Dr. Cynthia Freeland/University of Houston

Feminist Philosophy Fall 2012


Schedule for Units One and Two


M Aug 27  Introduction

Feminist Philosophy; women and the canon; statistics on women in philosophy (handout)

Handout: Selections from Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche


W Aug 29  Feminism and the Canon

Charlotte Witt "How Feminism Is Re-writing the Philosophical Canon", http://www.uh.edu/~cfreelan/SWIP/Witt.html


M Sept 3 No Class/Labor Day


W Sept 5  Women philosophers in history 1: Plato and Diotima

Discussion Paper #1 Due

Luce Irigaray, “Sorceror Love” (on Diotima in Plato’s Symposium) (Handout)

Read Plato's Symposium on-line (Hint: Do a search for the word "Diotima" and begin reading at that section, and continue reading on through the end of Socrates' speech.)


M Sept 10  Women philosophers in history 2: Descartes and Princess Elizabeth

Excerpts from Andrea Nye, The Princess and the Philosopher: Letters of Elisabeth of the Palatine to Rene Descartes (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), Preface, Prologue, and Chapter 15, Master of Passion.  Read more about Princess Elizabeth here and here (on-line links). This site includes excellent links to letters between Elizabeth and Descartes, some illustrations of Elizabeth, etc.


W Sept 12  The rise of feminist philosophy (*Graduate student presentations)

Discussion Paper #2 Due

Susan Brison, Aftermath: Violence and the Remaking of a Self, Chapters One and Two, pp. 1-35 (“Surviving Sexual Violence,” and “The Personal as Philosophical”)

*Sandra Bartky, “A Life Sentence in Bohemia,” from Singing in the Fire: Stories of Women in Philosophy, ed. Linda Martin Alcoff

*Claudia Card, “Finding My Voice,” from Singing in the Fire

*Alison Jagger, “Freethinking?” from Singing in the Fire


M Sept 17  Theory and Method (*Graduate student presentations)

Jane Flax, “Women Do Theory,” Quest, 5 (Summer 1979), 20-26, reprinted in Jaggar and Rothenberg, Feminist Frameworks, 3rd ed (Handout)

Luce Irigaray, from “Questions,” in This Sex Which Is Not One, pp. 148-169

*bell hooks, “Theory as Liberatory Practice,” from Teaching to Transgress ( New York Routledge), 1994, reprinted in Kolmar and Bartkowski, Feminist Theory ( Mountain View: Mayfield, 2000), 36-41

*Catharine MacKinnon, “Consciousness Raising,” from Toward a Feminist Theory of the State,” pp. 83-105

*Maria Lugones and Elizabeth Spelman, “Have We Got a Theory for You! Feminist Theory, Cultural Imperialism, and the Demand for ‘The Woman’s Voice,” in Feminism & Philosophy, ed. Nancy Tuana and Rosemarie Tong, pp. 494-507; also in Feminist Theory, pp. 17-27.


W Sept 19    Begin Unit Two Liberal Feminism and Equality

Reading: Tong Chapter One   “Liberal Feminism” pp. 10-44

Focus on historical antecedents: Wollstonecraft, Taylor and Mill

Supplemental Materials                                                                                             

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
Mary Wollsttonecraft, includes picture and timeline
1792 A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN by MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT, 1792 (full text available electronically, downloadable by chapter)

John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor (1807-1858)
Published The Enfranchisement of Women in 1849, mostly written by Taylor, appeared under Mill's name. The Subjection of Women appeared after Taylor's death; also worked on by both and published under Mill's name.  

Harriet Taylor, informational page with picture and biography. Also has a great picture of Taylor and Mill together.
Harriet Taylor's Quotations, a selection on a page at a women's history site


M Sept 24      Tong Chapter One (cont’d.) (*Graduate student presentations)

First Wave Feminism in the U.S.; Angela Davis’ critique (outline on Blackboard)
Supplemental Materials: Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass  (in-class)

Second Wave Feminism in the U.S.: Betty Friedan and NOW (in-class)


Problems of inclusion/exclusion /Discussion Paper #3 Due

*Uma Narayan, “What’s a Brown Girl Like You Doing in the Ivory Tower? Or, How I Became a Feminist Philosopher,” from Singing in the Rain (Scan to be on Blackboard)


W Sept 26    Tong, Critiques of Liberal Feminism (*Graduate student presentations)

The “Third Wave”

*Susan Muaddi Darraj, “It’s Not an Oxymoron: The Search for an Arab Feminism,” from Colonize This!, pp. 295-311 (Scan to be on Blackboard)


*Adriana López, “In Praise of Difficult Chicas: Feminism and Femininity,” in Colonize This!, pp. 119-32


M Oct 1   Multicultural/Global Feminism

Tong Chapter Seven, pp. 212-245

Feminist Critique Due More Information on Feminist Critique (on-line)

W Oct 3   Multicultural Feminism (cont’d.)

Discussion Paper #5 Due

            Take-Home Topics Distributed on Units I and II


            M Oct 8   Begin Unit Three: Radical Feminism and Revolution

Take-Home #1 Due (on Units I and II)