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Feminist Theories in Asian Philosophy


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy: Global and Comparative Perspectives, who have successfully completed at least 70 ECTS credits of the mandatory components of the first and second year of their bachelor’s programme, including World Philosophies: Modern Europe, Concepts of Selfhood, Language and Thought, and at least one of the courses World Philosophies: China, World Philosophies: India, World Philosophies: Africa, World Philosophies: Middle East.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement and who have to complete an advanced seminar, to be selected from package D.


It has long been debated whether feminism and multiculturalism are friends. How shall we philosophize experiences of women in different cultures and how can we engage in feminist philosophies in a postcolonial context? In answering these questions, this course starts with an overview of major approaches to feminist theories (the sameness approach, the difference approach, and the dominance approach) with a focus on their contributions and limitations to philosophizing feminist consciousness, gender relations, and social structure. To expand the horizon, this course continues to explore how philosophers in East Asia, especially women, exercise their agency to conceptualize gender, sexuality, and womanhood. This exploration enables us to rethink the interplay between feminism and multiculturalism.

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • explore ways of theorizing gender, womanhood, and sexuality in Chinese and Japanese philosophy;

  • encourage studies of feminist philosophy in a cross-cultural context.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • major feminist theories, their innovations and limitations;

  • contemporary philosophical debates over feminism and multiculturalism;

  • feminist philosophy and philosophy of gender as integral parts of Chinese and Japanese philosophy.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • familiarize themselves with different ways of theorizing gender, sexuality, and womanhood;

  • critically engage in studies of gender and sexuality;

  • analyze ideas and notions presented in primary and secondary resources;

  • develop skills in academic writing and cross-cultural communication.


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • Final essay

  • Prepared questions for lectures

  • Attendance and participation in course discussion


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of several subtests:

  • Final essay: 65%

  • Prepared questions and attendance (to be further explained in the syllabus): 35%

  • Attendance and participation: 10%


The resit will consist of an opportunity to resubmit the final semester paper that was not sufficient. The grades for other exam components remain in place.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the course cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The reading list will be posted on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is not possible for this course. Students are requested to submit their preferences for the third-year electives by means of an online registration form. They will receive the instruction and online registration form by email (uMail account); in June for courses scheduled in semester 1, and in December for courses scheduled in semester 2. Registration in uSis will be taken care of by the Education Administration Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the information bar at the right hand side of the page.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc., contact the Education Administration Office Huizinga


Not applicable.