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Vulnerability, Gender & the Ethics of Care




Admissions requirements

Having successfully completed any 200 level course of the Gender Studies minor. If you take the course as an elective, the Paradoxes of Citizenship course also offers a good preparation for this course.


Care is a fundamental aspect of human life. Everything we do, in our private lives as well as in our public engagements, relates in one way or another to the question of care: whether we care or not about the implications of our own actions, for us, others and the world. In contexts of increased vulnerability, due to violence and/or the spread of systemic risks (from environmental change to civil wars to domestic violence), there is an urgent need to incorporate care into how we imagine alternatives to cope and resist vulnerability. These alternatives require us to think about care. The course focuses on a systemic examination of current debates about the ethics of care and its connection with forms of vulnerability embedded in our gender differences, as well as the inequalities they might imply.

The growing academic and political concerns about how to define and understand care is the leading theme of this course. We will explore an array of different perspectives on care, from (post)structuralist to postcolonial and decolonial thinkers, ranging from feminism to ecofeminism. Gender provides the lens to identify, analyse and imagine practices of care that respond to our condition of global interdependence, while being tuned to local and contingent needs and demands. In order to do this, the course is organized in the following weekly units:

WEEK 1 – Why care about care and vulnerability?
WEEK 2 – Vulnerability and care: gender matters!
WEEK 3 – Care in theory
WEEK 4 – Care in practice
WEEK 5 – Vulnerability and care: Case studies
WEEK 6 – The ethics of care: Global concern for a local practice?
WEEK 7 – Vulnerability and care as forms of resistance
Week 8 – Reading Week

Course objectives

The main objective of this course is to develop in students an analytical capacity to reflect about gender, vulnerability and the ethics of care. During this course students will:

  • Identify the connections between violence and vulnerability, particularly using gender as a key descriptor of this relation.

  • Explore and understand the relationship between gender, bodies, and the embodiment of a care ethics.

  • Learn the relevant theoretical perspectives in the study of care ethics, from feminist to decolonial theory.

  • Engage in the systematic study of case studies that will help them visualize the problems of scale affecting the question of care.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Biweekly meetings form the main body of this course. The course will be run as a seminar, with invited speakers, the use of documentaries and specific case-studies to trigger the debate and reflection in class (and hopefully outside of it!).


  • In-class participation, 15%, ongoing

  • Weekly reports: 25% (5% each) weeks 2 to 6

  • Poster presentation: 30% week 5

  • Final reflection (2500 words), 30%, Week 8


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Available electronically on BB before the beginning of the course.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Daniela Vicherat Mattar (