Burning Bra Book Club



The Burning Bra Book Club is a semi-weekly reading group, managed by the editorial team of Lady Science, that meets on an open Google Hangout to discuss theoretical and historical writing on women, gender, sexuality, and science. Think of it like a free, open grad school seminar with no professors and no grades. Participants read as much or as little as they want and join discussion when they wish (it’s fine to just listen!)

Discussion is moderated by Leila McNeill, Anna Reser, and Nathan Kapoor of Lady Science.  We will read these works in chronological order, allotting 2 weeks for denser theory reading (marked *) and 1 week for historical work or shorter readings. Future iterations of BBBC will feature new readings, and we welcome your suggestions.

We've started a Slack channel where participants can connect, make notes about the readings, share supplemental information, and help each other between discussions. To join the Slack, please provide your email address here, and you will receive your Slack invitation shortly.


Please have read the book and come to the Hangout prepared to discuss by the listed date.

Discussions take place on Sunday afternoons, 3:00pm-4:30pm CST.


February 5: De Beauvior, Simone. The Second Sex (1949).

February 12: Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality (Vol. 1) (1976).

*February 19: Lacan, Jaques. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis (1981).

*March 5: Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990). 

*March 19: Haraway, Donna. Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science (Routledge 1990). 

March 26: hooks, bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (South End Press, 2nd ed. 2000). 

April 2: Roberts, Dorothy E. Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Vintage, 1998). 

*April 23: Harding, Sandra. Sciences from Below: Feminisms, Postcolonialities, and Modernities (Duke University Press, 2008). 

April 30: Yoshida, Takashi. The Making of "The Rape of Nanking": History and Memory in Japan, China in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2009).

May 7: Davis, Angela Y. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (Haymarket, 2016).

Optional Writing

While discussion is the main component of the book club, we have also designed optional writing assignments, based on a typical weekly assignment for a graduate history seminar, that you can complete to deepen your synthesis of the reading. Because it’s always disheartening to write a paper that only a professor will ever see, Lady Science would like to publish your papers on our blog, with light editing, if you wish. Just send us a draft paper as a google doc any time during the semester, and we’ll get the process started.

Precis: Write 1000-1500 words about one book. Note the main argument or most important theoretical contribution of the book and assess its validity and its usefulness for thinking about contemporary issues of sexuality, gender, race, and science, where applicable.

Comparative Book Review: Choose 2 books to assess together, noting how they reinforce or oppose one another, the main arguments of both books, and their joint usefulness for thinking about contemporary issues of sexuality, gender, race, and science, where applicable.