KFL4040 – Feminist Theory

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Course content

Feminist theory examines ways feminist scholars have theorized gender and its relation to power, oppression, and inequality. But how does gender intersect with class, race, sexuality and nationality – in a historical as well as a global perspective? Can gendered discourses shape social reality and our view on nature? What is the relationship between feminist theory, everyday experiences and political movements? And what is specifically feminist about feminist theory? These questions are all central when we at this course examine and discuss different types of feminist theories – emerging from a variety of scholarly fields – in which discussions on gender differences, critiques of patriarchy and androcentrism, and arguments for cultural, social, political, ontological and epistemological change are in focus. Thematically, the course will be organized around the following topics: Narratives in feminist theory, early feminist theory, marxist, socialist, liberal, psychoanalytic and radical feminist theory, becoming woman, ecofeminist and care-based feminist theory, postcolonial and multicultural feminist theory, sexualities and queer theory, and postfeminist theory.

Learning outcome

At this course you will gain insight into the historical development, as well as the contemporary status, of feminist theory. Your will become familiar with some key debates, and texts, and gain an advanced understanding of foundational concepts, arguments and positions in the field. You will also learn to identify strengths and weaknesses within these theories, recognize and classify arguments used to support or reject gender equality, how theories established within specific disciplines develop and change in an interdisciplinary and political context. This course will also support the development of more general academic skills, such as critically examining theories from different scholarly fields, analyze and discuss explicit and implicit theoretical assumptions, and to identify problems and possibilities within feminist theory. You will also be able to use feminist theory to inform the understanding of existing work in your own discipline and in an interdisciplinary context, and to use feminist analyses of gender relations in conducting research.


Upon successful completion, the student will be able to

  • Chart, distinguish and evaluate varieties or derivations of feminist theory in contemporary debates
  • Create dialogues and comparisons between different branches of feminist theorizing, an ability which is important for the application of critical and independent thinking on gender in different professional, academic and political contexts
  • Discern how the various shades of feminism are embedded in discipline-specific gender-critical scholarship
  • Account for the historical emergence and development of feminist theory
  • Account for the impact of location on feminist theory
  • Develop skills in critical thinking, and the ability to handle theoretical topics orally and in written communication, at a level appropriate for a Master student.
  • Acquire perspectives useful for the writing of MA theses.
  • Improve skills of argumentations



Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Right to study at the Master´s level. For international applicants: For further information about admission requirements and admission procedures for international applicants, please see our website admission to the University of Oslo.

Recommended previous knowledge

General knowledge of feminist theory is recommended. (for instance KFL1010 and KFL1020) or similar knowledge.


The course consist of 10 classes of 3 hours of teaching during the autumn semester. The teaching includes lectures and student activities.

Mandatory attendance at least 7 out of 10 times.



In order to take the exam, students must have completed the following requirements:

*            The mandatory participation requirement (8 out of 10 classes)


*             One mandatory oral presentation (15 minutes). A written Version (2-3 pages) of the presentation must be submitted in Canvas no later than a week after the presentation is given in class.

*             The presentation must be approved by the teacher.


The exam will consist of: a semester assignment to be submitted at the end of the course. The assignment must have a length of  10 standard pages (a standard page consists of 2300 characters) +/- 10%. (not counting spaces) references and front page in addition.

Marking scale KFL4040

Examinations in Inspera

Older grading guidelines

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Language of examination: English

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language