Philosophy of Feminism II (PHIL*4060) | College of Arts

Philosophy of Feminism II (PHIL*4060)

Code and section: PHIL*4060*01

Term: Winter 2020

Instructor: Marie-Pier Lemay


The starting point of this advanced course in feminist philosophy is the contentious landscape of transnational feminist activism and theory. While feminism is considered to have been international since at least the 19th century, only in the past three decades has transnational feminist ethics emerged as a distinctive and transdisciplinary field of study. 

We will examine current debates about the potentials and pitfalls of global feminist responsibility and solidarity. Through an engagement with recent key texts in this scholarship, we will explore the manners in which global systems of power and oppression are interrelated (gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, colonialism, and imperialism), as well as the prospects of what transnational feminism can be or do. 

In the first half of the semester, we will specifically frame and situate global responsibility within the global political landscape. We will accomplish this by reading the work of two prominent contemporary feminist political theorists of structural injustices and political responsibility: Iris Marion Young and Brooke Ackerly. We will reflect on whether our everyday concepts of injustices make us ill-equipped to conceptualize their complexities.

In the second half of the semester, we will investigate what may hinder or challenge such global political responsibility and solidarity from a feminist perspective. We will thus critically reflect on how ‘saving narratives’ are used in Western activist or political discourses about non-Western women. To do so, we will engage with key concepts of transnational feminist political theorizing, such as intersectionality, imperialism, indigeneity, paternalism, culture, and postcolonialism. Towards the end of the course, we will think about the border between feminist theory and praxis through the emergence of online feminist activism, using the #MeToo campaign as an example.


Course outline