Feminist Political Ideas

School: School of Government and Society
Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies

Module Co-ordinator: Dr Laura Jenkins

This module examines the historical development and diversity of feminist political ideas, concentrating on the way in which feminist thought has challenged traditional political theory. Attention will be given to the exclusion of feminist thinkers from the canon of Western thought and the specific ways in which feminist thinkers have revised and expanded understanding of significant political concepts (such as ‘the political’, gender, equality, justice, sex, reproduction, labour, property, contract, rights and capabilities, care, identity, emotion, reason, representation and the family). Students will analyse key traditions such as liberal feminism; Marxist and socialist feminism; radical feminism; care-focused feminism; postcolonial feminism; black feminism; social constructionism; and postmodern/poststructural feminism. In so doing, students will consider the issue of what constitutes feminism, and who (or what) forms the proper subject of feminist analysis. In order to reflect that feminist theory is necessarily engaged, the module will also explore both the distinctive methodological and pedagogical practices proposed by feminists and the application of theory to a range of substantive areas.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of key strands of feminist political theory
  • Critically reflect on feminist methodological and pedagogical practice
  • Evaluate how feminist thinkers have challenged and revised traditional political ideas
  • Analyse contemporary political issues using feminist ideas

Assessment (from 2018-19)

  • 1 x 1500 reflective autobiographical paper  (25%)
  • 1 x 2500 word essay (75%)