  Back to the future: A look at the
second wave of feminist epistemology and methodology. Beyond
Methodology: Feminist Scholarship as lived research. (pp. 1-15).

        *Any ideas for a video on this?

Feb. 25: Political Reform Strategies: Electoral Politics

Bunch, C. (1981).  The reform tool kit.  Building Feminist Theory
(pp.  189-201).

Faludi, S. (1991).  Ms. Smith leaves Washington: The backlash in
national politics.  Backlash: The Undeclared war against American
women (pp. 257-280).

Gelb, J. & Palley, M. L. (1996).  Feminism and the American Political
System.  In Women & Public Policies, Charlottesville: University Press
of Virginia.

Jan Shakowsky's web site:

*video: Alice Paul "We were arrested, of course!" HAS ANYONE SEEN THIS VIDEO?

March 3: Changing laws

Dworkin, A & MacKinnon, C. A. (1988).  Pornography and civil rights.
In Pornography and Civil Rights, pp. 24-95.

Strossen, N. (2000). Defending pornography: Free speech, se, and the fight for
women's rights (excerpts)

Freeman, J. (1991).  How "sex" got into Title VII: Persistent
opportunism as a maker of public policy.

Valente, R. L., Hart, B. J., Zeya, S. & Malefyt, M. (2001).  The
Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (pp. 279-301). In Renzetti, C. M.,
Edleson, J. L., & Bergen, R. K (eds.), Sourcebook on Violence Against
Women.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

*video: Two views on feminism (interviews with Catherine MacKinnon,
Camille Paglia, Christina Hoff Summers HAS ANYONE SEEN THIS VIDEO? Any
other suggested videos for this topic?

March 10: Using Feminist Research in Legal Cases

Winkler, K. J. (Feb 5, 1986).  Two Scholars' Conflict in Sears
Sex-Bias Case Sets off war in Women's History.  Chronicle of Higher
Education, 2, 8.

Riger, S. (1988). Comment on "Women's history goes to trial: EEOC
v. Sears, Roebuck, and Company."  SIGNS: Journal of Women, Culture and
Society, 13, 897- 903.

Lawrence et al. v. Texas

Guest speaker: John D'Emilio

March 17: Extra-legal tactics

Nikki Craft: Inspiring protest.  Femicide: The politics of woman killing (pp.

"I'm glad I'm pissed off: The revolution of angry women"  off our backs
April, 1995.

"Beyond boycott: Sabotage."  The Second Wave, 5, 29-30.

Wldwomoon, S. (1981).  We will not be silent victims.  Fight Back! pp.

"Manure mailed to senators."  New Women's Times, September, 1982.
Guerillagirls   http://www.guerillagirls.com

Womongold, Marcia (1981).  Setting a "bad" example.  Fight Back!  222-225.

McAllister, P. (1988).  Paint brushes in the night.  You can't kill the

        *any ideas for speakers/video on this?

March 24: Spring Break

March 31: Lesbian separatism

Frye, M. (1983). Some reflections on separatism and power.  The
politics of reality (pp.  95-109).

Bunch, C. (1986).  Learning from lesbian separatism.  Passionate
Politics: Feminist Theory in Action (pp. 192-191).

"The art of the impossible: Some thought on lesbian separatist
strategy" off our backs, December, 1995.

D'Emilio, J. Cycles of change, questions of strategy: The gay and
lesbian movement after fifty years.  In The World Turned: Essays on
Gay History, Politics, and Culture.  Durham, NC: Duke University

*speakers/video ideas??

April 7: Creating coalitions

Reagon, B. J., Coalition politics: Turning the century.  In Smith,
Home Girls: A Feminist Anthology (pp. 356-368).

Scott, E.  Creating partnerships for change: Alliances and betrayals
in the racial politics of two feminist organizations" Gender & Society
(on Blackboard)

Johnson, S. (1989).  Gay rights and AIDS: Men's issues sidetracking
feminism again.  Wildfire: Igniting the She/Volution (pp 185-192).

Video: Beyond Beijing  42 minutes *Is this the best video on this?

April 14:  Media: Books, magazines, web sites, art

Women's eNews  http://www.womensenews.org

Our Bodies Ourselves  http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org

Beyondmedia:  http://www.beyondmedia.org/about.html

Feminist Online Magazine challenges stereotypes of Iranian women




Judy Chicago  http://www.judychicago.com

Chicago Women's Liberation Union gallery:

Article about Vagina Monologues:

        *Video: Vagina Monologues

April 21:  Learning from the past

Strobel, M. (19??).  Organizational learning in the Chicago Women's
Liberation Union.  In Ferree M. M. & Martin, P. Y. Feminist
Organizations: Harvest of the New Women's Movement.

April 28: Class presentations

May 5: Exam week

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