Women's Intellectual History
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Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Liberal Studies
Course Number: GLIB 5145
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
- Liberal Arts
- Gender and Sexuality Studies
Women’s Intellectual History complements and corrects the traditional narrative of Western thought by and about mainly men. We ask, what are the historical assumptions about the connections between women’s sexuality and their learning, beginning with the Ancients? What role did religion and “Natural Philosophy” play in facilitating or limiting women’s access to education? How did continuing debate over whether the mind “has sex” influence the cultural roles for which women should be educated? Was there a causal relation between la querelle des femmes and the diffusion of l’égalité des sexes, first proposed by Cartisian Poullain de la Barre? We examine the texts and contexts of earlier “learned ladies” that feminist scholarship has recovered over the past forty years: Enheduanna, Sappho, Diotima, Aspasia, Hypatia, early Christian martyr Vibia Perpetua, Hildegard of Bingen and her 12th century contemporary, Heloise, the erotic trobaritz, and Christine de Pizan’s political visions of a “City of Women.” We ask, did women have the same “Renaissance” as men? We read Tullia d’Aragona, Veronica Franco, and Gaspara Stampa, female humanists, “honorable courtesans,” and poets in 16th-century Venice who develop Neo-Platonist ideas of their own. We consider Elizabeth I of England as an Early Modern humanist “prince,” one of “the monstrous regiment of women” rulers in Europe, and beacon of Early Modern women thinkers. We scrutinize new critical perspectives, for example, an enlightened “republic of women,” to elucidate disputes in current theory and historiography about a lineage of earlier “feminists” and what we have inherited from them.
Not open to Undergraduate students.