Explore and discuss feminist ideas that contribute to a world worth working for

Thank goodness the future is for our inventing. What fabulous feminist ideas can inspire us to be involved not in the discovery but the creation of new forms of humanity? We will begin each session with some iconic feminist ideas expressed in the lives of well or lesser known women and explore their relevance for the creation of a flourishing future for people and planet.

Course Outline

Session 1: Hail Hildegaard: Depicting resistance to Patriarchy

Hildegaard von Bingen has been chosen as a starting point for her courageous relationships with the powers of Europe at the time of her life. This session will set in place some historic feminist concerns, ideas and issues that appear to have remained constant. We will explore creative contributions, bringing to mind for example the work of Judy Chicago whose table settings depicted insights perhaps not so different from contemporary feminist images we can explore.

Session 2: Lordy, Lordy, Lorde, Audrey!

LGBT Communities – real change or a change of bodies on the deckchairs?

Audre Lorde calls for learning how to turn the differences among women into strengths because “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house…. they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support”. The very different experiences of women give rise to an enriched feminist conversation. This very diversity provides a challenge to a united stand against Patriarchy.

 Session 3: Warring for Water – Well on our way

Good Gracious Gaia: Eco and Quantum Considerations

We meet the work of Vandana Shiva to expand our insight into globalisation, environmental degradation and action, and the kinds of activities inspired by women who connect fierce ideas, feminine values, and the flourishing of our humanity as feminist issues. We will make ourselves familiar with the Indigenous Grandmothers’ Council, their call for peace and justice, and their inspiration to form faithful familiarity with Mother Earth.

 Session 4: To Market to Market to Buy a Fat Lie

Homelessness, Heartlessness, and Hellish Homes – Examining legacies from left-leaning liberals

It is my own work with various co-authors that I bring to the discussion in this session.  I have been long concerned with the conflicts I find close to home and the remedies on offer – beginning literally with my sense of outrage of the discrepancies I found between the espoused and enacted values of my immediate community. As my university career developed, I extended my exploration from home to global market in many different ways. This work has led to the perspective I sum up as a concern with the assimilation of feminist ideas in the emergence of a form system-preserving liberal feminism. I amplify calls for more radical ideas if the future of universal inclusiveness and environmental restoration is to be achieved for the generations to come.

Session 5: Coming Clean with Klein

A Place to Call Home

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, (COP 21) has been one of the land-mark gatherings that brought together diverse political, industry, and community leaders. They expressed concern about the growing gap between rich and poor, the continued degradation of Earth, and the social and political instability associated with these trajectories to shape the Sustainable Development Goals. Investment in women is seen as a significant priority. Naomi Klein – perhaps in line with the reasoning of Audre Lorde – chose to set up her own conversation.  We round off the course with the work of Naomi Klein, and the ideas of the many women who infuse their thinking and actions with feminist idea(l)s and ask ourselves where these insights and energies could take us in the reshaping of our humanity and our relationship with Earth.

Learning outcomes

On completion the participants will have:

  • new or refreshed insights into a range of feminist perspectives on issues of local and international pertinence
  • some critical frames to review both feminist and common sense ideas
  • demonstrate the ability to converse with others on topics and perspectives that may be sensitive
  • a sense that feminist orientations to the world can be fun reflected on the transformative potential of feminist ideas to contribute to a world worth working for

Who should attend?

Anyone – young and old –  interested to explore new and old feminist ideas, to bring their experience and curiosity into discussion,  to think about how feminist ideas might be woven into or strengthened in their daily lives.

About the Presenter

 Maria Humphries-Kil
Phd, MMS, BSocSc

While completing her own degrees in Philosophy, Women’s Studies, and the Sociology of Knowledge, Maria began teaching transition courses in the 1980s – including courses seeking to support women into higher education. Maria, with colleagues and friends, created and taught the first feminist classes in a business school in New Zealand. They facilitated a feminist career development project that retained participant engagement for over 12 years. Scholarly publications from this initiative are finding a revival among researchers internationally.  While Maria’s teaching over the past two decades has been almost fully ‘on-line’, face-to-face forms of learning are her first love. Maria has supervised over 20 PhDs to completion many with explicit or assumed feminist values. Maria is a Research and Community Associate with the School of Public Health & Psychosocial Studies at AUT and the Director of Colloquy, a small research and consultancy company