Class Meetings. M W F 1:30-2:20 pm in Humanities Center, Room 302
Office Hours. M Tu W Th F 2:30-3:20 pm
or by appointment
Office. Humanities Center, Room 113
Feminism is the view that women are subordinate to men and that this subordination is morally unjustified. This course will examine a variety of philosophical attempts to understand and explain women’s subordination and to argue for the conclusion that women’s subordination is unjustified. Theoretical approaches to be examined include conservatism, liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, multicultural feminism, and global feminism. We will also use these feminist viewpoints to examine a variety of social, political, and cultural issues, including issues related to economics, family life, and sexuality.
Acquaint students with a variety of philosophical approaches to the questions of how and why women are subordinated to men and whether and why women’s subordination is unjustified.
Help students to examine a variety of ethical, political, and social issues related to gender and to scrutinize how these issues are related to women’s subordination to men, if indeed they are.
Help students learn to approach such issues from a variety of philosophical angles in order both to see the complexity of these issues and to test out the versatility of these different approaches.
Help students to develop their own views about the different philosophical theories of women’s subordination and the various gender-related issues that we examine.
Help students to articulate their views with rigor, forcefulness, and clarity, orally and in writing.
Develop students’ skills of careful reading and interpretation of philosophical texts, critical reasoning, and written and oral expression.
Alison M. Jaggar and Paula S. Rothenberg, eds., Feminist Frameworks: Alternative Theoretical Accounts of the Relations between Women and Men, third ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993).
A. P. Martinich, Philosophical Writing: An Introduction, second ed. (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1996).
Two analytic essays approximately 500 words in length. Each essay is on the assigned reading for one class meeting, and is worth 10% of your final grade (20%).
Schedule of due dates to be determined after surveying student preferences
One major essay approximately 2000 words in length on a topic of your choosing related to the course material (30%).
One final examination 100 minutes in duration, to be administered on Friday, December 13, 2002, 10:00-11:40 am, worth 20%
In-class and take-home writing assignments (10%).
Participation in class discussions in large and small groups (10%).
You will compose two analytic essays approximately 500 words in length. The topic of each essay will be the readings assigned for one class meeting. An analytic essay should focus quite narrowly on some specific issue or question addressed in the assigned reading, state the author’s position on that question or issue clearly and succinctly, and raise some critical question or challenge about the author’s position. You need not address the author’s entire argument and, indeed, most successful analytic essays do not attempt to do so. Further information about the analytic essays will be provided on a handout to be distributed in class in late August.
The culmination of your work in this course will be the composition of a major essay approximately 2000 words in length concerning some topic related to the course. A handout describing the major essay in more detail, including suggested topics and a list of suggested sources for each topic, will be distributed in class in mid-September.
You will write one midterm examination and one final examination that are intended to determine how well you understand the assigned readings. The midterm examination will involve both a set of multiple-choice quote identification questions and one essay question related to the assigned readings. The final examination will involve two essay questions, at least one of which is likely to be comprehensive. The makeup of each exam, including the number and weight of the multiple choice questions, the number of essay questions that you will have to choose from, and the exact text of each essay question will be announced in class in advance of each exam. You will be permitted to bring one 4” x 6” card of handwritten notes into each exam.
You will regularly be required to complete brief, informal writing exercises in class or as homework. These exercises may take the form of, for example, study guides, reactions to specified passages of the course readings, or articulation of your own thoughts on some issue or question related to the course material. They are primarily designed to determine whether you are keeping up with the course readings and thinking about what you read. I will grade them with an eye for the effort you are putting into them. Regular completion of in-class writing exercises will also contribute to your class participation mark.
You will be required to participate in class discussions in both large and small groups. While regular attendance at class meetings is necessary to do well on this component of the marking scheme, it is by no means sufficient. Both active listening to what others are saying and regular voicing of your own views, comments, and questions are expected. By the same token, activities that disrupt class discussions will count against this portion of your mark. Disruptive activities include, but are not limited to, whispering to your neighbor while someone else is talking, interrupting others, arriving late to class or leaving early without permission, and sleeping or eating in class. Repeated instances of disruptive behavior will lead to the assignment of a grade of D or F for the class participation component of the grading scheme.
