PHIL 406 A: Philosophical Topics in Feminism

Winter 2022
Th 1:30pm - 3:20pm / MUS 219
T 1:30pm - 3:20pm / MUS 219
Section Type:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

Realizing Feminist Ethics: Theories, Methods & Praxis

Winter 2022

Instructor: Carina Fourie

Contact Details: Send me a message on Canvas Inbox


Tue & Thu 1.40-3.20pm on ZOOM.

Tue: 967 3433 8908; Thu: 992 7229 7623. 

Office Hours (ZOOM): Tue 10.30-11.30am (excluding Week 1); Fri 11.15am-12.15pm (including Week 1)

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

We will analyze and assess how to “do” feminist ethics. Analysis will center around two primary questions:

What theories and methods should we use in order to do Ethics in a feminist way?

How can we live feminist lives?

Under “theories and methods”, we will critically assess a broad scope, including intersectional approaches, standpoint theories, and feminist critiques of philosophy and of the primacy of argument. We will also approach the classic Socratic question of ethics – how should we live? – from a distinctly contemporary feminist perspective, considering how to be a feminist in practice. In exploring these two questions, we will also consider epistemic injustice; feminist epistemology; the experiences of black women and men; narrative ethics; and transfeminist philosophy, among other topics.

We will read texts by philosophers and critical theorists such as Sara Ahmed, Linda Martín Alcoff, Yoko Arisaka, Talia Mae Bettcher, Tommy Curry, Cora Diamond, Kristie Dotson, María Lugones, Rachel McKinnon and Jennifer Nash, among others. 


Week 1: Introduction to Feminisms

Week 2: Standpoint Theory & Situated Knowledge

Week 3: Intersectionalities - Of Race, Gender, and... (Part 1)

Week 4: Intersectionalities - Of Race, Gender, and .... (Part 2)

Week 5: Living a Feminist Life (Part 1)

Week 6: Transfeminist Philosophies

Week 7: Beyond Argument? (Part 1)

Week 8: Beyond Argument (Part 2)

Week 9: Beyond Argument (Part 3)

Week 10: Living a Feminist Life (Part 2)


Learning Goals

The central goals for this seminar are that you should acquire the following:

  • Content knowledge of key concepts that have been central to the formation of and debate about feminisms and feminist methodologies. (Reinforced and assessed 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 gender diverse children and adults. (Reinforced and assessed through written assignments; discussion; quizzes)
  • Skills of oral communication relevant for expressing and assessing philosophical perspectives in impromptu and informal settings. (Reinforced and assessed through discussion)
  • Enhanced philosophical reading, analysis, argumentation and writing skills. (Reinforced and assessed through written assignments; discussion; 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-to-date with any announcements, readings, assignments, discussions, and so on.

Grading (Undergraduates)

The final grade you will receive depends on two aspects:

  1. The additive total: You will receive points that add up to 100.
  • Written Assignments: Maximum points available, 70
  • Quizzes (Open Book): Maximum points available, 14
  • Participation (Self-Assessment): Maximum points available, 16

Your final score will be converted to a grade on a 4.0 scale, as long as you also fulfil the writing credit requirements.

  1. 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, all of the written assignments need to be submitted. 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 (Updated here to reflect the "Assignments" Document; the PDF version of the syllabus is outdated): 

  • Journal Entry: 5 points (credit or no credit).
  • Op-Ed: 10 points
  • Summary of draft paper and peer reviews: 20 points (credit or no credit).
  • Final paper: 65 points.

Course Participation

This course requires in-depth discussion and engagement with the readings and with other students' experiences and perspectives. For this reason, you are expected to attend and participate in all classes, whether online or in-person (unless you have a pressing reason not to, such as that you are feeling ill). Missing the occasional class will not make any difference to your grade; however, missing a number of classes could make a difference. If you are unable to attend regularly, e.g. due to caregiving responsibilities, a mental health condition, or prolonged illness, I can make accommodations and provide you with alternatives - please contact me as soon as you can to make these arrangements. I am very happy to provide accommodations, however, it is up to you to contact me to discuss the alternatives, or to arrange for me to be contacted by someone else, such as Disability Resources for Students (DRS). If you do not do so, and do not do so in a timely manner, your points for participation could be affected. For information on disabilities' access and accommodations, please see below, under “Resources and Additional Policies”.  

Community Norms

(UPDATED Jan. 4)

Respect and follow all COVID-19 protocols (see the next section)

Come to class prepared having read the worksheet and required texts, and completed any homework

Actively listen to your fellow students, opt for charitable interpretations of their claims, and engage with them proactively

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 your class!

