Double Consciousness essay

Respond to one of the question prompts below with a paper at least four pages, double-spaced. The hard-copy of the completed paper is due in class on Wednesday, December 4th. The claims made in your paper should be supported through careful engagement with the text. I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions or if you would like any assistance. Let’s finish strong!

1. DuBois presents “double consciousness” as a problem. What is “double consciousness” both in terms of how Hegel and how DuBois understand the concept? How could this ‘problem’ as it relates to race relations be addressed? What suggestions does DuBois offer? Does this problem persist today?

2. Simone de Beauvoir asks the provocative question, “what is a woman?” Why is this question a challenge to the status quo where “woman” is viewed as “other”? How does such a definition of “woman” deny women from actualizing their possibilities? Why is she “interested in the fortunes of the individual not in terms of happiness but in terms of liberty”?

3. Though Bell Hooks claims that feminism can be defined as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression,” the interests and stakes of feminism become defined in terms of what would generally be understood as a much greater scope of concerns, both social and personal, that arise in resistance to what she calls the “imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.”

A.) What does she mean by framing feminism in such a manner and does she make a compelling argument for setting the scope of the feminist movement in this way? At the socio-political level, can there be a feminist politics that is not at the same time revolutionary? If so, why or why not?

B.) She explains that feminism impacts not only larger socio-political issues but also matters of personal relationships. She claims that without feminism, personal bonds of love are not possible. What does she mean by this and do you find this claim compelling? If so, why or why not?

4. Monique Wittig claims that a “materialist feminist approach to women destroys the idea that women are a natural group.” Why is she concerned with the destruction of the “myth of woman” and how does she think material facts do away with that myth. How does lesbianism represent the possibility for women to live freely?


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