FEMINIST POLITICAL THOUGHT
Govt 317, WST 317
Prof. Ric Caric office: 336 Rader Hall
Class Time 11:30-12:30pm, MWF 1
office hours: M-F, 8:00-10:20am
phones: 606-776-8625 (cell)
783-2144 (office), 783-1901 (home)
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Appointments available outside office hours, office hours subject to change.
This is a course in feminist political thought. Feminist political thought is a diverse literature that addresses the issues involved in conceiving women as a constituent part of political life. Among the issues addressed by feminist political theorists are the status of women in the tradition of western political thought, the influence of gender on the work of traditional authors, the effects of male domination in organizing social and political life, the impact of gender on the generation of knowledge, developing standards of truth, and defining objectivity, the possibility of alternatives to male domination, and the global dimensions of feminism.
Feminist political theorists develop their positions in relation to a variety of intellectual resources, including older forms of feminism, empirical studies of women, the traditional canon of political theory, Marxism, psychoanalysis, the philosophy of science, linguistics, literary criticism, the literature on race, law, and writing on sexuality. The political relevance and interdisciplinary range of feminist political thought make feminist political thought the most exciting sub-field in contemporary political theory. Feminist writing about gender inequity, male violence, sexuality and pornography has had a tremendous impact on social life and political debate in the United States, an impact which is likely to grow as feminist writers further analyze the role of gender in American social and political life.
Requirements for this course are:
1. Class Attendance.
2. 60-100 pages of reading per week.
3. 8-10 quizzes and quiz assignments. (15%)
4. 2 take-home exams, 5 pages apiece. (40%)
5. Research Paper, 40%--credit for the research paper will be broken into four blocks
Topic, 2nd Draft—5%
The books to be purchased for this course from the University Book Store or Study Master are:
1. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women.
2. Chandra Talpalde Mohanty, Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity
3. Catharine MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified
4. Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider.
5. Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight
6. Aida Hurtado, The Color of Privilege
The required reserve readings include:
1. Luce Irigaray, This Sex Which Is Not One, excerpts.
2. Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought, excerpts.
3. John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women, excerpts.
4. Christina Hoff Summers, Who Stole Feminism, excerpts.
5. Phyllis Schafly, The Power of the Positive Woman, excerpts
Students are to copy reserve texts.
Rationalizations, Options, and Specifications:
1. Class Attendance. Class attendance is mandatory. I believe that speaking and listening in class are important for student understanding of political theory. Students will carry most classroom discussion and should be prepared when they come to class. Assignments should be read, questions formulated, and positions developed on relevant issues.
The instructor must be notified of all absences in advance. Students are subject to a deduction of 2.5 points from the final grade for each time they are absent without prior notification.
Students who notify the professor of absences in advance and have four absences or fewer will suffer no penalty for their absence. Students who notify the professor and have more than four absences owe the professor a five-page paper for each four absences on a topic to be mutually decided upon. Each extra paper will count seven points and students who do an extra paper will have their grades figured on a scale of 107 rather than 100. Students who do two extra papers will have their grades figured on a scale of 114 points, etc.
2. Quizzes. There will be between eight and ten unannounced, graded quizzes given over the course of the semester. For the quizzes, students will be required to make identifications. Quizzes will be given at the beginning of class. Since the quizzes are meant primarily to check on student progress, they will be very straightforward.
3. Typing. A research paper on a topic in feminist political theory is required in this class. Students will be required to choose a topic, perform research in books and articles, develop their own argument, and justify their argument by citing relevant sources. The final draft of the paper needs to be 12-15 pages long. The research paper will be executed in three stages: 1. a paper topic and bibliography of at least thirty sources; 2. a progress report; 3. a first draft of the paper that both proposes and justifies an argument; 4. a final draft that substantially revises the first draft. Due dates for the research papers will be handled the same way as take-home exams.
4. Quizzes. There will be between eight to ten announced and unannounced, graded quizzes given over the semester. Quizzes will be five questions long and will be chosen from questions posted for this class on Blackboard. Quizzes will be given at the beginning of class. Since the quizzes are meant primarily to check on attendance and reading, they will be very straightforward.
3. Take-Home Essay Exams. There will be three take-home essay exams during the semester. Students will be required to answer one question out of four or five questions provided by the professor. Each question will have several sub-questions and students will be required to answer all sub-questions. Almost all of the questions on exams will involve comparing the arguments of one political theorist to the arguments of another political theorist. In answering the questions, students will be required to: 1. Show knowledge of relevant political theory texts; 2. show a knowledge of the relevant arguments introduced by the professor during class lectures; 3. articulate their own point of view on the issue in the question.
Grades on exams will give on a scale ranging from 0-100. Those exams which receive 90-100 points will be given an “A,” those receiving 80-89 points will receive a “B,” etc.
90-100: Exams receiving this grade must possess one or more qualities of excellence, including
accuracy, thoroughness, comprehension of several points of view, originality of viewpoint. Exams receiving grades over 95 must combine several of these qualities.
80-89: Exams receiving this grade must demonstrate, at a minimum, a good, solid knowledge of
the political theory texts relevant to the question. Exams in this range will be expected to
have more mistakes then exams in the 90-100 range, but not enough for the professor to
conclude that the student does not understand the material. In determining a grade within
this range, the professor will weigh considerations of accuracy and knowledge of the
material in relation to any qualities of excellence in the paper.
