Women in Theory – ASCA Reading Group 2017-18

The reading group will meet once per month, starting September 2017 (exact date TBA). In connection to the reading group, we plan to organize a symposium about contemporary feminist writing in May 2018.

This reading group focuses on scholarly texts produced by female-identified writers and thinkers. For each session, we will be reading texts from alternating areas of critical theory, based on the participants’ suggestions and interests, but especially outside the realm of gender studies, where the perspectives of female-identified theorists are already well-represented. The reading group aims to look beyond the usual texts pertaining to major theoretical frameworks, and consider the (often underrepresented) perspectives of non-male (and non-white) theorists. In addition to studying texts from “classic” strands of theory, such as poststructuralism and psychoanalysis, we also look forward to reading texts pertaining to more recent fields of inquiry, such as disability studies, the notion of precarity and “the good life,” and the Anthropocene. The reading group is geared towards ASCA PhD candidates, in particular, but of course ASCA researchers are welcome to join the sessions as well.

To register and/or receive additional information, please contact the reading group’s coordinator Nadia de Vries (N.deVries@uva.nl).

Dates and locations second semester, Spring 2018:

  • 16 februari          PCH 5.02
  • 16 maart              PCH 5.02
  • 20 april                 PCH 5.60
  • 1 juni                     PCH 3.01

Friday 16 February 2018, 15:30-17:30, room PCH 5.02:


  • Elaine Scarry, “On Beauty and Being Wrong.” On Beauty and Being Just. 1999.
  • Sianne Ngai, “Merely Interesting.” Our Aesthetic Categories. 2012.
  • Heather Warren-Crow, “(Un)Doing Girlishness.” Girlhood and the Plastic Image. 2014.

Friday 16 March 2018, 15:30-17:30, room PCH 5.02:

The Violence of Capitalism

  • Silvia Federici, “The Accumulation of Labor and the Degradation of Women.” Caliban and the Witch. 1998.
  • Eva Illouz, “Suffering, Emotional Fields, and Emotional Capital.” Cold Intimacies. 2007.
  • Lauren Berlant, “Slow Death (Obesity, Sovereignty, Lateral Agency).” Cruel Optimism. 2011.

Friday 20 April 2018, 15:30-17:30, room PCH 5.60:

Bodies and Biopolitics

  • Jasbir K. Puar, “Crip Nationalism: From Narrative Prosthesis to Disaster Capitalism.” The Right to Maim. 2017.
  • Jane Bennett, “Political Ecologies.” Vibrant Matter. 2010.
  • Vivian Sobchack, “Inscribing Ethical Space: Ten Propositions on Death, Representation, and Documentary.” Carnal Thoughts. 2004.

Fall 2017

Friday 22 September, 15:30-17:30: Identity and Affect [Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48, room F 2.11B]

- Sara Ahmed, The Promise of Happiness. “Introduction” and “Unhappy Queers.” Durham: Duke UP, 2010. 1-20; 88-120.

- Anne Anlin Cheng, The Melancholy of Race: Psychoanalysis, Assimilation, and Hidden Grief. “The Melancholy of Race.” Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000. 3-30.

- Eve Sedgwick, Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity. “Paranoid Reading and Reparative Reading, or, You’re So Paranoid, You Probably Think This Essay Is About You.” Durham: Duke UP, 2003. 123-152.

- Ann Cvetkovich, Depression: A Public Feeling. “The Utopia of Ordinary Habit: Crafting, Creativity, and Spiritual Practice.” Durham: Duke UP, 2015.  154-202.

Friday 20 October, 15:30-17:30: The Anthropocene [PC Hoofthuis, Spuistraat 134, room 301]

- Ursula K. Heise, Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meaning of Endangered Species. “Mass Extinction and Mass Slaughter: Biodiversity, Violence, and the Dangers of Domestication.” Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2016. 127-161.

- Isabell Lorey, State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious. “Precariousness and Precarity.” London: Verso Books, 2015.

- Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. “Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Captialocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene.” Durham: Duke UP, 2016. 30-57.

- Una Chaudhuri, The Stage Lives of Animals: Zooesis and Performance. “Interspecies Diplomacy in Anthropocenic Waters: Performing an Ocean-Oriented Ontology.” New York: Routledge, 2017.

Friday 24 November, 15:30-17:30: Ecologies of Resistance [PC Hoofthuis, Spuistraat 134, room 422]

- Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. “The Ontology of Knowing the Intra-Activity of Becoming and the Ethics of Mattering.” Durham: Duke UP, 2007. 353-398.

- Anna Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. “Prologue” and “What’s Left.” Princeton: Princeton UP, 2015. 1-54.

- Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Women, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism. “Difference: ‘A Special Third World Women Issue.’” Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1989. 79-118.

- Rosi Braidotti, Nomadic Theory. “Transposing Differences.” New York: Columbia UP, 2011. 25-54.

All texts will be shared with the reading group’s participants via Google Drive. Please contact the reading group’s coordinator Nadia de Vries (N.deVries@uva.nl) to receive the link.

In connection to the reading group, we plan to organize a symposium about contemporary feminist writing in May 2018.

Published by  ASCA

30 January 2018