FDN 3545/5545, Women, Identity, Relationship, and the Writings of Simone de Beauvoir

The dominant developmental paradigm in our culture assumes an inevitable struggle between the care of self and the care of others. This course will explore the assumptions implicit in our common notions of identity and relationship, focusing in particular on the oppressive outcomes for men and women which have often followed from these assumptions. It will offer the work of Beauvoir as an explicit alternative paradigm, one which we will engage through three mediums employed by Beauvoir: philosophy, memoir, and novel.

The course will be conducted in a seminar format, in which the participants will move back and forth between personal reflections regarding their understanding of gendered identity, and the texts of Beauvoir and others who will assist us as we develop an alternative notion.

I would expect this course to be of interest to a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate students, for whom the exploration of gendered reality using the tools of cultural studies and philosophy, particularly the existentialism of Beauvoir, may prove useful and interesting.

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