Feminist Philosophy syllabus resources

A reader writes:

In our department, we want to develop a new undergraduate, general education course on feminist philosophy. We also want to hire a feminist philosopher to teach it, since nobody in the department is an expert in the field. But we have a chicken-and-egg problem: we need to get the course approved before the hire (long story). Could you please post this to solicit help from your readers on constructing the course description and syllabus?

There are some constraints:

1) It would need to be analytic-friendly, though not necessarily exclusively analytic.

2) To satisfy general education requirements (another long story), it would need to substantially feature a wide range of perspectives beyond the standard voices in western philosophy. That is, it needs to include perspectives from different cultures, understood broadly. Though again the orientation and plenty of readings again can come from standard analytic philosophy, this emphasis on cross-cultural comparisons can’t be tagged on at the end as an afterthought; the course won’t be approved if it doesn’t include real study of diverse cultures throughout (while staying on the topic of feminist philosophy).

3) Because it will be a general education class, it needs to be appropriate for sophomore-level students with no relevant background.

Any suggestions for readings, course descriptions, unconventional assignments, etc., would be welcome. Also, please share any links to existing syllabi that you think are useful. Thanks for your help on this!

I’d suggest looking at the APA page of resources for diversifying philosophy.

And I’d welcome suggestions from others, in comments.


5 thoughts on “Feminist Philosophy syllabus resources

  1. The Feminist Philosophy Reader, McGraw-Hill 2007, Bailey and Cuomo, eds.

    Also, I’d peruse all bibliographies connected with any mention of “feminism” or “feminist” in the Stanford online encyclopedia.

  2. Given the “general education” angle, it might be interesting to include some history of economic thought. A really good book on this from a feminist economics perspective is Nancy Folbre, Greed Lust and Gender (OUP,2009). Mainly European and North American from the 17th century on, but she touches on Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. Nothing on Arthashastra, Chinese Legalism, or Ibn Khaldun, though. Many years ago JJ Spengler did discuss comparatively these non-Western sources of economic ideas, but not (from memory) in any context of feminist thought.

  3. Columbia U. Press has an anthology of Comparitive Feminist Philosophy, which links feminist philosophy to non-western cultures. Jen McWeeny is one of the editors.

  4. I’m not really qualified to reccommend cross-cultural stuff but I’d like to encourage the enquirer to consider Mill’s The Subjection of Women. It sets out a whole bunch of ideas which are foundational in later writing far more clearly than any recent writing that I’ve seen manages to. It’s a fairly solid look into the history of feminism, interesting as a historical document, not too long to set as a piece of seminar reading, and not at all difficult or obtuse to read either to one used to analytic philosophy or to a general reader. It had a larger impact on me and on my idea of what feminism was than any more recent piece of work I read before it.

    Some of the stuff in early Buddhism (the really early stuff, before the monastic tradition became entrenched and long before the centres of the tradition moved to Tibet) has some interesting feminist things going on (the Saññoga Sutta and the ten little Bikkhuni suttas spring most obviously to mind), so that might be worth a dip into?

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