Dillard University, Spring 2014
What is feminism? What does it mean to be a feminist? Do we still need feminism? What is the relationship between feminism and philosophy? This course will address these questions and more through an advanced survey of feminist philosophy and theory, including authors such as Mary Wollstonecraft, bell hooks, Simone de Beauvoir, Nel Noddings, Donna Haraway and others. Feminist theory attempts to understand and critically engage the ways in which gender affects structures of knowledge and power. We will begin by looking at the theoretical underpinnings of feminist movements and types of feminism (radical, socialist, womanism, etc.). In the second part, we will examine theories of sex, gender, and identity, particularly in relation to class and race. We will also address the status of women in philosophy and criticisms of feminism. In the third part of the course, we will look at the role of women and feminism in politics, ethics, art, and popular culture. Students should expect to develop their abilities and reasoning skills to analyze texts critically, engage in thoughtful discussions, and evaluate the application of these positions in everyday situations. No background knowledge in philosophy is required, although it will certainly help. Course requirements include quizzes, blog posts, three essays, and a creative final project.