PHILOSOPHY 386: Psychoanalysis and French Feminism


Earlham College, Spring Semester 2013-2014
Wednesday 7:00-10:30, Carpenter 321
Instructor: Ferit Güven
Office: Carpenter 328
Office Hours: By appointment
Office Phone: 983-1399 (voice mail)
web page:

Course Description: The aim of this course is to investigate the relationship between psychoanalysis and feminist philosophy. Our initial focus will be on Freud and Lacan in order to lay the foundation of the feminist readings of these thinkers. Subsequently we will read the works of Simone de Beauvoir, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva and Judith Butler. While the primary focus of our analysis will be French feminism, we will also read different feminist interpretations of psychoanalysis.

Texts: Freud, Selections from Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria; and from Three Essays on Sexuality; Female Sexuality; Femininity (Lecture XXXIII of New Introductory Lectures)
Lacan, The Mirror Stage (from Ecrits); The Signification of the Phallus (from Ecrits); Selections from Seminar XX: On Feminine Sexuality.
Beauvoir, Selections from The Second Sex.
Irigaray, Selections from Speculum of the Other Woman; and This Sex Which is Not One.
Kristeva, "Women's Time"
Butler, Selections from Gender Trouble.

Learning Goals: From General Education Requirement Goals at Earlham College
*Close and critical reading, thoughtful reflection, ready discussion and cogent writing.
*Increased adeptness in thoughtfully considering texts of all sorts, whether singly or in comparison with one another.

Requirements and Evaluation: You are expected to write three papers: I will provide paper topics for each assignment. You are also allowed to decide on your own topic provided that you discuss your topic with me at least a week before the deadline. Along with the paper topics I will also provide specific guidelines for each topic. Besides this, for every paper (including papers on topics of your own choice) you are responsible for following the general guidelines provided. (See "Comments and Suggestions for Papers").

Each student will prepare one protocol. A protocol is a carefully edited summary/notes of the previous two class sessions written in full sentences. Protocols will be 2 single-spaced pages and will be photocopied by the student who wrote it and handed out to all students at the beginning of each week to be read aloud.  The protocol will serve as a cumulative record of the course. In addition to reviewing the material covered in the previous class, it should include announcements made in class and questions not addressed in class. The best protocols will be those that do not simply reproduce word for word everything that was said during class, but that rearrange the material thematically, editing out what was unimportant and emphasizing what was significant. One of the advantages of the protocols is to allow you to think during class and not just take notes; because someone will be taking notes for you, you can concentrate on the ideas being presented, and participate without having to write constantly. Also, you will have a summary of every class.

There might be announced or unannounced quizzes either at the beginning or at the end of the sessions in order to ensure that the students are completing the reading. There will be no make-ups for the quizzes.
Your grade will be calculated according to the following distribution: Paper 1: 20%; Paper 2: 20%; Final Paper: 25%; Protocol: 15%; Quizzes: 10%; Class participation and attendance: 10%. There will be no final examination.

Participation and Attendance: Attendance and participation are important dimensions of the course and your grade.  I expect you to come to class prepared and ready to participate, i.e., having read the text carefully (at least twice), and ready to raise and answer questions.  If you have not completed the reading for the day, you will not be able to participate in class discussions.
The success of this course depends on your attendance. If you miss two sessions, you will lose your entire participation grade (%10). If you miss more than three sessions, you will fail this course regardless of your grade.

Our sessions will start at 7pm. Students are expected to come on time. Walking into (and out of) the classroom while the session is in progresss is very disruptive for everybody.  For every two late attendance (or early exit) you will be marked as absent for one class session.
You are required to bring the text (the book or photocopied material) to class, and refer to them during discussions.

Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the instructor and Disability Services Office (Academic Support Services) at the beginning of the semester. Accommodation arrangements must be made during the first-two weeks of the semester.

Calendar: The calender and the reading assigments will be posted on Moodle. 
There may be some modifications to the calender. It is your responsibility to be aware of these changes. Make sure you follow these changes on Moodle.