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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Sociology

Postgraduate Course: Contemporary Feminist Debates (SCIL11026)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryGender is a central concept for social and political analysis. This course introduces students to some of the major approaches to theories of gender and their application to substantive areas of research. It begins by outlining different kinds of feminism and feminist approaches to gender and the impact of the women's movement and feminist theory on ideas of knowledge, identity and power. It then discusses feminist debates in areas of research concerning 'equality' and 'multiculturalism', gender and welfare, violence against women, political representation,embodiment,feminism's relationship to post-structuralism, and women 'taking up space' in different kinds of public places and spaces. During the course, students will be expected to engage with the work of a range of key feminist debates and theorists, including bell hooks, Chandra Mohanty, Raewyn Connell, Audre Lorde, Judith Butler, Christine Delphy, Stevi Jackson, Catherine MacKinnon and many more.

Within this broad frame, the exact focus and content varies from year to year. The postgraduate component will require students to engage in-depth with selected key debates and texts, regarding epistemological, theoretical and empirical aspects of the positions adopted in these debates, and also to reflect on the relevance of these issues for their own dissertation research.
Course description FORMAT
Class sessions take place over three hours, with lectures provided by several contributors. The first part of the class will generally be in a lecture format, with some time allowed to discuss any questions that arise from the lecture, followed by small group discussions, class debates,or videos. Postgraduates will be expected to attend the three hour sessions as well as the mandatory five separate PG tutorials
A typical series of ten weeks of lecture topics would be:
1. Introducing key issues in the study of feminism
2. What is gender?
3. What is feminist theory?
4. Equality and multiculturalism
5. Gender and Welfare
6. Women, gender and political representation
7. Violence against women
8. Feminism, bodies and embodiment
9. Feminism and post-structuralism
10.Women "taking up space"; and course review and overview

Additionally, postgraduates will attend five one-hour special tutorials focussing on close readings of major influential contributions to the selected debates and critical discussions of book-length studies on substantive topics, informed by particular conceptions of gender (see list below). Postgraduates will be expected to submit a short, non-assessed critical reflection on each of the core tutorial readings, to form a 'log' of five entries by the end of the course with one of these being to produce a Powerpoint poster. These will then be submitted together with the assessment essay and will appear on the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course students should be able to:
- identify, summarise and critically assess major themes and contending perspectives in the theorisation of gender
- formulate a position on the pros and cons of contending perspectives in the theorisation of gender
- interpret contending perspectives on gender in regard to the socio-historical contexts in which they are generated
- analyse how substantive fields of research inform the theorisation of gender
- critically assess how specific perspectives on gender may shape empirical research
Reading List
The following is an indicative list of sources drawn on in the course. Postgraduates will be expected to read more extensively and in greater depth than Undergraduates taking this course.
Badinter, E. (2005) Dead End Feminism. Polity.
Benhabib, S. (2002) The claims of culture: equality and diversity in the global era. Princeton UP.
Birke, Lynda (1999) Feminism and the Biological Body, Edinburgh University Press
Bradley, H. (2007) Gender. Polity.
Bryson, V. (1999) Feminist Debates. Palgrave.
Bulbeck, C. (1998) Reorienting Western Feminisms, Cambridge: CUP.
Butler, J. (1990) Gender Trouble. Routledge.
Butler, J. (2004) Undoing Gender. Routledge.
Cohen, J., M. Howard & M Nussbaum (eds) (1999) Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? Princeton UP.
Collins, P. H. (1991) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment, Routledge.
Connell, R. W. (1987) Gender and Power, Polity.
Daly, M. & K. Rake (2003) Gender and the Welfare State: care, work and welfare in Europe and the USA, Polity.
Evans, J. (1995) Feminist Theory Today: An Introduction to Second-Wave Feminism, Sage.
Gupta, R. (ed) (2003) From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers: Southall Black Sisters, Zed.
Jackson, S. & J. Jones (eds) (1998) Contemporary Feminist Theories, Edinburgh UP.
Jackson, S and Scott, S (eds) (2002) Gender: A Sociological Reader, Routledge.
Jeffreys, S. (2006) Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices in the West, Routledge
Kessler, S. & W. McKenna (1978) Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach, Wiley
Kolmar, W. & F. Bartkowski (eds) (2005) Feminist Theory: A Reader, McGraw Hill.
Lewis, R. &S. Mills (eds) (2003) Feminist Postcolonial Theory. Edinburgh UP
Lister, R. (1997) Citizenship: Feminist Perspectives, Macmillan.
Lovenduski, J. (2005) Feminizing Politics, Polity.
MacLaughlin, J. (2003) Feminist Social and Political Theory, Palgrave MacMillan.
Okin, S. M. (1980/1992) Women in Western Political Thought, Princeton UP.
Phillips, A. (1995) The Politics of Presence, Clarendon.
Phillips, A. (ed.) (1998) Feminism and Politics, OUP.
Phillips, Anne (2007) Multiculturalism without Culture, Princeton UP.
Pilcher, J & I. Whelehan (2004) 50 Key Concepts in Gender Studies, Sage.
Segal, L. (1999) Why Feminism? Polity.
Tong, R. (1998) Feminist Thought, Westview.
Whelehan, I. (1995) Modern Feminist Thought, Edinburgh UP.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiser Course secretaryMiss Jade Birkin
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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