Interdisciplinary Reflections in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland

Hussein H. Zeidanin, Abdullah K. Shehabat


Our paper credits Gilman for creating a utopian environment where tolerance, interdependence and mutual respect characterize intergender relationships. The premises of this utopia are drawn from Darwin’s observations of social evolution which Gilman thinks refute the biological inferiority of women and alternately relate their oppression and subordination to socio-economic determinants. The paper also dramatizes Foucault’s theorization of the panoptic powers of surveillance and discipline, and historicization of the genealogical relations between knowledge and power on account of which Gilman provokes women to unlearn the dominant discourse of patriarchy and initiate an inclusive reconciliatory discourse that recognizes men and women as equal human beings and gives equal value to both of them. Likewise, we recognize Gilman as a socialist for desexualizing paid and domestic labor and considering women as equal partners in terms of productivity and performance. Building on these presumptions, we conclude that the interdisciplinary resonances in Gilman’s Herland enrich feminist studies and help reform social and gender relations.

Key words: Reformed feminism; Reformed socialism; Social evolution; Gender reconciliation; Interdependence.


Reformed feminism; Reformed socialism; Social evolution; Gender reconciliation; Interdependence.



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Copyright (c) 2012 Hussein H. Zeidanin, Abdullah K. Shehabat

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