Absence Policy. It is not my policy formally to take attendance at each class meeting. The class participation and writing exercise requirements are, however, partly intended to ensure your regular attendance. In accordance with University policy, “conscientious attendance of classes” is considered a necessary condition of successful completion of this course (CU Bulletin, Undergraduate Issue: 2002, p. 85). Consequently, if you receive a grade of F on either the class participation or the informal writing exercise component of your grade due to excessive absences, then you will receive a grade of AF for the course.
Deadlines and Petitions for Extensions and Make-up Tests. All deadlines for submission of course work are firm. Late papers will not be accepted unless you have successfully petitioned for an extension of the deadline before the deadline arrives. Petitions for extensions of essay deadlines will be considered IF AND ONLY IF (1) you give a compelling reason why circumstances beyond your control prevent you from submitting the paper on time AND (2) you request an extension in writing by the deadline specified in the essay handout. After that date, no requests for extensions will be considered. If you submit your essay late without previously having obtained an extension, your essay will not be accepted and you will receive a grade of zero for the assignment.
If you miss an exam due to reasons beyond your control, then you can arrange to take a make-up exam by contacting the instructor as soon as possible, and no more than 24 hours after the scheduled time of the exam. In order to obtain permission to take a make-up exam, you need to provide documentary proof of the circumstances that prevented you from writing the exam at the scheduled time within 5 business days of the scheduled time. If you fail to contact the instructor within 24 hours or to provide evidence of what prevented you from taking the exam within 5 business days, then you will receive a grade of zero for that exam.
Academic Honesty. If you present the words or thoughts of another person as if they were your own, you are guilty of plagiarism. This is true whether or not you intended to pass off the words or thoughts in question as your own. You are also guilty of plagiarism if you present the same work for credit in two different university courses.
Plagiarism is an extremely serious academic offense. Penalties for plagiarism can range from getting a zero on the assignment in question through getting an F in the course to being expelled from the university. Generally speaking, my policy is to penalize acts of academic dishonesty by assigning a grade of F for the course, although I reserve the right to assign a lesser penalty (such as assigning a grade of zero for the assignment) or to appeal to the Dean to assign a greater penalty (such as expulsion from the university) at my discretion. Whatever penalty I assign, you should know that every act of academic dishonesty, however small or large, is recorded in a letter placed in the student’s permanent academic file in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Given the severe penalties you may incur as a result of plagiarism and the high risk of getting caught, it is wise to do all in your power to avoid committing plagiarism knowingly or unknowingly. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to be as thorough as possible in documenting the sources you rely on for the claims you make in your papers. Detailed guidelines for documenting your sources will be supplied on the assignment sheets for each of the essays in this course.
The most common reasons for plagiarism are (1) carelessness or laziness in providing page references to sources, (2) confusion about just when documentation is and is not required, and (3) feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by the difficulty of an assignment. If you feel prone to any of these feelings, reflect for a minute on the fact that I am highly likely to see right through your attempt to get by without documentation, and consider what the consequences may be if you are caught. And remember, I am always happy to talk to you about any and all issues related to plagiarism, and especially about concerns (2) and (3) listed above.
List of Important Dates
Personal Information Forms due
Labor Day – No class meeting
First Analytic Essay due
Midterm Exam Review
Fall Break – no class meetings
Major Essay Topic Statements due
Major Essay workshop
Semrad Lecture in Non-Western Philosophy: Dr. Roger Ames (University of Hawaii)
Second Analytic Essay due
Instructor away at conference – no class meeting
Major Essay due
Final Exam Review
* - Insert the due date for your analytic essays as stated on the analytic essay handout.
Criteria for Evaluating
Philosophy Essays Appropriateness. Does your essay answer each of the questions stated in the handout you received in class? Will it be obvious to the reader what your answers are to each of those questions?
Clarity of exposition and argument. How clearly have you explained the arguments and concepts from the course material which are relevant to the assignment? How clearly have you expressed your critical evaluation of the arguments contained in the readings? Have you clearly stated the reasons behind your evaluations?
Critical understanding of the material. Have you demonstrated a detailed, thorough understanding of the relevant course readings? Is there any important part of an argument that you have not considered? Do your accounts of the arguments make sense in light of what you know about the larger context in which they are set?
Fairness to the authors' arguments. Are your interpretations of the authors’ arguments charitable? Have you done your best to interpret them as good, strong arguments? If you think a certain argument is badly flawed, can you identify any beliefs that the author may have held which would make the argument stronger than you first thought? If you have expressed doubts about whether a certain premise of the author’s argument is true, have you supplied an argument to show that that premise is probably or certainly false?
