Not available in 2013/14
GI406      Half Unit
Feminist Political Theory

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Anne Phillips


This course is available on the MSc in Gender, MSc in Gender (Research), MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities and MSc in Political Theory. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course covers some of the central debates in contemporary feminist political theory, with a particular emphasis on the legacy and usefulness of liberalism. The course focuses on debates and differences within feminist political theory, rather than justifications for, or defences of, feminist political theory. Among the problems raised are conceptions of the individual and individual autonomy; the relative invisibility of gender issues in mainstream literature on justice and equality; the tendency to conceive of equality in sex-blind terms; the tendency to presume a universally applicable set of norms We consider the theoretical debates in relation to a number of contemporary political issues. Topics likely to be addressed include: feminism and contract, individualism and autonomy, identity politics, equality and the politics of difference, surrogacy, multiculturalism, and universalism.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Indicative reading

Most of the material is in the form of articles, and a detailed list will be handed out at the beginning of the course. The following is only an indicative list: J Squires, Gender in Political Theory; C Pateman The Sexual Contract; I M Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference; W Brown, States of Injury; A Phillips Multiculturalism without Culture; C MacKenzie and N Stoljar (eds) Relational Autonomy.


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the MT.

Key facts

Department: Gender Institute

Total students 2012/13: 29

Average class size 2012/13: 14

Value: Half Unit

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