BLS 380 Women’s Voices: The Personal is Political

“The Personal is Political” has become a catch-phrase or mantra through multiple women’s rights movements, especially in the later twentieth century to present. Most associated with the “second wave” of feminism, which scholars and activists such as Angela Y. Davis have charged with lack of concern for women of color and for all women of the lower classes, the “personal is political” serves in this class as a metaphor that expands beyond one specific socio/political movement. This phase has encouraged diverse women to place their personal experiences and perspectives into the political arena and demand rights not only for themselves, but also for members of their communities. In this class, students will read a selection of books and essays written by contemporary women activists in first person narration, which advocate for reform around the world. These authors vary in race, nationality, sexuality, class, and disability, and we will discuss how and why the notion of “the personal is political” relates to their work. We will also view and discuss visual examples that relate to the themes raised in the readings. Course requirements include discussion forum assignments and a final paper. Discussion forum assignments will be posted and exchanged on the course discussion board. Final paper topics will be selected from subjects raised in these assignments; students will write a first-person, argumentative essay that centers on personal experiences.


Linton, Simi. My Body Politic. University of Michigan Press, 2007
Yousafzai, Malala. (with Christina Lamb), I am Malala. Little Brown and Co. 2013
Anzualda, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, 4th ed. Aunt Lute Books, 2012
Essays on reserve by Theresa Man Ling Lee and Alice Walker
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. We Should All Be Feminists. Vintage Books, 2014 (e-book in UNCG library)
Walker, Rebecca. “Becoming the 3rd wave,” Ms. (Spring 2002)12, 2, pp. 86