August 31, 2007

Mercer, Christia Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2110] Philosophy and Feminism

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I took this class hoping for an interesting intro to philosophy and briefing on/critique of feminism. It ended up being a pretty limited look at philosophy, and Mercer laid on the feminism pretty thick. Mercer would constantly repeat statements like, "Don't worry, we all agree here," driving home her point that there would be no dissension (grading of papers reflected this view). The readings were pretty interesting, and Mercer was certainly passionate about them, but she basically repeated the same couple of points all semester and continually interrupted students during discussion. She also tried way too hard to be profound and inspiring, and her metaphors to this effect were pretty strange. Some students went for it and seemed deeply inspired, but I'm not quite sure why. Her lectures sometimes got ridiculous (she tried to teach us Plato by naming the tree outside the window Betsy, and also told us that an excellent way to challenge societal norms was to run up to our uncles and scream "Blow job!"). The papers were interesting and challenging, and reviewing them with the TA helped, but Mercer was more interested in being a tough grader in theory than in actually challenging us and making us better writers. Most people in the class got a B, and there were few As. All in all, it wasn't a waste of time (the readings were cool), but Mercer was a dud.

Workload:

not bad-- 2-3 papers, ID/short answer/essay-based final, weekly readings that you should at least skim but are usually worth reading, mandatory independent trip to the Met