Margaret Alison Wylie
Philosophical analysis of the concepts and assumptions central to feminism. Theoretical positions within the feminist movement; view of the ideal society, goals and strategies of the movement, intersections of the sex-gender system with other systems of oppression. Offered: jointly with GWSS 206/POL S 212.
This course is an introduction to feminist philosophies. We will explore key theoretical concepts and philosophical arguments that feminists have developed in response to the forms of oppression that are the subject of feminist scholarship and that animate feminist activism. We focus, in particular, on four clusters of philosophical assumptions that are articulated in very different ways by feminists and that underpin a broad spectrum of feminist perspectives: conceptions of oppression and of sex/gender identity, theories of knowledge, and questions of justice.
Student learning goals
A working knowledge of a spectrum of feminisms, characterized by different philosophical commitments in the four areas we will consider: assumptions about sex/gender identity, identity-based oppression, situated knowledge, and ideals of social justice.
Analytic skills that put you in a position to recognize when key assumptions are at work in a particular debate and to apply them to real world issues, conflicts, and positions.
An articulation of your own position on various feminist issues that includes a rationale developed in terms of these underlying concepts and philosophies.
General method of instruction
Lectures twice a week and interactive discussion sections. Service Learning is an option available through this course (see the course website).
This course has no requirements and is suitable for non-majors.
Class assignments and grading
This is a reading-intensive course. Assignments will include reading response posts; in-class quizzes and writing assignments focused on analysis of assigned readings; and two short concept application essays.
In addition to the assignments listed above -- reading-response posts (20%), short essays (30%), in-class quizzes and writing assignments (10%) -- the final grade for the class will based on participation (10%) and a final exam (30%).