nl en

Feminist Philosophy




Admissions requirements


  • History of Philosophy

  • Global Challenges: Diversity


  • Introduction to Gender Studies


What are the foundations of patriarchal culture? What are the social, psychological but also ecological problems that emerge from a patriarchal worldview? Is it possible to critically dismantle this tradition in order to hear voices- including non-human ones- that have been silenced?

This course considers the feminist philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir and addresses both responses to her and further developments within 20th and 21st century feminist philosophy. It will focus on the following overarching questions: “what does philosophy offer feminism?” and “what does feminism offer philosophy?” Initially, we will explore how feminists have used the tools of philosophical analysis to understand gender, sex, and sexuality in relation to class, race and ethnicity. We will also examine the roots of sexism, social oppression and the exploitation of nature, as well as issues of embodiment. In the rest of the course, we will explore the ways in which feminist philosophers have fundamentally reshaped the philosophical tradition by questioning and revising core assumptions and methodologies in fields such as epistemology, ecology, philosophy of science, and political theory. 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

In terms of knowledge development, 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.

In terms of skills, students will:

  • 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.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

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.


  • 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 in-class “midterm” short answer/essay 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.


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

Required texts:

  • Feminist Theory: A Philosophical Anthology, edited by Ann Cudd and Robin Andreasen (Blackwell, 2005).

  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, translated by Constance Borde et al. (Vintage, 2011).


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


Nathanja van den Heuvel, MA