Coherence of your explanations and arguments. Does your essay make sense as a whole? Is it well organized? At each stage of the essay, is it easy to tell what you are saying and how that fits in with what you have already said? Are there any conflicts between things you say at different points in the essay? Do your arguments flow logically from your premises to your conclusions?
Ability to anticipate objections to your point of view. Have you considered how the authors of the articles you discuss (or someone else who read your essay and disagreed with you) might respond to your arguments? Are your arguments open to any obvious objections? Have you committed any glaring errors of reasoning? Are any of the assumptions you make obviously false?
Documentation of works cited. Have you noted where you refer to the work of writers other than yourself? Have you included page numbers in parentheses in the text of your essay to mark where you refer to works on the course syllabus? Have you included full endnotes or footnotes to mark where you refer to works other than those on the course syllabus? Have you included a bibliography listing all the bibliographical information about sources you refer to that are not on the course syllabus?
Interpretations of Letter Grades F “Failure – no credit”1
Extreme lack of clarity or coherence of expression or thought.
Disregard for the objectives and requirements of the assignment.
Absent or irrelevant use of the relevant course readings.
Submission of another’s words or thoughts as if they were your own, whether in the form of plagiarism or failure to acknowledge the source of an idea or expression.
D “Work of inferior quality, but passing”
Unclear or incoherent expression or argument.
Failure to satisfy the requirements of the assignment.
Inadequate understanding of the relevant course readings.
Inadequate acknowledgment or citation of the sources of your expressions or ideas.
C “Satisfactory work”
Basic clarity and coherence of expression and argument.
Satisfaction of the assignment’s basic requirements.
Adequate understanding of the views expressed in the relevant course readings and the arguments provided in support of those views.
Clear, coherent expression of an evaluation of the views and arguments expressed in the relevant course readings.
Minimally appropriate acknowledgment and citation of the sources of your expressions and ideas.
B “Noteworthy level of performance”
Demonstrates all of the qualities of satisfactory work, as well as:
Above average clarity and coherence of expression and argument.
Clear, logical organization of the essay’s introduction, body, and conclusion.
Clear, detailed, accurate understanding of the views expressed in the relevant course readings and the arguments offered in support of those views.
Adequate attempt to provide argumentative support for your evaluation of the views and arguments expressed in the relevant course readings.
A “Outstanding achievement and an unusual degree of intellectual initiative”
Demonstrates all of the qualities of noteworthy performance, as well as:
Excellent clarity and coherence of expression and argument.
Clear, cogent, logical argumentative support for your evaluation of the views and arguments expressed in the relevant course readings.
Originality of interpretation, explanation, argumentation, or criticism.
Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” pp. 489-91
Frye, “Virgin Women,” pp. 492-96
Review for Final Examination
Final Examination (10:00-11:40 am)
Schedule of Due Dates for Analytic Essays
Bunch or Bunster-Bunalto
Spiller or Newman
Wittig or MacKinnon
Dworkin or Kostash
Course Bibliography The following is a selection of key works related to the topics covered in this course. The works are listed by the section of the course to which they are related, and alphabetically by author within each section. All works listed are available in the collection of Reinert Alumni Memorial Library.
Perennial Issues in the Philosophy of Gender Brod, Harry. The Making of Masculinities: The New Men’s Studies. Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1987.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1983.
Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. 20 anniv. ed. New York: Norton, 1983.
Lerner, Gerda, ed. Black Women in White America: A Documentary History. New York: Pantheon, 1972.
Millet, Kate. Sexual Politics. New York: Ballantine, 1978.
Morgan, Robin, ed. Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement. New York: Random House, 1970.
Tannen, Deborah. You Just Don’t Understand: Men and Women in Conversation. New York: Morrow, 1990.
Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women. New York: Morrow, 1991.
Why Look at Gender Theoretically? Aptheker, Bettina. Tapestries of Life: Women’s Work, Women’s Consciousness, and the Meaning of Daily Experience. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1989.
Belenky, Mary Field, et al., eds. Women’s Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind. 10thth anniv. ed. New York: Basic Books, 1997.
Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Myths of Gender: Biological Theories about Women and Men. 2nd ed. New York: Basic Books, 1992.
