Write a 400-word essay in response to each topic you choose.
1. What does Wollstonecraft mean when she claims that women’s minds are not in a healthy state? What are the symptoms of this mental disease? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
2. What is it about A Vindication that might offend feminists today? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
3. What are the arguments Harriet Taylor Mill provides for why women should share these same civil rights as men? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
4. J. S. Mill refers to women as the enslaved class. What does he mean by this statement? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
5. Susan B. Anthony’s name is synonymous with the history of women’s suffrage in the United States, but she was also an active supporter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. In the excerpt, “Social Purity,” Anthony makes a case for temperance as a way to improve women’s place in society. What are some of her arguments? How does she connect temperance to suffrage? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
6. Specifically, what global perspectives does Hewitt refer to in her article? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to her approach? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
7. Charles Sowerwine’s article provides an overview of the history of feminism and socialism in Europe prior to WWII. In the period between the French Revolution and the revolutions of 1848, what were the forces that brought socialism and feminism together? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
8. What were the conditions that led to women achieving the vote in Finland and Russia, and how did these conditions differ from those in Western democracies? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
9. Tristan’ demands, in retrospect, are modest; she asks simply for equal access to health care and education, two major preoccupations of the working class. Why do you think Tristan chose to ally herself with the workers’ movements, and why did she keep her demands simple? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
10. Discuss Kollontai’s view of the family, and why the family must be reformed if women are to achieve freedom. Be as specific as possible in your answer.
11. Emma Goldman asserts, “Emancipation should make it possible for woman to be human in the truest sense.” Discuss her use of the terms human, whole, and complete. What does she mean by these terms?
12. In what way does Goldman see the notion of female “purity” as a kind of prison? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
13. What do you think James Oppenheim envisioned when he imagined people asking for both bread and roses? What did he mean by roses? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
14. What are some of the examples elaborated by Amin that illustrate women’s second-class status in Egyptian society? Be as specific as possible.
15. A criticism of Qasim Amin’s struggle for female emancipation was that the emancipation of women was “just another [colonialist] plot to weaken the Egyptian nation and disseminate immorality and decadence in its society.” Assume that point of view and elaborate on it. Be as specific as possible in your response.
16. Attempt to answer Ellen Fleischmann’s question, “What is the understanding of ‘feminism’ here, especially within the particular historical and geopolitical context of the Middle East in the first third of the 20th century?”
17. Discuss Fleischmann’s differentiation between “awakening” and “movement.” Be as specific as possible in your answer.
18. Hamid Ali wants to “warn you of the west that any arrogant assumption of superiority or of patronage on the part of Europe or America… will alienate… the womanhood of Asia and Africa.” Give an example from Hamid Ali’s time that may have alienated her. Propose alternative approaches, still assuming differences in opinion and culture.
19. Sinha Mrinalini discusses how the “woman question” in India was wedged between British colonialism and Indian nationalism. Discuss how it played out in the controversy over the publication of Mother India.
20. What are some of the excuses used to lock up men in Sultana’s Dream? How do they compare with traditional reasons why women are kept in purdah? Be as specific as possible in your answer.
21. Why has Bachofen’s scholarship been so important to feminist critiques of the family? What schema does Bachofen propose for understanding the evolution of the family?
22. Discuss Engels’ position that at some point in history, household management, including parenting, went from being a public industry to a private service.
23. The family, Engels believed, was the microcosm for a profound societal imbalance: “Within the family he [the husband] is the bourgeois and the wife represents the proletariat.” Use the writings of one other woman in this course to compare or contrast this statement.
24. Myrdal asks if a woman’s life “could be rearranged so as to give her a more clearly definable status.” Describe a rearranged life that would be acceptable to Myrdal.
25. According to Valenza, Margaret Sanger had to “confront the eugenics movement,” as it represented the dominant thinking of the day. Describe eugenics and discuss how Sanger might have had to include it in her thinking and approach. Be as detailed as possible.
26. Valenza puts many of Sanger’s comments in a larger context, revealing that claims of racism were unfounded. Why is context so important? Discuss how a controversial figure such as Margaret Sanger could be viewed in a number of ways, depending on the political perspective.
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