Comprehending the role that feminism has played in identifying, critiquing, and, at times, altering the distribution of political and economic power is integral to understanding democratic citizenship and government. In this course, we will examine the history of feminist thought, beginning in the late eighteenth century and continuing through the early twenty-first century. An overarching goal of this course is to encourage you to develop and shape your own concepts and ideas about feminist political thought as a potent and multifaceted global force. In working toward this goal, we begin the course by defining feminism and engaging with some of the cultural and political stereotypes of feminism and feminist thinking in contemporary politics and popular culture. Next, we explore the history of feminist thinking. We conclude by examining current topics in feminist politics.
Throughout the course, we will examine and discuss questions important to feminist politics, such as citizenship, political participation, and political rights; work and family; reproductive rights and birth control; gender representation in the media; and finally, the role of gender in militarism and national security. In considering each topic, we will draw on historical analysis and seek to consider the variety of women’s experiences. Though this course will focus on feminism in the U.S., we will also attempt to incorporate international perspectives on women and feminism.
Finally, it is important to note that our course materials are, by their very nature, political. They are not, however, political in a narrowly partisan sense. Feminist theory does presume that gender inequality is unjust. Nevertheless, you are free to challenge and disagree with this presumption, just as you are encouraged to critically evaluate all of the arguments advanced in materials presented in the course.
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Explain what feminist theory is, and describe the breadth, depth, and variety of feminist approaches.
- Identify key feminist theorists from the Enlightenment era through the Suffragist movement into contemporary political theory, and describe their respective arguments.
- Identify the key issues in each “wave” of feminism.
- Identify the explicit and implicit ways in which gender influences the distribution of political and economic power.
- Critically evaluate the way in which gender influences the portrayal of political candidates in the media.
- Evaluate existing political and cultural stereotypes of feminist politics and feminists more generally, based on key historical and contemporary feminist readings in academia, journalism, and popular culture.
- Apply feminist theories to engage and critique contemporary political arguments.
More info: http://www.saylor.org/courses/polsc303/