This course seeks to assemble some of the philosophical evidence for feminist claims that traditional political theories are fundamentlaly inadequate because they have not, and presumably cannot, deal with basic facts of gender and the oppression of Women. We will begin by examining the nature of the distinction between sex and gender. This will take us through discussions of: the meaning and significance of categories being socially constructed, the possibility that sexual differences (and inequalities) are in some sense natural and what normative force this has. We will then consider varous attempts to describe the nature of women's oppression. What is it? How does it manifest itself in the lives of women? This will take us through discussions of freedom, constrained choice, ideology, "consciousness raising", androcentrism and the relation between, and methodological importance of, ideal and non-ideal theory. Along the way we will be constructing a version of the feminist framework known as the dominance approach and seeing how it analyzes three presumed sites of oppression: sexuality, reproduction and work/family. Among the authors we will be reading are: Elizabeth Anderson, Marily Frye, Sally Haslanger, Rae Langton, Anthony Laden, Catherine MacKinnon, and Susan Okin. The prerequisite for UNDERGRADUATES taking this course is: two philosophy courses (ONE of which is in moral or political philosophy) OR ONE of the following Gender Studies courses: GSWS/PHIL 028, GSWS/PoliSci 280, GSOC 320. There will be one short paper (6-8 pages) with revision, a longer final paper (15 pages) and weekly one-page reflections on a topic from the previous week's discussion.
R 0300PM-0600PM
  • PHIL485401

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The Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania

The Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women

3810 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 | (215) 898-8740

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