Dr. Donna Bickford, Director, Women's and Gender Resource Center

Feminist Theory, Ecofeminism and Social Sustainability

The initial goal for my participation in the 2018 Valley and Ridge workshop was to infuse more readings on ecofeminism in my WGSS300 Feminist Perspectives and Theories course (a required course for WGSS majors and an option for minors). I routinely teach two relevant articles in the class (Ortner, Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture? and King, The Ecology of Feminism and the Feminism of Ecology), but I wanted to strengthen the course focus on that area of feminist thought.

As a result of the workshop, this unit includes the Ortner and King articles but also a film and article on ecofeminism. However, after being introduced to the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the workshop, I’ve added a day where we’ll read and discuss the SDGs and the ways they frame social, economic and environmental sustainability, and look at feminist critique of the SDGs.

I added a learning goal to the syllabus, which is that students will be able to “recognize that sustainability includes social justice and equity, economic, and environmental sustainability.” The course has been approved for the Sustainability Connections (SCON) designation.

Before being introduced to the SDGs, I struggled to understand what social sustainability entailed. This framework helped me see that often (but not always) social sustainability is synonymous with social justice and equity.