In western countries feminism has had a considerable impact on the conduct of practical politics. The purpose of this module is to consider the ways in which feminist thought has influenced political theory. Returning to some of the earliest feminist critiques of modern politics by Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill, 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?
Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150
Optional module on all BA programmes taught in the School of Politics and International Relations
Method of assessment
Reconstruction, 1000 words, 20%
Essay, 4000 words, 80%
Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework
* Rosemarie Putnam Tong, Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction, 3rd Edition, Boulder and Oxford: Westview Press, 2008.
* Tina Chanter, Gender: Key Concepts in Philosophy, London: Continuum, 2006.
* Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, London: Penguin, 2004.
* Catherine McKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press.
* Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, London: Routledge, 1999.
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1: demonstrate knowledge of the main questions and concerns of feminist approaches to politics;
2: Interpret of some of the key texts by feminist writers;
3: Discuss feminist debates in their own words;
4: Critically evaluate different feminist perspectives and have the ability to situate them vis-à-vis one another;
5: Assess the challenges feminism poses to mainstream theories of politics;
6: Evaluate the relationship between feminist theories and developments within practical politics.
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