GRAD and Faculty: NYU Feminist Reading Group Open to Members

Come join the Feminist Reading Group at NYU! (Click here for our cool poster!)

FRG was founded in the fall of 2015 by a group of students in the Comparative Literature department at NYU looking to enrich their scholarly work and their personal lives with readings in feminist theory. This semester, FRG will be meeting to discuss predistributed readings and enjoy feminist being-in-common from 6:30–8:00pm in Room 305 of 19 University Place every other Monday beginning September 12. (That’s Sept. 12, Sept. 26, Oct. 10, Oct. 24, Nov. 7, Nov. 21, and Dec. 5.) Bring ID!

Last semester, under the heading “Feminist Porn Wars,” FRG explored historical and contemporary feminist debates over pornography and the fraught nexus of pleasure, pain, embodiment, visibility, agency, violence, sexualization, and racialization that porn engenders, and together we read works by Jennifer C. Nash, Juana María Rodriguez, Alexander Weheliye, Mireille Miller-Young, Darieck Scott, Catharine MacKinnon, Linda Williams, and others.

This semester we have a new theme. Too often, we find, feminist theory is relegated to identitarian concerns while the work of venerable white men is accorded methodological universality—only people who “work on women” need to read Hortense Spillers, but God help you if you haven’t read Hegel! At FRG, we find this sentiment stupid, frankly, not to mention insulting and patriarchal.

This is why this semester we’ve chosen as our theme “Feminist Killjoys,” in homage to the Sara Ahmed essay of the same name. Beginning with Ahmed’s essay, we hope to explore feminism’s often troubled relationship to academia, from questions of the disciplinary formation of what’s called women’s studies (and gender studies, and other studies), to critical debates over feminist buzzwords like “intersectionality,” to the absorption of “feminism” into the neoliberal university’s utility belt, to the affective labor of being the “feminist in the room” in classes, conferences, and department meetings.

The reading for the first meeting, available now at our website, is Sara Ahmed’s “Feminist Killjoys,” from her book The Promise of Happiness, as well as a post from her blog Feminist Killjoys concerning her recent decision to resign from her post at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Subsequent readings may include:

Robyn Wiegman, Object Lessons
Linda Martín Alcoff, “What’s Identity Got To Do With It?”
Clare Hemmings, Why Stories Matter
Eileen Messer-Davidow, Disciplining Feminism
Kristen Hogan, The Feminist Bookstore Movement
Chandra T. Mohanty, Feminism Without Borders
Jennifer C. Nash, “Feminist Originalism”
Patricia J. Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights
plus your suggestions

All graduate students and faculty from NYU or any other institution are welcome! For readings, visit our website at; for more information, contact Andi Chu at

About Steve Mentz 1265 Articles
I teach Shakespeare and the blue humanities at St. John's in New York City.

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