Hull, Gloria T., et al., eds. All the Women are White, All the Blacks are Men, but Some of Us are Brave. Old Westbury, N.Y.: Feminist Press, 1982.
Lloyd, Genevieve. The Man of Reason: “Male” and “Female” in Western Philosophy. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
Nicholson, Linda J., ed. Feminism/Postmodernism. New York: Routledge, 1990.
Competing Theories of Women’s Subordination de Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex. Trans. H. M. Parshley. New York: Vintage, 1952.
Collins, Patricia Hill. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2000.
Daly, Mary. Gyn/ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism. Boston: Beacon, 1978.
Davis, Angela Y. Women, Race, and Class. New York: Random House, 1981.
Eisenstein, Zillah R. Capitalist Patriarchy and the Case for Socialist Feminism. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978.
Engels, Friedrich. The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State. New York: Penguin, 1986.
Frye, Marilyn. The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory. Trumansburg, N.Y.: Crossing Press, 1983.
hooks, bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Boston: South End Press, 1984.
Jaggar, Alison M. Feminist Politics and Human Nature. Totowa, N.J.: Rowman & Allanheld, 1983.
MacKinnon, Catharine A. Toward a Feminist Theory of the State. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989.
Mill, John Stuart, and Mill, Harriet Taylor. Essays on Sex Equality. Ed. A. S. Rossi. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.
Mohanty, Chandra Tapalde, et al., eds. Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.
Moraga, Cherríe, and Anzaldúa, Gloria, eds. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. New York: Kitchen Table, 1983.
Tong, Rosemarie. Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction. 2nd ed. Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1998.
Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Men; with A Vindication of the Rights of Women, and Hints. Ed. S. Tomaselli. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Work & Gender Amott, Teresa, and Matthaei, Julie. Race, Gender, and Work: A Multicultural Economic History of Women in the United States. Boston: South End Press, 1991.
Baxandall, Rosalyn, and Gordon, Linda. America’s Working Women: A Documentary History, 1600 to the Present. Rev. ed. New York: Norton, 1995.
Crosny, Faye J. Juggling : The Unexpected Advantages of Balancing Career and Home for Women and their Families. New York: Free Press, 1991.
Dujon, Diane, and Withorn, Ann, eds. For Crying Out Loud: Women’s Poverty in the United States. Boston: South End Press, 1996.
Fuentes, Annette, and Ehrenreich, Barbara. Women in the Global Factory. Boston: South End Press, 1983.
Glazer, Nona Y. Women’s Paid and Unpaid Labor: The Work Transfer in Health Care and Retailing. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.
MacKinnon, Catharine A. Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case of Sex Discrimination. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978.
Seavey, Dorothy K. Back to Basics: Women’s Poverty and Welfare Reform. Wellesley, Mass.: Center for Research on Women, 1996.
Sexuality & Gender Barry, Kathleen. Female Sexual Slavery. New York: New York University Press, 1979.
Bartky, Sandra Lee. Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression. New York: Routledge, 1990.
Brownmiller, Susan. Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975.
Burstyn, Varda, ed. Women Against Censorship. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1985.
Caputi, Mary. Voluptuous Yearnings: A Feminist Theory of the Obscene. Lanham, Mary.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994.
Gerhard, Jane. Desiring Revolution: Second-Wave Feminism and the Rewriting of American Sexual Thought, 1920 to 1982. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.
Gunning, Sandra. Race, Rape, and Lynching: The Red Record of American Literature, 1890-1912. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Hite, Shere. The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study on Female Sexuality. New York: Macmillan, 1976.
Hite, Shere. The Hite Report on Male Sexuality. New York: Knopf, 1981.
Lederer, Laura. Take Back the Night: Women on Pornography. New York: Morrow, 1980.
Russell, Diana E. H. Rape in Marriage. Rev. ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.
Wolf, Naomi. Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood. New York: Random House, 1997.
1 The expressions in quotations are the official definitions of letter grades taken from the Creighton University Bulletin, Undergraduate Issue: 2002, p. 86. Each definition is followed by a list of criteria that constitute my interpretation of how to apply these evaluative standards to the grading of philosophy essays.
2* The group listed in the second column of the table is the group responsible for writing an analytic essay on the reading covered in class on the day indicated. The essay is due at the class following the one in which the reading is covered.
3* The date listed is the date the essay is actually due. Normally, this is one class meeting after the reading is discussed.