Office: A204-I, phone
Office Hrs: M 3-4:00; 6-7:00 pm
Home phone: 243-8261 W 3-5:00
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org R 9-11:00 & by appointment
I. Description of Course Content:
In this course we work to develop philosophical perspectives on
feminist perspectives on philosophy. Philosophy is an on-going process of
criticism and construction. We work with both modes of the process--the critical
and the constructive (or reconstructive). On the one hand we examine the
possibility that the branches of philosophy--ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of science,
theory of knowledge ("epistemology"), theories of reality ("metaphysics"), and
others-- may have been inadvertently impoverished by being grounded largely in
male experience. On the other hand we study a rich variety of constructive moves
toward a philosophy more engaged with the experience of all human beings. The
Course Schedule below provides a more detailed list of topics to be addressed.
A. Required texts for purchase:
1. Meyers, Diana T., ed. Feminist Social Thought. New York: Routledge, 1997.
2. Garry, Ann & Pearsall, Marilyn, eds. Women, Knowledge & Reality. 2nd ed.
New York: Routledge, 1998. [hereafter "GP"]
B. Other readings:
Several readings will be on reserve in Mortenson Library. These will be mentioned
from time to time, usually as recommended readings, although I reserve the right
occasionally to assign some of these as required reading if students in the class express
adequate interest in the topics of these works. (In that case, for example, we might
decide to substitute a library reading for one of the articles in our text.) These reserve
materials may also be good starting points for your research papers.
C. On-line resources: a list of recommended sites will be provided.
III. Goals and Objectives:
The general goals of the Philosophy Department at the University of
to foster studentsā growth in four areas: (A) basic knowledge of the history and
practice of philosophy; (B) analytical, critical, and interpretive reading of primary texts;
(C) the design and conduct of inquiry; and (D) clarity of expression and communication,
especially in speech and writing.
In keeping with those general departmental goals, students who successfully
this course will be able to meet the following objectives:
A. - to identify main themes of feminist philosophy
(especially during the last half
century), some of its major contributors, and their specific contributions
- to identify historical and cultural conditions in and through which those themes
emerged, and those contributors attained voice and recognition
- to compare and contrast distinct agendas and methodologies put forward by
different feminist philosophers
B. - to read and understand primary source material in philosophy
both modes of analytical reading: the empathic and the critical
- to extract significant concepts and arguments from primary texts
- to evaluate these arguments with regard to their strengths and limitations; their
implications for further inquiry; and their potential impact on Īreal-worldā issues
C. - to conduct inquiry- for a short independent project.
- to sense the presence of a conceptual and/or practical problem
- to specify the problem
- to gather relevant information and interpret it conceptually
- to assess the results of the inquiry project and to suggest further directions
D. - to express and communicate the results of inquiry, in prose
that is clear,
logically sound, and effectively structured
IV. Assignments and Grading:
-Weekly writing assignments: normally these will
responses to assigned reading, in what I call "prep-sheet"
format (explained below). 30 %
- Participation: attendance, preparedness, contributions
class discussion and to small-group process, occasional
on-line assignments, and maintenance of a "portfolio"
consisting of your collected written work for the course. 10%
- Independent research paper (15-20 pages) 20%
- Two take-home exams (4-6 pages each) @ 15% 30%
- Hands-on service project report 10%
V. Rules and Expectations:
1. Attend every class. Have assignments for the day completed.
Be respectful of your co-learners (classmates and professor).
Ordinarily late assignments will suffer a grade penalty and will not
be accepted at all after one week. Exceptions will be made in
special circumstances such as serious illness, travel with athletic
teams, family emergencies, etc.
2. You are encouraged to study together. You may brainstorm
together in preparation for papers. But, in the end, your written
work must be your own. Plagiarism consists of presenting
someone elseās work as though it were your own. The penalty
is failure for the entire course. While working on your papers,
be sure to use proper documentation. Ask for advice if you are
VI. Tentative Schedule: We will try to follow this
closely as possible, but there will probably be changes. In case
you miss a class, it is your responsibility to inform yourself about
any changes in schedule so that you can come properly
prepared to the next class.
Repeat: be on the alert for announced changes!
|Date||Topic + Readings + Prep-Sheets Due||Resarch Process||Other Work|
|Philosophy and Gender
|Construction of Gender (cont.)
|Research Topic Due|
Fraser, Nancy & Nicholson, Linda J.,
|Initial Bibliography Due||Exam #1 Distributed|
| Metaphysics, Self, and Agency
(GP 5, 61-83).
*Prep-Sheet due from Group 4.
|Exam 1 Due|
| Metaphysics and Epistemology
Crenshaw, Kimberle Williams
|Annotated Bibliography Due|
|Epistemology and Philosophy of Science
|Outline or Prospectus Due|
|Agency and Language
|First Five pages of research Paper Due||Exam 2 distributed|
|Political Thought and Agency
|Exam 2 Due|
| Feminist Ethics
|First 10 pages Due|
|Women and the Law
"The Equality Crisis: Some Reflections on
Culture, Courts and Feminism"
(M 36, 695-713).