When we meet on Zoom, 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. If you have a good reason as to why you cannot do so, you must let Carina know at the latest at the beginning of the class

Participate in Carina’s office hours if need be (e.g. if you need any help with assignments, you have a concern to raise, or you want to discuss the course content further)

Keep what is discussed in the classroom confidential 

Correction may be necessary; be open to being corrected

For follow-up after class and continued discussions, you can join the class Discord (Carina is NOT ALLOWED): 

Covid-19 Resources & Protocols

Assuming that we will return to in-person classes after week 1, we will work together to keep everyone in the class safe and to diminish any anxiety associated with COVID-19. For this purpose, we will implement the following protocols and guidelines:

  • If you are sick with any illness, you must stay home, even if you are fully vaccinated. You will have opportunities to make up for any missed participation points that could affect your grade, and lectures will be recorded.
  • If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, even if you are fully vaccinated, get tested and stay home until you receive your test result. If you test positive, notify the UW COVID-19 Response and Prevention Team at or 206.616.3344. You can enroll for free testing by clicking on this link for student COVID resources and then scrolling down to the link for enrollment under “Husky Coronavirus Testing” on the right-hand side of the page.
  • Wear a mask at all times in our classrooms. Masks should be well-fitted and cover your nose and mouth at all times (see Face Coverings and Social Distancing in the Classroom during COVID, page 10-11 of this document for more information). The only exception is taking quick sips of water/hydrating liquid (see instructions below, on eating and drinking in the classroom). For more on face covering policies, see this PDF.
  • If you do not have a mask, you can get one from a Healthy Huskies Vending Machine.
  • If you do not wear a mask or you do not use your mask properly, you will have to leave the class. Refusing to wear a mask is a violation of the Student Conduct Code.
  • Please keep your distance from other students (as much as is possible).
  • Eating and drinking in the classroom is not permitted. The only exception is taking quick sips of liquid such as water. To do so, please pull your mask down, drink and then immediately replace your mask.
  • Keep in mind that some people may be unvaccinated due to medical reasons, or may have an unvaccinated person at home (I have a toddler at home who can’t be vaccinated yet), and thus may be particularly cautious.
  • Please take care of yourself as much as possible – do whatever you can to help reduce stress. Remember that UW provides resources for well-being at The Whole U. This includes tips for healthy eating and exercise routines as well as links to guided meditations and yoga classes. And Hall Health offers resources for Mental Health.
  • For further resources on COVID-19 including UW’s COVID policies click here.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about the protocols/guidance, please let Carina and/or your TA know.

Let us help and support each other as best we can!

Resources & Additional Policies

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. 

Please consider submitting your essay well before the deadline as you will be able to see the report generated by SimCheck once you submit your essay, and if needed, you can revise it before the deadline passes.

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 Carina at your earliest convenience so that 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 are not limited to: mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 (Voice & Relay) or or 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, including mental health and possibilities for counseling, please contact the UW Wellness Center or Hall Health. For UW resources about COVID-19, you can click here.

Undocumented Students

I am committed to working with and for undocumented students. Resources are available for you here. Please feel free to speak to Carina about any additional help you may need due to your undocumented status or its implications.

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.

Zoom Recordings

Zoom class sessions may be recorded. The recording will capture Carina’s 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:

  1. Change their Zoom screen name to hide any personal identifying information like their name or UW Net ID; and
  2. Not share their computer audio or video during their Zoom sessions. Please note, you must inform Carina that you cannot use your video for these reasons at the beginning of each class.*

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

Department of Philosophy – Policies & Resources for Students

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.

Guidance to Students Taking Courses Outside the U.S.

Faculty members at U.S. universities – including the University of Washington – have the right to academic freedom which includes presenting and exploring topics and content that other governments may consider to be illegal and, therefore, choose to censor. Examples may include topics and content involving religion, gender and sexuality, human rights, democracy and representative government, and historic events.

If, as a UW student, you are living outside of the United States while taking courses remotely, you are subject to the laws of your local jurisdiction. Local authorities may limit your access to course material and take punitive action towards you. Unfortunately, the University of Washington has no authority over the laws in your jurisdictions or how local authorities enforce those laws.

If you are taking UW courses outside of the United States, you have reason to exercise caution when enrolling in courses that cover topics and issues censored in your jurisdiction. If you have concerns regarding a course or courses that you have registered for, please contact your academic advisor who will assist you in exploring options.

Face Coverings and Social Distancing in the Classroom during COVID

The health and safety of the University of Washington community are the institution’s priorities. Until otherwise stated face coverings are required per UW COVID Face Covering Policy: indoors where other people are present and outdoors when keeping a 6-foot distance may not be possible. This includes all classrooms and buildings/public spaces on each of the UW campuses.

If you physically can’t wear a mask, you choose not to wear a mask, your mask isn’t appropriate/sufficient, or if you aren’t wearing a mask properly (covering both your nose and mouth-diagram below), you CANNOT be in the classroom and will be asked to leave.

If you have a medical condition or health risk as outlined in the UW COVID Face Covering Policy, you may request an accommodation. Please contact Disability Resources for Students office BEFORE GOING TO CLASS at (Seattle) (Tacoma) (Bothell).

A face covering must:

  • Fit snugly against the sides of the face
  • Completely cover the nose and mouth
  • Be secured with ties, ear loops, elastic bands, or other equally effective method
  • Include at least one layer of cloth, although multiple layers are strongly recommended
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be capable of being laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

CDC: How to Wear Masks


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 Met:
Diversity (DIV)
Social Sciences (SSc)
Writing (W)
Last updated:
April 9, 2024 - 8:18 pm