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Mary Wollstonecraft: Feminism and Radical Philosophy

at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

(27)
Course Details
Price:
$315
Start Date:

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Location:
Online Classroom
Important:
Skips November 24th
Description
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 14
System Requirements:

You will need a reliable Internet connection as well as a computer or device with which you can access your virtual class. We recommend you arrive to class 5-10 minutes early to ensure you're able to set up your device and connection.

Class Delivery:

Classes will be held via Zoom.

Teacher: Liane Carlson

Flexible Reschedule Policy: This provider has flexible, free rescheduling for any-in person workshop. Please see the cancellation policy for more details

What you'll learn in this lecture class:

The French Revolution proclaimed the Rights of Men. Mary Wollstonecraft replied to vindicate the rights of women. Partly a riposte to a sexist proposal for female education, partly a slashing critique of the conservative Edmund Burke, Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women marshaled the empiricism of John Locke and David Hume to argue that the sexual inequality considered “natural” by most Western men, even the French revolutionaries, was in fact, like all social phenomena, a product of historical contingency. Anticipating Marxist-feminist arguments by nearly 200 years, Wollstonecraft identified the patriarchal family as the means for the reproduction of a society devoted, in her eyes, to the accumulation and display of property. 

For Wollstonecraft, women’s liberationand, necessarily, men’s, toocalls for nothing less than a wholesale social revolution in human relations. Exceptional in their time, Wollstonecraft’s writings remain a radical challenge to liberal thinkers and feminists even today. How can we understand Wollstonecraft’s theory of society, human development, and the interrelation of sexual and social equality? How is human reason to be fostered, the family to be constituted, and social duties and labor to be distributed? What are to make of Wollstonecraft’s feminist theory of society today?

But Wollstonecraft was more than just a social theorist. She was also a novelist, short story writer, devoted lover of nature, educator, and, at times, amateur theologian. As we explore the elements of Wollstonecraft’s philosophizingher ideas of reason, morality, sexuality, and propertywe’ll read, in addition to A Vindication of the Rights of Women, her writings on education, her Vindication of the Rights of Men, her history of the origins of the French Revolution, and her travelogues. 

We’ll ask: what can her occasionally gruesome children’s stories reveal about her theories of moral formation and her time as a governess? Why did she think bodily experiences shaped our character and thought? How did her Vindication respond to the events of the French Revolution? What was her version of feminism? In what ways did her philosophical work respond to thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke, and Edmund Burke? And finally, how can we understand Wollstonecraft’s later writings, particularly her travelogues, which did so much to initiate the English Romantic preoccupation with nature, feeling, and the limits of human knowledgeexpressed no less than in the work of her daughter, Mary Shelley?


Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

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Refund Policy

Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.

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Reviews of Classes at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (27)

School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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