Why take a feminist course on identity?

Currently open for enrollment as part of Feminist Leadership Training, Mentor-Scholar Programs, and Feminist Studies Mentorships.

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.  

Course Details

As a graduate level-course, we encourage participants to have access to JSTOR or other research databases. This is a Feminism School Core Curriculum course.

  • Course teachings come from the writings of feminist scholars and writers Adrienne Rich, Ella Shohat, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Jasbir Puar, AnaLouise Keating, Brittney Cooper, Barbara Smith, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Leila Ahmed, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Daniel Boyarin, among others.

  • Course includes 17 content-rich audio lectures on feminist scholarship; a 75-page Course Journal; and 7 course videos on contemplative practices.

  • Learn from more than 6.5 hours of Ph.D.-level teaching on feminist scholarship that gives you a grounding in multiple streams of feminist theory—including Black studies, Chicana studies, Arab studies, Jewish cultural studies, postcolonial and transnational studies, and the body of work the past 30 years in women's studies on the concept of intersectionality.

  • Course tuition: $1997 for one year of enrollment. Tuition also includes 1 private (50-minute) class session with instructor to be used within a year. The session includes feedback on your Course Journal writing exercises.

Recommended Texts to Purchase

(or check out from a library)

  • Blood, Bread, and Poetry

    by Adrienne Rich

  • Yours in Struggle: Three Feminist Texts on Anti-Semitism and Racism

    by Elly Bulkin, Barbara Smith, and Minnie Bruce Pratt

  • A Border Passage: From Cairo to America—A Woman's Journey

    by Leila Ahmed

  • Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcolonality and Feminism

    by Trinh T. Minh-ha

  • Interviews/Entrevistas

    by Gloria Anzaldúa, Edited by AnaLouise Keating

Our identities are an inheritance, a rooting, a movement, and an emergence.

"We never quite know who we are... because we are always making and re-making ourselves...but we know some of our inheritances." ~ M. Jacquie Alexander

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-in-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.

What are Contemplative Feminist Practices?

This course uses the words and methods of feminist foremothers to teach you techniques for contemplative feminist practices. Contemplative feminism is an approach we teach at Feminism School that combines our study of feminist texts with somatic and creative practices that unfurl deeper learning.

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.

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone, of all genders, who is in a position of leadership that would be supported by a grounding in feminist studies across many fields—including Black studies, postcolonial, and Arab and Jewish cultural studies.

The course is also for those  interested in how feminist foremothers can lead us in rituals and contemplative practices for deep identity work and soul-making formations. 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.  At the same time, the path of the learning supports creative desire, intellectual nourishment, and exciting change processes.



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