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Feminist Philosophy


Admission requirements


  • History of Philosophy

  • Global Challenges: Diversity


  • Introduction to Gender Studies


This course introduces core issues in feminist philosophy, including its critique of Western philosophy and its contributions to major areas of philosophy such as philosophical anthropology, social philosophy, ethics, eco-philosophy, philosophy of science and epistemology. We begin by exploring how feminists have used the tools of philosophical analysis to understand gender, sex, and sexuality in relation to class, race and ethnicity and examine the key concepts of patriarchy, sexism and social oppression. This examination then forms the base from which we explore the ways in which feminist philosophers have fundamentally reshaped the philosophical tradition by questioning and revising conceptualisations of identity, difference, knowledge, ecology, ethics, and the human in today’s global context. Students should be prepared for extensive reading, thinking, and writing, as well as active participation and engagement with the readings in the classroom, if they would like to do well in this course.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of some major figures and ideas in feminist philosophy.

  • Critically examine and re-interpret certain patriarchal assumptions in epistemology, science and political theory.

  • Exhibit the analytic skills necessary to deconstruct dominant and restraining gendered (and racialized) discourses and practices.

  • Acquire a set of reading, writing, and discussion skills that allow them to engage texts and others in an informed and conscientious manner


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Each teaching week of the course will consist of two 2-hour interactive discussions on the weekly topic, with reading to be completed prior to the meeting. This course depends heavily on group discussion of significant primary texts. Each class will begin with the instructor introducing the key issues and readings for that day and offering an interpretation of the works being discussed. Students should join in the discussion at any time, asking questions, making suggestions, or making comparisons with other texts we have read. For each meeting, each student should mark out a short passage (1-3 sentences) from the day’s reading that especially stood out.

Assessment Method

  • Participation and attentiveness in classroom discussions is worth 18% of the overall course grade. This will be assessed throughout the course, and is meant to encourage constructive and active engagement with course materials and fellow students.

  • A 300-word reflection will be due in four different weeks, and each will be worth 6% of the overall course grade (totaling 24%). These will help to assess the capacity to articulate questions, concepts, and arguments based on individual engagement with course readings.

  • One take-home “midterm” exam will be worth 18% of the overall course grade. This will encourage a clear comprehension of objective course content.

  • One final paper (due during reading week) will be worth 40% of the overall course grade. This will encourage analysis of concepts covered throughout the course, and force students to express their ideas clearly and organize them coherently.

Please note:

  • In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework.

  • There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.

Reading list

All readings will be made available on Brightspace.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Nathanja van den Heuvel,