70-79: Exams receiving this grade must demonstrate significant knowledge of the political theory
texts relevant to the question even if the student struggles in putting together concepts to summarize a theory, apply the theory to a hypothetical, or develop their own comparisons and evaluations of political theory concepts. Grades within this range are also applied to exams that show a good knowledge of political theory texts but do not address one or more sub-questions.
60-69: Exams receiving this grade must demonstrate some knowledge of the political theory
texts relevant to the exam. However, exams in this grade will include mistakes of such magnitude that the professor will judge that the student’s knowledge of the relevant texts is poor.
0-59 Exams receiving a grade in this range either demonstrate almost no knowledge of the relevant political theory texts, fail to address a question from this particular exam, or fail to address several sub-questions. This is a failing grade.
4. Typing. All papers must be typed or word-processed. Typewriters and word processors are available at the library and other campus sites. Those students who have their papers typed for them are responsible for getting their papers in on time.
5. Late Take-Home Exams: Students will have two weeks to do the take-home exams. Extensions will granted only in the most dire circumstances and will be accompanied by a ten-point grade deduction.
6. Grade Appeals: The development of student capacities for forming their own opinions and making arguments is an important objective of the course. Consequently, if students believe that they deserved a higher grade, the professor is more than willing to consider their arguments and re-evaluate their exams. The professor does increase grades when he considers such action to be justified.
7. Quiz Exercises: For the two class exercises, students will: 1. read an extra assignment of the professor's choosing (30-40 pages); 2. write a 3-page paper on the assignment; 3. participate in a group discussion of the assignment; 4. report on the assignment with your group. The grade for the exercise will be based on the quality of the paper. Turning in papers on time is mandatory for this assignment. Late papers will be docked ten points a day. Attendance for group exercises and presentations is also mandatory. Unconsulted absences on these days will result in a zero grade for the assignment. Consulted absences will be made up by writing an additional paper.
8. a. Extra Credit. The surest way to earn extra credit is show steady improvement on exams over the course of the semester. Those who show steady improvement (and come to class) will have their grade on the final exam count as the grade for the whole class.
8. b. “At the Margins” Points. Students who earn 15 “At the Margins” (or ATM) Points will be given credit for two extra points on their final grades if they are borderline A/B. Three ATM points will be given for students whose class presentations in class exercises are rated excellent; b. three ATM points will be given students whose participation contributes to the conduct of the class; c. two ATM points for attendance and reports at designated extracurricular events.
9. Academic Dishonesty. The Department of Geography, Government, and History at Morehead State University maintains a high academic standard including the expectation that all written work will be your own – not copied, borrowed, downloaded, or otherwise taken and passed off as your own. If any work is submitted which is not your own it will be returned with a failing grade and your name and a description of the offense may be forwarded to the Dean of Students.
Plagiarism is using the words, sentences, or even ideas of another person without specific acknowledgment. Plagiarism includes: 1) copying the work of another student with or without the other student’s knowledge; 2) collaborating with another student and submitting work that is identical, nearly identical, or inordinately similar; 3) changing a few words but copying the sentence structure without giving credit; 4) copying words and/or passages directly from books, articles, course readings, or internet sites, and failing to use quotation marks and/or offering appropriate citation. If there are any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism it is the student’s responsibility to clarify any questions with the instructor.
Govt 317, WST 317
Aug 20, Intro to Class,
Aug. 22, Catherine MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified, 1-45.
Aug. 24, Mackinnon, 70-117.
Aug. 27, MacKinnon, 134-163
Aug. 29, MacKinnon, 163-197.
Sept. 3, Labor Day, No Class
Sept. 5, Schlafly, The Power of the Positive Woman, excerpts on reserve.
Sept. 7, bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, excerpts on reserve.
Sept. 10, Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider, 7-53. Pass Out First Exam.
Sept. 12, Lorde, 53-81.
Sept. 17, Lorde, 81-133.
Sept. 19, Lorde, 145-187.
Sept. 21, C. T. Mohanty, Feminism Without Borders, 1-42.
Sept. 24, Mohanty, 42-84. First Exam Due.
Sept. 26, Mohanty, 85-123
Oct. 1, Mohanty, 124-169.
Oct. 3, Mohanty, 190-221.
Oct. 5, Discussion.
Oct. 8, Aida Hurtado, The Color of Privilege, 1-45
Oct. 10, Hurtado, 45-91. Pass Out Second Exam
Oct. 12, Hurtado, 91-123.
Oct. 15, Hurtado, 123-168.
Oct. 17, Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight, xiii-44
Oct. 22, Bordo, 45-71
Oct. 24, Bordo, 99-138. Second Exam Due. Proposal For Research Paper and Bibliography Also
Oct. 26, Bordo, 165-200.
Oct. 29, Bordo, 201-245.
Oct. 31, Bordo, 245-277.
Nov. 5, Women’s Magazine Day. Second Draft of Proposal Due
Nov. 7, Christina Hoff Summers, Who Stole Feminism, Excerpts on Reserve.
Nov. 9, John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women, on reserve.
Nov. 12, John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women, on reserve.
Nov. 14, Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Women, 91-141.Progress Report Due.
Nov. 19, Wollstonecraft, 141-190
Nov. 21-23, Thanksgiving Vacation
Nov. 26,. Women in Film, No Reading Assignment. First Draft Due
Nov. 28, Wollstonecraft, 190-240
Nov. 30, Mary Wollstonecraft, 240-267.
Dec. 3, Wollstonecraft, 267-300.
Dec. 5, Wrap up.
Monday, Dec. 9, Second Draft of Research Papers Due.