PHIL 406 A: Philosophical Topics In Feminism

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
* *
Carina Fourie
Carina Fourie

Syllabus Description:

Course Information

The Woman of Reason: Analyzing Feminist Metaphors, Arguments, and Methodologies

M W 1:30 – 3:20PM Zoom

Carina Fourie

Contact: Send me a message on Canvas via the Inbox. If need be, you can use my email address: 
Virtual Office Hours: T 2-3pm & W 4-5pm (On Zoom)

Download the Syllabus

About the Course

Course Overview

Painting by Sonia Gechtoff, 'The Beginning' (1960)

This course analyzes and assesses primary feminist concepts, such as agency, oppression, sex and gender, intersectionality, standpoint theory, embodiment, postcolonialism and transnationalism. Simultaneously, it assesses how to read feminist and patriarchal texts, and how to do feminist philosophy, using, for example, feminist critiques of the lack of diversity in philosophy, and critiques of the primacy of argument. We will read classic and contemporary texts by philosophers such as Sara Ahmed, Linda Alcoff, Simone de Beauvoir, Alisa Bierria, Judith Butler, Cora Diamond, Kristie Dotson, Zine Magubane, and Iris Marion Young. 

Learning Goals

My central goals for this seminar are that you should come away with the following:

  • Content knowledge of key concepts that have been central to the formation of and debate about feminisms and feminist methodologies. (Achieved through written assignments; quizzes)
  • Skills of conceptual analysis relevant for disembedding and assessing assumptions that underpin popular and philosophical debate about oppression, sex and gender, girls, boys, women, men, and non-binary children and adults. (Achieved through written assignments; participation; quizzes)
  • Skills of oral communication relevant for expressing and assessing philosophical perspectives in impromptu and informal settings. (Achieved through participation)
  • Enhanced philosophical reading, analysis, argumentation and writing skills. (Achieved through written assignments; participation; quizzes)

Course Materials

Materials for the course will be made available on Canvas (especially under 'Modules'). Please ensure that you check Canvas regularly or set up notifications in such a way that you keep up with any announcements, readings, assignments, discussions, and so on.

Grading (Undergraduates)

I have adapted the course to try to suit remote learning. There are two components to the final grade you will receive:

1. The additive total: I will grade directly on the 4.0 scale in 0.1 units. All assignments accrue those units, which are summed to determine your final grade:

  • Written Assignments: Maximum points available, 2
  • Quizzes (Open Book): Maximum points available, 1
  • Participation (Self-Assessment): Maximum points available, 1

2. The writing credit requirements: 

As successfully completing this course automatically leads to a writing credit, additional writing requirements need to be achieved in order to receive a passing grade and one that matches the additive total. For example, minimum points need to be achieved for the written assignments. For full information on these requirements and more generally on grading, please read the additional information in the document entitled 'Assignments and Grading'  in the 'Getting Started' Module, as well as the details under the ‘Assignments’ sections in Canvas (as these become available).


For graduate philosophy students, your grade will be based on points out of 100 determined as follows:

  • Term paper: 80% (Draft term paper due Dec.4 - 35%; Revised paper due Dec.17 - 55%)
  • Quizzes (Open Book): 10%
  • Participation (Self Assessment): 10%

Learning Remotely

This course requires in-depth discussion and engagement with the readings and with other students' experiences and perspectives. For this reason, it will run synchronously at your scheduled class time via Zoom. If you miss up to three classes for any reason there is no need for you to contact me or to make up for participation points.

If you are unable to attend regularly, e.g. due to caregiving responsibilities, prolonged illness, or problems with a reliable internet connection, I can make accommodations and provide you with asynchronous alternatives - please contact me as soon as you can to make those arrangements. I am very happy to make alternative arrangements, however, it is up to you to contact me to discuss the alternatives. If you do not do so, and do not do so in a timely manner, your points for participation will be affected. If possible, please contact me within the first week or two of the course. 

For information on disabilities' access and accommodations, please see the first topic below, under 'Resources and Additional Policies'.  

Community Norms

We will complete these during the first class and revise them as needed! 

Here are a few of my expectations as a start:

  • Come to class prepared having read the required texts, and completed any additional requirements
  • Treat Zoom meetings as if you were in an in-person class (e.g. don't wear your PJs!)
  • Keep your audio on mute as the default
  • Use your video if possible. This makes class much more personal. I understand that this is not possible for everyone though, but please do so if it is possible for you
  • Engage with your fellow students
  • Participate in my office hours if need be (e.g. if you need any help with assignments, or you have a concern to raise, or you want to discuss the course content further)
  • Actively listen to your fellow students, and opt for charitable interpretations of their claims
  • Treat the course material and other students' perspectives with respect and humility - remember this course is about real-life experiences of marginalization, discrimination, domination, trauma and violence which affect many people including those in this class!
  • Additional norms:
  • allow others to take their time when they speak and if you are speaking feel free to take your time to describe something that is emotionally charged;
  • encourage others to speak and also let people know if they should give others a chance to speak.

