Blog Post #3: Undergraduate Research

In order to address the progress I have made so far in this work, I think it best to first list what I have read so far.

Books

  1. Transforming Feminism
  2. Transgender History
  3. Trans Bodies, Trans Selves

Sections of Feminist Theory: A Reader

First Wave

  1. Mary Wollstonecraft, Chapter 2,7, and 13 from A Vindication on the Rights of Women
  2. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Declaration of Sentiments”
  3. Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I A Woman”
  4. Sojourner Truth, “Keeping the thing going while things are stirring”
  5. Susan B. Anthony, Speech after Arrest for Illegal Voting
  6. Friedrich Engels; from The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State
  7. Mary Church Terrell “The Progress of Colored Women”
  8. Alexandra Kollontai “Working Women and Mother”
  9. Margaret Sanger “Birth Control – A Parent’s Problem or Woman’s?”
  10. Joan Riviere “Womanliness as a Masquerade”
  11. Simone de Beauvoir  Introduction and Chapter 12 of The Second Sex

Second Wave

  1. National Organization of Women, “Statement of Purpose”
  2. Kate Millett, “Theories of Sexual Politics”
  3. Mary Ann Weathers, “An Argument for Black Women’s Liberation as a Revolutionary Force”
  4. Radical Lesbians, “The Woman Identified Woman”
  5. Charlotte Bunch, “Not For Lesbians Only”
  6. Combahee River Collective, “A Black Feminist Statement”
  7. Audre Lorde, “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference”
  8. Heidi Hartmann, “The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism”

Third Wave

  1. Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century”
  2. Judith Butler from Gender Trouble : Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
  3. Rebecca Walker, “Becoming the Third Wave”
  4. Kimberle Crenshaw, “Intersectionality and Identity Politics: Learning from Violence against Women of Color”
  5. Anne Fausto-Sterling, “Should There Be Only Two Sexes?”
  6. Julia Serano, “Trans woman Manifesto”

Throughout this research project one problem I have run into is the abundance of feminist texts from each wave of feminism, this made parsing what was relevant difficult on several occasions. Not many feminist texts directly address transgender issues, and frequently when these issues were addressed they were done so without an inclusive framework, and worked to further marginalize trans women.

Because transgender issues are relatively new in discourse, there are times when I would skim longer works to decide if I needed to read them fully. This allows me to have a wider breadth of literature for the research project.

I have undergone more intense research sessions this semester. This has been a great experience for me, but it has been tiring!

Rachel Simon has helped me a lot by giving me access to two textbooks which have functioned as great sources for this work, and allowed me to do more actual research work than just trying to figure out what exactly I needed to search in online databases.

So far from doing this project, I have come to a number of conclusions which I will more fully develop in my final product:

  1. Trans issues have often been excluded from Feminist discourse
  2. In feminism, the needs of marginalized groups are often secondary to those of wealthy white women
  3. WOC often experience a disconnect with mainstream (usually liberal) feminism
  4. The notions of gender variance are central to many radical feminist works, BUT this does not always mean they encourage people to identify as genders different than their gender assigned at birth
  5. First wave liberal feminism was centered on voting rights (for women – mostly white and upper class)
    1. This is a similar pattern to a lot of contemporary feminist and LGBT movements
    2. Strict, single issue campaigns
  6. Marxist / Socialist feminism often began with the writings of  men, but eventually women would contribute to this ideology
  7. Just because members hold a specific identity, their work does not always contribute to the of liberation of their own identity group, therefore it is sometimes anti-feminist
  8. Intersectionality is a valuable concept when exploring the ideas of inclusive feminism, but often misused in feminist discourse
  9. Trans issues have always existed in the United States, but were not always part of feminist movements

Blog #2: Undergraduate Research

At this point in my research I have looked at the texts “Transforming Feminism: Trans Feminists Speak Out,” “Trans Bodies Trans Selves,” and “Transgender History.” These books have given me basic insight into how transgender people are discussed in both feminist discourse and transgender specific spaces. They have not yet given me clear lines between feminist perspectives I wish to analyze, but they have pointed to a lot of perspectives in the modern day around transgender issues.

“Transforming Feminism: Trans Feminists Speak Out” is a Canadian text, and my research focus is transgender identities and feminism in the United States. In order to solve this problem, my faculty advisor and I decided to focus on the sections of the text which are applicable across national boundaries. One example of transnational topics include how resources for survivors of sexual assault and rape are used in relation to transgender survivors.

“Trans Bodies Trans Selves” has given me insight on how issues of gender intersect with issues of race, immigration status, and class. This text will be helpful for analyzing how trans issues fit into the future of feminism.

“Transgender History” adresses how discussions around transgender issues have evolved in the United States. A lot of the information from this text will be used to differentiate feminist perspectives both over time and by ideology.

Throughout the research process, I have found new questions to look into more closely during winter intersession as I finalize my research. One problem I have had to grapple with is how broad my research can get, and Rachel Simmon has helped me ensure I am not just reading this for the sake of completion if they won’t be helpful to the final paper. Rachel has also helped me use on campus resources to better my research process. Pace University Librarian Sarah Burns-Feyl has guided me to a number of resources I have accessed through the library.   

 

Blog Post 1 Undergraduate Research

Purpose, Goals, and Objectives

In our research project “Feminist Perspectives on Transgender Identity” we will explore how different feminist ideologies address the issue of transgender and gender nonconforming identities. The objective of this research paper will be to explore how varied Feminist philosophies and perspectives address the issues of transgender identities, the ways in which feminist beliefs inform those views, cultural and historical context for trans exclusion, and the value of transgender inclusion in feminist movements.

Research questions:

  1. What are the primary feminist perspectives?
  2. What do these perspectives have to say about transgender identities?
  3. What is the impact of these perspectives both on feminism and transgender people?
  4. How does one identify if trans-inclusivity is present in the feminist framework?
  5. How is trans-inclusivity important to the future of feminist movements?

What you expect to achieve or learn:

            During the course of researching this project I am hoping to learn about how transgender lives and identities have been viewed throughout US history. I want to examine the influence on feminist movements from trans identities and historical and cultural contexts. Through this project I hope to help individuals understand how feminist thought around transgender people is a deeply varied, even if the end result of those beliefs is similar. Looking at different inclusive feminist frameworks will allow me to understand varied philosophies (Marxist feminism, materialist, intersectional, etc.) come to common conclusions from diverse starting points.

Research Methods:

In order to answer the research questions, we will perform a combination of historical and document based analysis. We will first examine the historical contexts in the United States under which topics and conceptions of gender and gender identity have evolved over time. We will look at texts, studies, and other documents to analyze feminist perspectives on issues of transgender identity at the time, and how these were expressed. Using the information gathered through this research we will then apply it to contemporary feminist thought, and hopefully come up with a conclusion on the role of trans-inclusivity in the future of feminist movements.