GENDER, ALTRUISM, AND FAMILY
Professor M. Christian Green
Harvard Divinity School
Pfeiffer Room (Room 117), Andover Hall
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES
Many discussions in recent feminist theological, philosophical, and political ethics in recent years have spun off from Carol Gilligan’s famous identification of a masculine ethic of justice and a feminine ethic of care. While many feminist ethicists have applauded Gilligan’s affirmation of feminine virtues of attachment, relationship, and care, others have criticized the theory for its tendency to support a feminine ethic of love and altruism as self-sacrifice. This course will survey contemporary philosophical and theological understandings of love and altruism, along with sociobiological and evolutionary psychological material on these topics. We will also examine contemporary theological and sociological understandings of the roles of men and women, and mothers and fathers, in families of a variety of forms, for the light these shed on love, altruism, sacrifice, and mutuality in families today.
SCHEDULE OF CLASSES AND READINGS
Week 1—INTRODUCTION (September 19)
- NOTE: Class will adjourn at 3:30 for Convocation.
Week 2—MASCULINE JUSTICE AND FEMININE CARE (September 26)
- Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice.
Week 3—PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES ON GENDER AND CARE (October 3)
- Nel Noddings. Caring, Ch. 1-4 [pp. 7-103]
- Sarah Ruddick. Maternal Thinking, Pts. I-II [pp. 3-123]
NO CLASS OCTOBER 10—COLUMBUS DAY!
Week 4—PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON GENDER AND CARE (October 17)
- Nancy J. Chodorow. The Reproduction of Mothering, Prefaces, Chs. 1-2, 11-12, Afterword [pp. vii-xx, 3-39, 173-220]
- Dorothy Dinnerstein, The Mermaid and the Minotaur, chs. TBA.
Week 5—FEMINIST THEOLOGY AND SELF-SACRIFICE (October 24)
- Valerie Saiving, “The Human Situation: A Feminine View,” in Womanspirit Rising, pp. 25-42.
- Judith Plaskow, Sex, Sin, and Grace, Chs. 1 A-B, 2 B-C [pp. 9-48, 54-73]
- Rebekah Miles, “What’s So Bad About Reinhold Niebuhr? Feminist Criticisms of Niebuhr,” in The Bonds of Freedom, Ch. 2, [pp. 28-56].
- Catherine Keller, “Oceanic Feelings and the Rising Daughter,” in From a Broken Web, Ch. 3 [pp. 93-154]
Week 6– FEMINIST THEOLOGYAND FAMILY ALTRUISM (October 31)
- Barbara Hilkert Andolsen, “Agape in Feminist Ethics,” in Feminist Theological Ethics, pp. 69-81.
- Christine E. Gudorf, “Parenting, Mutual Love, and Sacrifice,” in Women’s Consciousness, Women’s Conscience, pp. 175-192.
- Janice Raymond, “Reproductive Gifts and Gift-Giving: The Altruistic Woman,” in Feminist Theological Ethics, pp. 233-43
- Bonnie Miller-McLemore, Also A Mother, Intro, Chs. 4, 6 and pp. 162-74, 180-185
Week 7—EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY OF ALTRUISM (November 7)
- Edward O. Wilson, Sociobiology, Ch. 5 and 15 [pp. 106-29, 314-350]
- Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, Ch. 9 [151-78].
- Zuleyma Tang-Martinez, “The Curious Courtship of Sociobiology and Feminism,” in Feminism and Evolutionary Biology, pp. 116-50.
- Robert Alexander, “The Evolutionary Approach,” in Ch. 1 of The Biology of Moral Systems, pp. 1-32.
- Richard Wright, The Moral Animal, Chs. 2-4 [pp. 33-107]
- Caitlyn Allen, “Inextricably Entwined: Politics, Biology, and Gender-Dimorphic Behavior,” in Feminism and Evolutionary Biology, pp. 551-21.
Week 8—THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON ALTRUISM (November 14)
- Stephen Pope, The Evolution of Altruism and the Origins of Love, Chs. 3-5, [pp. 77-151].
- Don Browning, “Love, Christian Family Theory, and Evolutionary Psychology,” in From Culture Wars to Common Ground, Ch. 4 [pp. 101-28]
- Don Browning, “Altruism and Christian Love,” pp. 421-436.
- Don Browning, “Biology, Ethics, and Narrative in Christian Family Theory,” in Promises to Keep, pp.119-51.
Week 9—SOCIAL SCIENCE PERSPECTIVES ON ALTRUISM (November 21)
- Gary Becker, “Division of Labor in the Family” and “Altruism in the Family,” in A Treatise on the Family, Chs. 2 and 8 [pp. 30-53, 277-306]
- Nancy Folbre, The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values, Chs. 1-2 [pp. 3-53]
- Stephen Pinker, The Blank Slate, Ch. 18, 337-79.
- Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, My Brother’s Keeper, Chs. 4, 5, and 7 [pp. 69-106, 129-47]
Week 10—MALE HEADSHIP AND MUTUAL LOVE (November 28)
- David Blankenhorn, et al. eds. Does Christianity Teach Male Headship?
Week 11–SOFT PATRIARCHY AND MALE ALTRUISM (December 5)
- W. Bradford Wilcox. Soft Patriarchs, New Men
Week 12– MEN AND ALTRUISM: CRITIQUES AND NEW DIRECTIONS (December 12)
- Steven L. Nock, Marriage in Men’s Lives, Chs. 3 and 6 [pp. 43-62, 112-29].
- John Stoltenberg, Refusing to Be a Man, Pt. I, pp. 7-52.
- Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, My Brother’s Keeper, Chs. 10-11 [pp. 189-228]
- Carol Gilligan, “Knowing and Not Knowing: Reflections on Manhood.”
Week 13—ALTRUISM: DOES GENDER MATTER? (December 19)
- Readings to be announced.
TEXTS AND RESOURCES
Books Available for Purchase (“REQUIRED”)
Carol Gilligan. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Reissue ed. (Harvard University Press, 1993).
Stephen J. Pope. The Evolution of Altruism and the Ordering of Love (Georgetown University Press, 1995).
David Blankenhorn, et al. eds. Does Christianity Teach Male Headship? The Equal-Regard Marriage and Its Critics (Eerdmans, 2004).
W. Bradford Wilcox. Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands (University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Bonnie Miller-McLemore. Also a Mother: Work and Family as Theological Dilemma (Abingdon, 1994).
Books Available for Purchase (“RECOMMENDED”)
Nel Noddings. Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education. 2nd ed. (University of California Press, 2003).
Sarah Ruddick. Maternal Thinking: Towards a Politics of Peace (Beacon Press, 1995).
Nancy J. Chodorow. The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender, reprint ed. (University of California Press, 1999).
Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, My Brother’s Keeper: What the Social Sciences Do (and Don’t) Tell Us About Masculinity (InterVarsity Press, 2002).