The course is based on the systematic analysis of the classic works and theories of antique, modern and contemporary political philosophy, throughout a gender perspective. That is to say of those works and theories in which great thinkers have revealed to us their thought about the political and social life of women. Beside this, the course will introduce the major modern and contemporary feminists, those thinkers, women and men dealing with the private and public role of women. The aim of the course is to fill a gap in our knowledge about history of political thought and to comprehend the assumptions behind deeply rooted modes of thought that continue to affect women’s lives in major ways. The objective of this course is to explore how reading classic political theory texts with an eye to gender can yield unique insights and foster critical thinking about political ideas and arguments. Readings will be drawn from both primary and secondary sources, and emphasis will be placed on the ways in which re-reading canonical texts can enrich contemporary debates about subjects like freedom, citizenship, equality, and representation. The students are expected to understand how gender relations define and shape politics and power, and to apply theories and concepts of gender analysis to understand political and social processes. They should gain a critical understanding of how gender based power relations are present in social and political life
Week 1 Introduction and description of the course. Methodology.
- Joan Scott, Gender: a Useful Category of Historical Analysis, in , 1, V, 1986, pp. 1053 – 1075 - Wendy Brown, Where is the Sex in Political Theory? In , 7, no. 1 1987 - Karen Offen, Defining Feminism: a Comparative Historical Approach, in , vol. 14, n. 11, 1988, pp. 119-157
Week 2 Ancient Greece: Plato and Aristotle.
- Susan Moller Okin, Plato and the Greek Tradition of Misogyny, in Susan Moller Okin, Women in Western Political Thought, Princeton University Press, 1992, - Susan Moller Okin, Philosopher Queens and Private Wives, in Women in Western Political Thought - Susan Moller Okin, Female Nature and Social Structure, in Women in Western Political Thought - Susan Moller Okin, Woman’s Place and Nature in a Functionalist World, in Women in Western Political Thought
Week 3 Women in medieval thought. The Church Fathers: St. Augustine St. Thomas Aquinas: Women’s place in nature
- Diana Coole, Women in Medieval Thought: Transitions from Antiquity to the Renaissance, in Women in Political Theory, Lynne Rienner Publisher, 1993 - Zillah Eisenstein, The Historical Continuity of Patriarchy, from The Radical Future of Liberal Feminism, Northeastern University Press, 1993, Chapter 2
Week 4 Femininity and masculinity in early modern European thought. Deconstructing gender in Machiavelli
- Joan Kelly, Did Women Have a Renaissance?, from Joan Kelly, Women, History and Theory, University of Chicago Press, 1984, ch. 7 - Ian Maclean, The Renaissance Notion of Women, in , vol. 34, n. 2, Summer 1981, pp. 211-213 - Hanna Pitkin, Fortune is a Woman. Gender and Politics in the Thought of Niccolò Machiavelli, University of California Press, 1984, chapters 2,3,4,5,6
Week 5 Natural rights against natural authority Thomas Hobbes against the Aristotelian model John Locke against patriarchy
- Diana Coole, Women in Political Theory, chapter 4 - Carole Pateman, The Sexual Contract, Stanford University Press, 1988, chapters 1, 4, 6
Week 6 The State of Nature and Reconstructing a Masculinized Republic: Rousseau
- Susan Moller Okin, Women in Western Political Thought, chapters 5, 6, 7 - Else Wiestad, Empowerment Inside Patriarchy: Rousseau and the Masculine Construction of Femininity, from Feminist interpretations of Jean Jacques Rousseau, edited by Linda Lange, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002 - Penny Weiss and Ann Harper, Rousseau Political Defense of Sex-Roled Family, from Feminist interpretations of Jean Jacques Rousseau, edited by Linda Lange, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002
Week 7 Vindicating the Rights of Women: Mary Wollstonecraft Liberal Feminism: John Stuart Mill
- Mary Wollstonecraft, excerpt from A Vindication of the Rights of Women, in The Feminist Papers, edited by Alice Rossi, pp. 40-85 - John Stuart Mill, excerpt from The Sujection of Women, in The Feminist Papers, edited by Alice Rossi, pp.196-238 - Susan Moller Okin, Women in Western Political Thought, chapter 9
Week 8 Constructing Liberal Feminism in the US: The 19th Century Women’s Rights Movement
- Alice Rossi, Introduction: Social Roots of the Woman’s Movement in America, in The Feminist Papers, pp. 241- 281 - From Abolition to Sex Equality: Sarah Grimké (1792-1837) and Angelina Grimké (1805-1879), in The Feminist Papers, pp. 306-322 - Alice Rossi, Along the Suffrage Trail, in The Feminist Papers, pp. 407-412 - Excerpt from the History of Woman Suffrage, in The Feminist Papers, Seneca Falls Convention, pp. 413-421 - Akron Convention and Sojourner Truth, in The Feminist Papers, pp. 426-29
Week 9 Contemporary feminist perspectives on patriarchy.
- Virginia Woolf, excerpt from A Room of One’s Own, in The Feminist Papers, pp. 627-652 - Simone de Beauvoir, excerpt from The Second Sex, in The Feminist Papers, pp. 674-705
REQUIRED READINGS: All the weekly readings are part of the syllabus and are mandatory.
RECOMMENDED READINGS: - Susan Moller Okin, Justice, Gender, and the Family, Basic Books, 1989 - Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?, edited by Susan Moller Okin, Princeton University Press, 1999 - Kathryn Kish Sklar, Women’s Rights Emerges within the Antislavery Movement, 1830-1870, Bedford, 2000