Course Schedule

Getting Started

Sept 30 - Introductions

Oct 5 - Introduction to Feminisms through Metaphors

Oct 7 - Structure & Agency

Oct 12 - Sex & Gender

Oct 14 - Sex & Gender

Oct 19 - Feminist Hermeneutics

Oct 21 - Race & Intersectionality

Oct 26 - Race & Intersectionality

Oct 28 - Standpoint Theory & Situated Knowledge

Nov 2 - Standpoint Theory & Situated Knowledge

Nov 4 - Critiques of Philosophy

Nov 9 - Critiques of Philosophy

Nov 16 - Female Embodiment

Nov 18 - Female Embodiment

Nov 23 - Female Embodiment & Post-Colonialism

Nov 25 - Post-colonialism & Transnationalism

Nov 30 - Feminist Methodologies

Dec 2 - Feminist Methodologies

Dec 7 - Transnationalism & Emancipation

Dec 9 - Resistance & Emancipation

Academic Integrity

All students are expected to practice academic honesty, which includes not plagiarizing. Academic dishonesty will lead to grade penalization and may lead to disciplinary action. Please also see the Department of Philosophy's policies on 'academic misconduct'  below.

Notice to Students - Use of Plagiarism Detection Software

Notice: The University has a license agreement with SimCheck, an educational tool that helps prevent or identify plagiarism from Internet resources. I am using this service in this class by requiring that assignments are submitted electronically to be checked by SimCheck. The SimCheck Report will indicate the amount of original text in your work and whether all material that you quoted, paraphrased, summarized, or used from another source is appropriately referenced.


Resources & Additional Policies

Access and Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS on your campus. DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS.  It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Health and Wellbeing

For resources on health and well-being, please contact the UW Wellness Center or Hall Health. For UW resources about COVID-19, you can click here.

Undocumented Students

Resources are available for you here.

Help with technology

Consider these resources:

UW loans equipment such as laptops to students and is willing to ship it out if you cannot pick it up from campus:

For any technical issues with Canvas or Zoom, please consult UW IT’s website, email them on, or call them 206-221-5000.

If you have ongoing challenges with technology which are interfering with your ability to meet course requirements, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can work out possible alternatives.

Notice to Students - Zoom Recordings

Zoom class sessions will be recorded. The recording will capture my audio, video and computer screen. Student audio and video will be recorded if they share their computer audio and video during the recorded session. The recordings will only be accessible to students enrolled in the course to review materials. These recordings will not be shared with or accessible to the public.

The University and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UW Zoom accounts.

Students who do not wish to be recorded should:

  • Change their Zoom screen name to hide any personal identifying information like their name or UW Net ID; and
  • Not share their computer audio or video during their Zoom sessions*

* Your participation in breakout rooms will not be recorded; for those purposes you must use your name, and share your audio with the other students in those discussions

Department of Philosophy: Policies and Resources

Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct, including plagiarism, is prohibited by the Student Conduct Code for the University of Washington and is taken very seriously by the UW. According to the student conduct code, academic misconduct includes:

  1. "Cheating" which includes, but is not limited to:

    1. The use of unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations, or completing assignments;
    2. The acquisition, use, or distribution of unpublished materials created by another student without the express permission of the original author(s);
    3. Using online sources, such as solution manuals, without the permission of the instructor to complete assignments, exams, tests, or quizzes; or
    4. Requesting, hiring, or otherwise encouraging someone to take a course, exam, test, or complete assignments for a student.
  2. "Falsification," which is the intentional use or submission of falsified data, records, or other information including, but not limited to, records of internship or practicum experiences or attendance at any required event(s), or scholarly research.
  3. "Plagiarism," which is the submission or presentation of someone else's words, composition, research, or expressed ideas, whether published or unpublished, without attribution. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

    1. The use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment; or
    2. The unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or acquired from an entity engaging in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.
  4. Unauthorized collaboration.
  5. Engaging in behavior specifically prohibited by an instructor in the course of class instruction or in a course syllabus.
  6. Multiple submissions of the same work in separate courses without the express permission of the instructor(s).
  7. Taking deliberate action to destroy or damage another's academic work in order to gain an advantage for oneself or another.
  8. The recording of instructional content without the express permission of the instructor(s), unless approved as a disability accommodation, and/or the dissemination or use of such unauthorized records.

(Source: WAC 478-121 - Academic Misconduct)

Plagiarism may lead to disciplinary action by the University against the student who submitted the work. Any student who is uncertain whether his or her use of the work of others constitutes plagiarism should consult the course instructor for guidance before formally submitting the course work involved.


