PHIL 406 A: Philosophical Topics in Feminism

Winter 2023
TTh 10:30am - 12:20pm / SAV 168
Section Type:
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

Phil 406 WINTER 2023

Instructor: Carina Fourie

Contact Details: Send me a message on Canvas Inbox

Class Times & Location:  Tue & Thu 10.30am-12.20pm, Savery Hall 168

Office Hours: Tue 2.15-3.15pm Savery Hall 389 (NOT Week 1); Wed 2-3pm on Zoom (Meeting ID: 460 391 6611; AVAILABLE in Week 1)


Painting called "The Beginning" by Sonia Gechtoff

Sonia Gechtoff "The Beginning"

What Is Feminist Philosophy?

We will analyze and assess how to do feminist philosophy and how to be a feminist philosopher. Analysis will center around two primary questions:

What theories, methods and practices should we use in order to do philosophy in a feminist way?

How can we live feminist lives?

We will identify and assess feminist critiques of philosophy and of the primacy of argument to explore what kinds of philosophy, methods and practices are amenable to feminism. 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 the role of metaphor, emotions and literature, narrative ethics, Black feminism, transfeminist philosophy, the abstract and the particular, epistemic injustice, standpoint theory, the experiences of Black and Asian-American women and men, being an ally and being a feminist killjoy, among other topics.

We will read texts by philosophers and critical theorists such as Sara Ahmed, Linda Martín Alcoff, Yoko Arisaka, Talia Mae Bettcher, Cora Diamond, Kristie Dotson, Veronica Ivy, María Lugones, Jennifer Nash, and Lisa Schwartzman. 

Course Modules

Week 1: An Introduction to Feminisms through Metaphors

Week 2: Feminist Philosophical Practice & Theorizing: Part 1

Week 3: My Feminism Will Be Decolonial Or It Will Be Bulls*%t

Week 4: My Feminism Will be Trans Or It Will Be Bulls*%t

Week 5: Living a Feminist Life (Part 1)

Week 6: My Feminism Will Be Intersectional Or It Will Be Bulls%*t

Week 7: Feminist Philosophical Practice & Theorizing (Part 2)

Week 8: My Feminism Will Be Non-Ideal Or It Will Be Bulls*%t

Week 9: Beyond Argument

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 reading responses and essays)
  • 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 transgender children and adults. (Reinforced and assessed through reading responses, essays, and discussion)
  • Skills of oral communication relevant for expressing and assessing philosophical perspectives in impromptu and informal settings. (Reinforced through discussion)
  • Enhanced philosophical reading, analysis, argumentation and writing skills. (Reinforced and assessed through reading responses, essays, and discussion)

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.
  • Essays: Maximum points available, 70
  • UPDATED Annotations & Participation: Maximum points available, 28
  • UPDATED Syllabus & Assignments Quiz: 2 points

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 essays 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).


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

  • Annotations: 28% (14 of 18 Annotations, 2 points each)
  • Draft Paper: 22%
  • Final Term Paper: 50%

Community Norms

Developed collaboratively in class on Thursday, Jan. 5:

  • Attentive listening
  • Respectful and sensitive towards topics we’re discussing
  • Respectful towards alternative opinions
  • Put effort into group work to support peers
  • Don’t monologue, leave space for others to share opinions
  • Support peers academically
  • Ask questions, be curious
  • Come to class prepared, complete readings, have things to share
  • Be civil, open-minded (no ad-hominem attacks)


  • Practicing active listening
  • Remaining accountable for one’s own remarks
  • Being brave enough to say something contrary to the general opinion, but making sure to preface your statement with respect
  • Staying relevant to the topic at hand
  • Trying to use as inclusive language as possible
  • Being humble and being excited about being wrong because it means you’re learning


  • Respect people, it's good to debate but don't argue
  • Being a good listener, especially in areas we are more unfamiliar with
  • Don’t monopolize air space and give everyone a chance to speak
  • Being genuine with what you think and don’t become influenced by others voices
  • Keeping up with the content to bring adequate points to the discussion
  • Bring questions to class if you are confused on something
  • Recognize your own biases/privileges 


  • In discussions, try to connect with other students and build on their ideas
  • Be open to changing your mind
  • Be mindful of different perspectives, experiences, and ideas
  • Be bold! Share your perspectives and ideas so that others can build on them.


  • No interrupting
  • Acknowledge what people say when you respond to them, specify exact what part you are disagreeing with in a respectful way
  • Actively listen and process what a person says before responding
  • Keep the conversation open to anyone who may have thoughts on the topic
  • Offer alternative methods of participation that don’t involve speaking in front of the whole class
  • Challenge ideas, not people
  • Stay open minded, always be willing to consider other perspectives
  • Give the original speaker a chance to respond when their point is contested
  • If two people begin to talk at the same time, try to let the person who doesn’t speak up as often go first


  •  Come to class prepared having read the worksheet and required texts and make an "annotation" of your discussion point on “Hypothesis”.

  • 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!


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, (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 “Access and Accommodations”.  See also, the “Assignments and Grading” document for information on participation points and "annotations".

Access & Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to Carina. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to Carina at your earliest convenience so you 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 & Wellbeing

For resources on health and well-being, including mental health and possibilities for counseling, please consider contacting the UW Wellness Center or Hall Health. For UW protocols and resources about COVID-19, see below.

COVID-19 Protocols

To prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Let's work together to keep each other safe!

Undocumented Students

I am committed to working with and for undocumented students. Resources and further information 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. 

Multilingual Learners (MLL)

I am committed to supporting multilingual learners, some of whom may not feel as comfortable speaking, reading or writing in English than in other languages. Academic support and non-academic support are available on the UW website. Please feel free to talk to Carina at office hours or by appointment for additional support and guidance.

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. PHIL 242 Instructors use this service 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. I cannot grade your paper until it is accompanied by a SimCheck report. 



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:
a.    The use of unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations, or completing assignments;
b.    The acquisition, use, or distribution of unpublished materials created by another student without the express permission of the original author(s);
c.    Using online sources, such as solution manuals, without the permission of the instructor to complete assignments, exams, tests, or quizzes; or
d.    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:
a.    The use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment; or
b.    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) 


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)


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).


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 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 online.
•    For more information visit the SafeCampus website.


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 (


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.


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.

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:
July 20, 2024 - 1:01 pm