After this course, you:
- have knowledge of the ideas of key feminist thinkers from the Middle Ages until the 21st century;
- are able to interpret these ideas in their historical and philosophical contexts;
- are able to relate these ideas to contemporary feminist issues.
- are able to reflect critically on the process of canon formation and the exclusions and blind spots it produces
This course focuses on texts by and about ‘classic’ feminist authors such as Christine de Pisan, Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir. The emphasis of the course lies on early feminist thinkers: we start with a reading from the 14th century, and move through the 19th century towards the 20th century. In this way, the course explores the origins of feminist thought in the Western tradition, that form the backdrop for contemporary feminisms. Though diverse in content and style, all texts start from the same basic assumption that the subordinate or inferior position of women in society is unjustified. Feminist authors have different explanations and opinions concerning the reasons and possible remedies for this state of affairs. Nonetheless, there is also continuity in the type of topics and issues that emerge in the history of feminist ideas. The texts will be used to elucidate and analyze the development of ideas concerning the role and position of women in Western society and culture. Attention will be paid to topics that keep returning in the texts: education, marriage and morals, among others. In order to understand where these themes come from, the authors and ideas will be situated in and discussed from the viewpoint of their historical, political and philosophical contexts.