Engendering Politics:Feminist Contributions to Political Theory - PO593

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR I MacKenzie checkmark-circle


The purpose of this module is to consider the ways in which feminist thought has influenced political theory. We examine a range of feminist approaches to politics, asking what unifies them and where and why they diverge from one another. Throughout, we ask how meaningful it is to speak of feminism in the singular: given the immense variety displayed by feminist thinking, should we talk about feminisms? Another guiding question will be the extent to which these approaches pose a fundamental challenge to traditional political theory. Can feminist theories of politics just 'add women and stir'? Or do feminist approaches compel us to new or different methodologies, conceptual tools and even definitions of politics?


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Reconstruction, 1000 words, 20%
Essay, 4000 words, 80%

Indicative reading

Clark, M.G. & Lange, L. (eds.) The Sexism of Social and Political Theory: Women and Reproduction from Plato to Nietzsche, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979.
Coole, Diana, Women in political theory, from ancient misogyny to contemporary feminism, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993.
Di Stefano, Christine, Configurations of Masculinity, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991.
Bryson, Valerie, Feminist Political Theory, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
McLaughlin, Janice, Feminist Social and Political Theory, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
Sperling, Liz. Women, Political Philosophy and Politics, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
demonstrate knowledge of the main questions and concerns of feminist approaches to politics;
Interpret of some of the key texts by feminist writers;
Discuss feminist debates in their own words;
Critically evaluate different feminist perspectives and have the ability to situate them vis-à-vis one another;
Assess the challenges feminism poses to mainstream theories of politics;
Evaluate the relationship between feminist theories and developments within practical politics.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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