Incomplete grades may only be awarded if a student is doing satisfactory work up until the last two weeks of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control. (Sources: Office of the Registrar – Incomplete Grades), UW General Catalog, Student Guide – Grading System)

Grade Appeal Procedure

A student who believes that the instructor erred in the assignment of a grade, or who believes a grade recoding error or omission has occurred, shall first discuss the matter with the instructor before the end of the following academic quarter (not including Summer Quarter). If the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s explanation, the student, no later than ten days after their discussion with the instructor, may submit a written appeal to the chair of the Department of Philosophy with a copy of the appeal also sent to the instructor. The chair consults with the instructor to ensure that the evaluation of the student’s performance has not been arbitrary or capricious. Should the chair believe the instructor’s conduct to be arbitrary or capricious and the instructor declines to revise the grade, the chair, with the approval of the voting members of his or her faculty, shall appoint an appropriate member, or members, of the faculty of the Department of Philosophy to evaluate the performance of the student and assign a grade. The Dean and Provost should be informed of this action. Once a student submits a written appeal, this document and all subsequent actions on this appeal are recorded in written form for deposit in a School file. (Source: UW General Catalog, Student Guide – Grading System)

Concerns About a Course, an Instructor, or a Teaching Assistant

If you have any concerns about a philosophy course or your instructor, please see the instructor about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the instructor or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the chair of the program offering the course (names available from the Department of Philosophy, 361 Savery Hall).

If you have any concerns about a teaching assistant, please see the teaching assistant about these concerns as soon as possible. If you are not comfortable talking with the teaching assistant or not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the instructor in charge of the course. If you are still not satisfied with the response that you receive, you may contact the chair of the program offering the course (names available from the Department of Philosophy, 361 Savery Hall), or the Graduate School at G-1 Communications Building (543-5900).

Equal Opportunity

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran in accordance with University of Washington policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as the use of one’s authority or power, either explicitly or implicitly, to coerce another into unwanted sexual relations or to punish another for his or her refusal, or as the creation by a member of the University community of an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment through verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

If you believe that you are being harassed, seek help—the earlier the better. You may speak with your instructor, your teaching assistant, the undergraduate advisor (363 Savery Hall), graduate program advisor (366 Savery Hall), or the chair of the philosophy department (364 Savery Hall). In addition, you should be aware that the University has designated special people to help you. For assistance you may contact: SafeCampus; Office of the Ombud (339 HUB, 206-543-6028); Title IX Investigation Office (for complaints that a University student has violated the sexual misconduct provisions of the Student Conduct Code); University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (for complaints concerning the behavior of University employees, including faculty, teaching assistants, and other student employees).


The Office of Research Misconduct Proceedings (ORMP) coordinates the University’s handling of allegations of research misconduct against members of the University community, in consultations and cooperation with the University’s schools, colleges, and campuses.

University rules define scientific and scholarly misconduct to include the following forms of inappropriate activity: intentional misrepresentation of credentials; falsification of data; plagiarism; abuse of confidentiality; deliberate violation of regulations applicable to research.

Students can report cases of scientific or scholarly misconduct either to the ORMP, to their faculty adviser, or the department chair. The student should report such problems to whomever he or she feels most comfortable.

(Sources: Executive Order No. 61 – Research Misconduct Policy; Office of Research Misconduct Proceedings; minutes of Grad School Executive Staff and Division Heads meeting, 7/23/98.)


Preventing violence is everyone's responsibility. SafeCampus is the University of Washington’s Violence Prevention and Response Program. They support students, staff, faculty, and community members in preventing violence.

SafeCampus staff will listen to your concerns and provide support and safety plans tailored to your situation. Caring, trained professionals will talk you through options and connect you with additional resources if you want them.

If you're concerned, tell someone.

  • Always call 911 if you or others may be in danger.
  • Call 206-685-SAFE (7233) to report non-urgent threats of violence and for referrals to UW counseling and/or safety resources. TTY or VP callers, please call through your preferred relay service.
  • Don't walk alone. Campus safety guards can walk with you on campus after dark. Call Husky NightWalk 206-685-WALK (9255).
  • Stay connected in an emergency with UW Alert. Register your mobile number to receive instant notification of campus emergencies via text and voice messaging. Sign up for UW Alert
  • For more information visit the SafeCampus website.

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (

Food Insecurity and Hardship

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the UW Any Hungry Husky Program. Any Hungry Husky provides hunger relief free of judgment or stigma. Go to for information about the food pantry and food security grants. In addition, UW offers emergency aid for students experiencing unexpected financial hardships that may disrupt their education or get in the way of completing their degree. Go to for more information about how to apply.



Catalog Description: 
Detailed examination of questions raised by recent feminist scholarship in particular areas of philosophy, such as political theory, ethics, epistemology, or philosophy of science. Emphasis varies.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
June 29, 2020 - 9:38am