This contemplative studies course centers the work of feminist foremothers on how we understand our identities as always becoming, even as we live in generations deep roots.
This concept is beautifully explained by this short interview with feminist M. Jacquie Alexander: "We never quite know who we are... because we are always making and re-making ourselves...but we know some of our inheritances."
In this course, we look at the ways that identity labels can both help and hinder our explorations of the dynamic multiplicity within our own being. We examine the kinds of rigid stories that are written onto our own flesh by systems and relations of power. We consider the un-languaged stories written into our cells and memories in our ancestral connections. And we ask how our interconnection with one another requires we know ourselves-as-becoming-beings.
Along the way, we critique how racial hierarchies, patriarchy, antisemitism, and ethno-nationalisms force us into binaries of identity and seek to rupture our inter-dependent relationships with one another. As we do this deeper, expansive identity work, we come to realize a fuller vision for coalition-based social movements that sees difference within and across identities as a strength, not a hindrance, to collective liberation.
Feminist foremothers in the 1970s and 1980s created in-depth conversations and theories on identity. They did so because they were trying to organize social and political movements on behalf of "women"—but "women" is one of the most layered, diverse words imaginable.
There is no one woman's experiences.
There are women of many different experiences: women of cis and trans experience; women who colonize and who are colonized; women who own other people's labor and those whose labor is owned by them; women who benefit from whiteness and women who are targeted by racism; women who are targeted by antisemitism but still benefit from whiteness within the racial hierarchies of colonial histories, etc.
And thus, even as feminist leaders organized for women's rights in the 1980s, they had to come into rich, deep, and spacious understandings of difference. They left us an archive of writings on identity that hold more conceptual and relational frameworks than what often circulates in today's discourse on identity politics.
(If you take this course, you will also learn what the 3 Black feminist writers of the Combahee River Collective actually meant by coining the term identity politics in 1977!).
Course teachings come from the writings of feminists Adrienne Rich, Ella Shohat, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Leila Ahmed, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Daniel Boyarin.
Course includes 16 audio lectures, which weave the teachings on feminist texts with prompts for contemplative feminist writing practices. (If you are a visual artist, we encourage you to adapt the principles of the writing exercises to your medium of expression of choice!) A theme of the contemplative writing exercises is gathering objects, textures, and sensory memories—so think of the writing prompts like an invitation to feminist expression, art-making, and creativity.
This course curriculum is only available for registration when we offer it in the live format model with the 3 workshops alongside your curriculum! (That being said, for those who cannot attend live, the workshop recordings will be made available.) Plan 90 minutes of homework to prepare for each workshop, and please see our recommended texts (under the registration button!).
An Early Bird $997 tuition is available through April 20. (Regular course tuition is $1297.)
Access to the curriculum (audio lectures and workbooks) includes future upgrades (for up to 18 months).
Why is this a pilot course?
Because it is a brand new Feminism School offering! For pilot courses, tuition is reduced as we test out the material, get feedback, and make any changes for future offerings. When you enroll in a pilot course, you always get free upgrades for later, more extended versions of the curriculum.
Why is the course capped at 8 people?
We have found for transformative online workshops, 8 people is about the max for having a connected space of learning. In our approach to teaching feminist texts and nuanced concepts, it is also important to have both teaching and discussion within a seminar, and smaller workshops allow for this weaving.
I have already taken The Emotional Self-Defense Course. Is this course a good fit for my next steps?
This course is a good fit either before OR after taking The Emotional Self-Defense Course. Intersections of Identity extends the concepts in Modules 11 and 12 of ESD, as well as gives you more training in both contemplation and feminist studies intellectual traditions.
Why was this course built?
For so many reasons—but its primary purpose is to offer ways to celebrate multiplicity within our identity, so that we can do better self-reflection, more holistic healing, and more dynamic and fruitful coalition building with others. The course was also built to provide tools from feminist history to counter the racist, patriarchal, and antisemitic ideologies of white nationalism.
I am working on a major writing project. Will this course help?
Yes! Dr. George's speciality within her academic research is feminist writing methods, drawing on her extended study of the history of transformative feminist writing practices that catalyzed new paradigms of perception. These concepts will ground you in your creativity and challenge much of how writing is taught within academia. The result is a more joyful, fluid, rooted, and awakened writing process.
You can expect practices that bring you into integration with yourself and your ancestral connections and stories. Systems of abusive power fragment us: feminist learning is often a process of re-membering that brings us back into more intimate relationship with our own body, spirit, and psyche.
Dr. George's speciality is teaching contemplative writing practices, but for those who learn best in visual languages, she encourages you to adopt and adapt the practices for diverse artistic expressions—including painting, drawing, dance, and cartooning.
This course is for anyone, of all genders, interested in how feminist foremothers can lead us in rituals and contemplative practices for deep identity work and soul reflection and formation. Our learning is to connect the inner work of integration to the outer work of collective change and healing. The path of that healing takes courage, as we will be tending to the pieces of ourselves sliced, fragmented and fractured.