Philosophy and Feminism

Institution: Washington State University

Department: Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs

Course-level: Advanced undergraduate seminar

Format:  Seminar

Description: This course explores the development of feminist political philosophy from the publication of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex to the present. We consider feminist attempts to uncover and remedy the conceptual, economic, and psychological dimensions of the oppression of women. Readings explore the major feminist positions on the nature and scope of women's oppression, how it gets perpetuated, and possible solutions. We also discuss the relationship of sexism to class exploitation, racism, heterosexism, and imperialism. The focus of the course is on the variety of debates and theoretical positions within feminist political thought.

Course Goals:

The outcome of such a study is expected to be a heightened ability to:

(1) Analyze, interpret and articulate in writing and class discussion major theories that

a) expose the different dimensions of the oppression of women

b) reveal the connection of the oppression of women to the oppression of the poor, racial and sexual minorities, and non-Western people.

c) discuss the possibilities of overcoming oppression.

(2) Critically evaluate these theories in written argument and class discussion.

(3) Develop our own positions within a tradition of debate surrounding the oppression of women.