PHIL M187 Course Description
This course will examine contemporary issues in feminist philosophy. We will consider a range of narrow questions and, in doing so, set the table for a parallel discussion of broader issues surrounding social identity ethics.
Narrow: How have traditional binary conceptions of gender produced oppressive and exclusionary social conditions for some persons? What do we make of the intersection of gender, race, and class? How is it that negative identity prejudices can undermine one’s capacity as a knower? How might one’s sense of self be harmed when a significant aspect of one’s identity is used against her?
Broad: How do identity-based experiences affect our ways of being in the world (e.g., our actions, interactions, what we claim to know)? How might we bridge differences of social identity and identity-based experiences? Given the complexities of intersectionality, on what grounds can outsiders to some identity relate to insiders’ experiences and support their good?
To examine these issues, we’ll cover texts from the traditional western canon, contemporary feminist and intersectional philosophy, social epistemology, and sociology. Each reading will contribute towards illuminating the complexities of gender-based harm and, hopefully, reveal some possibilities for being good to one another with respect to social identity in a contemporary society.
- To develop sustained analytical responses to the central themes of the course.
- To engage in critical discussion and dialogue with peers on the views covered.
- To synthesize ideas from different readings in order to grasp broader philosophical concepts.
- To write essays that demonstrate working knowledge of the course material and to analyze that material in a clear, systematic, original, and well-developed manner.
Lectures and sections are scheduled to meet in-person, and there are no current plans to stream or record lectures. This is subject to change in case there are changes to university policy that require moving the course to online instruction or recorded lecture format.
Assignments & Grading
Your final grade will be determined by a set of short written responses, two papers, and a participation grade. The grading breakdown is as follows:
6/26, 7/3, 7/17, 7/24
Question/Response: 4 short writings that will be no ~250 words in length. You will either answer a question based on assigned readings or respond to a question that you’ve developed. In doing so, you may be asked to include, for example, a proper aim statement, a proper citation or footnote, or one example explanation.
QRs are worth 15% of your grade (i.e., 15/100 points). These 15 points are divided into on-time submission (5 points) and content quality (10 points). Submit complete responses on time and you will automatically receive 5 points. Late submission means you will receive 0/5. On the final QR due date, you will submit the full document containing all responses. This final document will be graded for completeness and content quality and be worth up to 10 points. You are welcome (but not required) to revise any prior responses before the QR4 due date.
Paper 1: Paper 1 will be ~5 pages in length (~1250 words). Paper 1 topics will be based on readings and lectures up to the end of week 3. More info TBA.
Paper 2: Paper 2 will be ~5 pages in length (~1250 words). Paper 2 topics will be based on readings and lectures up to the end of week 6. More info TBA.
Section/Course Participation: Open discussion will be an important tool for learning in this course. As such, your final grade will include a course participation/contribution portion. Receiving the full score can happen in multiple ways; it does not require getting things right all the time or speaking for its own sake. Rather, excellent contribution may be the result of attending contributing meaningful questions or thoughts to lecture/sections/office hours discussions. With that said, a practical requirement for receiving a full contribution score is consistent attendance.
All course readings and handouts will be available on the Bruinlearn course site.
- Course Introduction, Lorde, “Poetry is Not a Luxury”. Pp. 1-2.
- Plato, The Republic Book V 449c-457a.
- Aristotle, Politics5, 1.11-1.13.
- Rousseau, Emile Book 5 Pp 1-5.
- Mill, selections from The Subjection of Women. Pp 10-16.
Qr1 Due: Sunday, 6/26
- Beauvoir, Introduction to The Second Sex, Pp. 13-28.
- Goffman, selections from “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”. Pp 1-13.
- (Optional) Corvino, “Analyzing Gender”. Pp 1-9.
- Goffman, “The Arrangement Between the Sexes”. 301-330.
- West and Zimmerman, “Women’s Place in Everyday Talk: Reflections on Parent Child Interaction”. Pp 521-528.
- (Optional) Jost, “The Subjugation and Self-Subjugation of Girls and Women”. Pp. 177-200.
QR2 Due: Sunday 7/3
- Maria Lugones, “’World’-Travelling, and Loving Perception”. Pp. 3-19.
- (Optional) Ortega, “Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant: White Feminisms and Women of Color”. Pp. 56-74.
- bell-hooks, “Feminism is for Everybody” Selections. Pp. 1-12.
- (Optional) Sarah Soh, “Sexual Enslavement and Reproductive Health: Narratives of Han among Korean Comfort Women Survivors”. Pp 86-101.
- Frye, “Oppression”. Pp 10-16.
- Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex…”. Pp. 1-8.
- Combahee River Collective Statement. Pp. 1-9.
- (Optional) Shaista Gohir, “The Veil Ban in Europe: Gender Equality or Gendered Islamophobia?”. Pp. 24-33.
Paper 1 Due: 7/10
- Jennifer Nash, “Re-thinking Intersectionality”. Pp. 1-15.
- Nancy Ehrenreich, “Subordination and Symbiosis.” Pp. 266-275.
- Chang and Culp, “After Intersectionality”. Pp 485-491.
- (Optional) Anne Garry, “Essences, Intersections, and American Feminism”. Pp. 595-618.
- Fricker on Testimonial and Hermeneutical Injustice: Selections from Epistemic Injustice.
- (Optional) Morten Byskov, “What Makes Epistemic Injustice an Injustice?”. Pp 116-131.
- (Optional) Lorraine Code: “Is the sex of the knower epistemologically significant?”
QR3 Due: Sunday 7/17
- Barrett Emerick, “Empathy and a Life of Moral Endeavor”. Pp 1-13.
- Nora Berenstain, “Epistemic Exploitation”. Pp. 569-588.
- (0ptional) Sophia Dandelet, “Epistemic Coercion”. Pp. 1-22.
- Gaile Polhaus Jr., “Relational Knowing and Epistemic Injustice.” Pp. 715-735.
- Jose Medina, “Varieties of Hermeneutical Injustice.” Pp. 41-50.
QR4 + Total Packet Due: Sunday, 7/24.
- Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, “Deference Politics”. From Elite Capture. Pp 117-123.
- Charlotte Bunch, “Women’s Rights as Human Rights”. Pp. 486-498.
- Sally Haslanger, Structural Injustice: Managing Social Coordination in Complex Systems.
- (Optional) Michael Doan, “Resisting Structural Epistemic Injustice.” Pp. 1-20.
- (Optional) Patricia Hill Collins, “Intersectionality and Epistemic Injustice.” Pp. 115-123.
- Overflow, course content wrap-up, return to Lorde’s “Poetry is not a luxury.”
Paper 2 Due: 7/29
Please be mindful of how we communicate with each other. Any language that is harmful or abusive will not be tolerated. At all times, I ask that we approach sensitive topics with sensitivity and communicate in ways that show respect for divergent views.
I believe that learning happens best when simple language is used. Whenever possible, I will do my best to explain things in the simplest terms. If I stray from this and you’re lost, ask for clarification. After all, the ultimate goal is for you to understand the material and to articulate your views with clarity and precision.
Your success in this course is my primary goal. Should you need accommodations, please let me know early on, either in person or through email. I will provide any accommodations you require, as directed by you and in conjunction with the Center for Accessible Education (CAE - previously known as the Office for Students with Disabilities). For more information, visit http://www.cae.ucla.edu/.
You are not allowed to record audio/video or take pictures during instruction time without my consent. If given consent, be advised that you are then agreeing to share whatever media you capture during sections upon my request. For any prolonged distraction that occurs because of any electronic device (e.g., computers, phones, recording devices, etc.), you may be asked to leave the classroom.
Use “PHIL (class #)” in the subject line. Please reserve substantive questions about papers, the course material, or life in general, for office hours or after lecture. I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Help me stick to this 24-hour rule by placing multiple questions into a single email.
Couse attendance is expected. If you are late or absent for a class, first seek out your classmates to fill you in. Otherwise, come to office hours, though attending to students with current questions or concerns will be my priority.
This will be handled on a case by case basis. See me ASAP if this applies to you.
Typical extension requests are required 1 week in advance. No-penalty extensions will only be granted in rare and documentable cases. If you believe you will require an extension, see me ASAP.
Late Assignment Submission
A paper is late when it is submitted to turnitin past the deadline. Any late paper will be deducted 1/3rd of a letter grade for each 24-hour segment it is late (e.g. A becomes an A-, B+ becomes a B, for each 24 hour-period past the deadline). You will be excused from this penalty only if I have explicitly notified you in writing (e.g. email) that you are exempt.
Students are expected to know and to follow the university’s guidelines for academic honesty. Academic misconduct can occur in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism. When in doubt about whether some academic practice is acceptable, ask your instructor for assistance. Always err on the side of caution. Any suspected violation of university policy regarding academic conduct will be reported directly to the Office of the Dean of Students, without exception. UCLA’s policies on academic and intellectual integrity can be found at:
For more info on avoiding plagiarism: http://guides.library.ucla.edu/citing/plagiarism/avoid.
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