GWSS 8190, â€œ Gynomania: Theorizing the Pleasures of Violenceâ€?, taught by Pashmina Murthy, will meet Thursdays 2:00 P.M. â€“ 4:30 P.M.
Gynomania: Theorizing the Pleasures of Violence
Instructor: Pashmina Murthy
Thursdays 2:00 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.
400 Ford Hall
In the summer of 2008, a suspected witch in a village in India was beaten with sticks, burned with a hot iron, and finally pushed onto a burning pyre. The accused was a second woman, who claimed that a divine power instructed her to punish the witchâ€¦
How feminine is violence? In this course, we will examine the flip side of gendered brutality by theorizing violence perpetrated by women, often - though not exclusively - against other women. We will begin by looking at the violence encapsulated by social and psychic forces of normalization. From there, we will move to exploring the shifting divisions between asexual and the erotic. Some of the specific forms we might consider would include witch-hunts, sexual contracts, fantasy, horror, and asceticism. To aid us in our attempt at theorization, we will consider a variety of texts, including 18th century medical treatises, anthropological accounts, gothic Romantic fiction, and folklore. A study of the development of a naming and performance of violence - and particularly the construction of the monstrous feminine in cinema - would be incomplete without engaging with the contributions of psychoanalytic theory to such a project. In the course of this semester, we will grapple with a spectrum of thinkers, including Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, Gilles Deleuze, Karen Horney, Georges Bataille, and Kaja Silverman.