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Feminism (PH358-15)

Timing & CATS

This module will run in the Spring Term of 2017-18 and is worth 15 CATS.

Module Description

Men and women are treated differently simply because of their gender. Why do we, as a society, do this?; in which ways is this unfair?; what should we do about this?

These questions express the animating concerns behind the political movement of feminism. Broadly speaking feminism aims at the elimination of all gendered oppression. This module will engage with the philosophical upshots of reflection on this political movement. Typical topics covered will be the nature of genders (what does it take to be a man, or a woman?); how does your social position affect what you are able to know (are there some things that it’s easier to know as a man or a woman?); how does thinking about the relative social position of people of different genders affect political questions?

This module will emphasise thinking about feminism from a variety of viewpoints. While gender alone frequently leads to discrimination, some women suffer multiple forms of discrimination. Therefore, we will take an intersectional approach to include issues of race, sexuality and disability. We will see how feminist philosophy can contribute to these central questions in philosophy. Further details will be added below during term 1.

Learning Outcomes or Aims

By the end of the module, students should be able to....

  • Understand and differentiate views on central issues in feminsm, and offer relevant support for and critical responses to those views.
  • Communicate clearly and substantively in speech and in writing on the questions addressed in the module.
  • Isolate the important claims within readings, understand the structure of arguments, test views for strengths and weaknesses, make pertinent use of examples, and compare the substance of views consistently.
  • Pursue and organize philosophical research using a range of sources (print and electronic media), documenting research carefully, and showing the ability to engage independently in philosophical debate.

Lectures for 2017-18

Friday 12pm to 2pm in OC0.04

Seminars for 2017-18

Please sign up for a seminar group at the beginning of Term 2 using tabula.

Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed in the following way:

  • One 1,500 word essay (worth 15% of the module)
  • One 2,500 word essay (worth 85% of the module)

Backgorund Reading and Textbooks

There is no set text. Instead, the module will be based on a list of selected readings. Useful companions and collections include:

  • Antony, Louise. 2001. A Mind Of One’s Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity. 2nd Revised edition. Perseus.
  • Haslanger, Sally. 2012. Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique. OUP USA.
  • Hornsby, Jennifer, and Miranda Fricker. 2000. The Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Jaggar, Alison M., and Susan Bordo, ed. 1989. Gender/Body/Knowledge: Feminist Reconstructions of Being and Knowing. Rutgers University Press.
  • Saul, Jennifer Mather. 2003. Feminism: Issues and Arguments. OUP Oxford.
  • Witt, Charlotte, ed. 2010. The Feminist Philosophy Collection: Feminist Metaphysics: Explorations in the Ontology of Sex, Gender and the Self: Explorations in the Ontology of Sex, Gender and Identity. 2011th ed. Springer.
  • Beauvoir, S. D. (1997). The Second Sex (New edition.). Vintage Classics.
  • Lloyd, Genevieve. 1993. The Man of Reason: ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ in Western Philosophy. 2nd ed. Routledge.
  • Welton, Donn, ed. 1998. Body and Flesh: A Philosophical Reader. Wiley-Blackwell.

Course Materials

From October 2016 course materials will be available on Moodle. Simply sign in and search the module code from your Moodle home page.

Module Tutor:

Dr Charlotte Newey