*Prep-Sheet Due from Group 4.
|First 15 Pages Due|
|Religion, Women and Imagery
Complete First Draft Due
|Complete First Draft Due|
|Week 13||To Be Determined||Service Project Report Due|
|To Be Determined|
VII. Other Relevant Information Regarding Assignments:
A. What is a prep-sheet ?
A prep-sheet is somewhat like a journal entry, but with a specific
content and format. It enables you to come to class well prepared
for listening and discussion. Prep-sheets greatly facilitate productive
Format for a prep-sheet: a prep-sheet has four parts: Analysis, Evaluation, Further Inquiry, and Personal Response.
Here they are in more detail:
a. Summarize the authorās argument. State what she or he says,using your own words but conveying the author's own meaning. Before you begin, think carefully about what the author's main argument is. Remember what philosophers mean by the term "argument":
An argument is discourse in which reasons are given in support
of a conclusion. To extract the argument from a text, then,
you must ask yourself:
- What question is the author asking, or what problem is s/he addressing?
- What answer does s/he finally come to?
- What are the main thought-steps s/he goes through to get from the problem
to the solution?
When you can answer these questions, you are ready to summarize the
b. Situate what is said, in terms
of its historical and cultural context
a. Determine the strength of the argument. Consider both its internal logic and how well it stands up against your knowledge from other sources and your own reasoning.
b. Determine the significance of the argument. Ask yourself "What difference does it make?" Think both about the difference it would have made in its original context, and about what difference it might make today. To what contemporary issues and problems would the author's ideas be relevant? How might we need to "reconstruct" any of those ideas to make them useful to us today?
a. What questions for further inquiry does your evaluation of this argument suggest? What does the author need to explain or investigate next, to clarify or refine her/his thinking?
b. What uses might we make of the authorās ideas and arguments in relation to problems we face today? You may consider both social problems and conceptual problems. How would you reconstruct the ideas to make them more servicable in today's world?
4. PERSONAL RESPONSE:
Please add any thoughts and feelings you have about the material that
seem to fit in the previous sections of this prep-sheet. If you have
indicated what you found most interesting in this material, do that
|Here is one way to remember what should be on a prep-sheet:
I. Analysis: summarize and situate
II. Evaluation: assess strength and significance
III. Inquiry: suggest uses and refinements
IV. Personal Response: (self)
- The most important part of your prep-sheet is the Analysis--especially when you are first learning to do a prep-sheet. Concentrate on that. As the course goes on, the Analysis will become much easier. I will then ask you to concentrate a larger portion of your effort on other parts of the prep-sheet.
- A prep-sheet will probably require 1-3 pages, if it is planned
well. If you find it helpful to write more than that, however,
you are free to do so. Prep-sheets should be typed, preferably
on a word-processor.
- I will provide you with a sample prep-sheet or two, to help you understand what you need to do.
B. Your Independent Research Paper:
You will receive further instructions on the research paper as the class proceeds. This assignment should be especially fun for you! --it is here that you will investigate a topic of particular interest to you. The possibilities are vast. You might pick a specific topic or problem. You might focus on a particular author's work. It is important to begin this process early, and to work consistently at it. The schedule above gives you a whole set of due dates by means of which I expect you to pace your work. PLEASE OBSERVE THESE DUE DATES!
C. Take-Home Exams (Essays):
- These are intended to test your understanding of the assigned readings. I will give you three questions. You will pick one of these and write an essay (4-6 pages) answering it. These are interpretive-analytical essays. They require careful reading of texts, and they require thinking. They do not require research
beyond assigned texts.
- Rewrites will normally be permitted, but only providing the paper was originally submitted on time. Ordinarily there is no re-write option on late papers.
D. Hands-on Service Project and Report:
You will receive further instruction on this project early in the semester. We will locate a variety of service
opportunities involving issues of concern to women and/or organizations dedicated to such issues. Some of these will involve travel off campus, but others will not. Each of you will arrange to do a small number of hours of service work and will write and present a brief report. Please note: this is not a huge project, and will not take a great deal of your time. It is meant to help you make contact with service
opportunities that exist, and to provide you with some valuable and satisfying experiences related to the problems our authors are addressing.
E. Electronic Media and "Study Help":
- When feasible, I will post "study help" on my homepage rather than using hardcopy handouts. I will also post any changes in assignments, or other relevant announcements, so that if you forget something that was announced in class, you can consult the web page to refresh your memory. Another type of help that you fill find on my web page is a set of links to sites of special value to students of feminist philosophy.
- We will be organizing some mode of electronic discussion of course-related issues. You will not be
required to participate in this exchange. However, intelligent participation may make you eligible for extra credit.
Do communicate with me! Make me aware of any course-related problems you are having. Give me
your suggestions for improving the course. Tell me your likes and dislikes. I will exercise my judgment,
but the more students I receive feedback from, the better my judgment can serve the class as a whole.
Utilize my Office Hours
(or make an appointment) whenever you want extra help with the course.
If it is more convenient, consult me by e-mail.
Communicate with one another also! Study groups
are usually very helpful in relation to philosophy.
Think seriously about starting a group, or finding a study partner. Help one another out.