KFL4070 – Feminist Ethics
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
How does gender influence the construction and application of ethical theories? What qualifies as a “feminist” ethical theory, and what is the basis for the claim voiced by feminist ethicists that traditional ethical theories ignore the interests of many women while favoring those of some men? Is feminist ethics limited to gendered issues, or are the insights of feminist ethics applicable to analyses of moral experiences and challenges that reflect the intersection of gender with other bases of oppression? These questions are all central to this course, as is the examination of alternative ethical approaches and theories put forth by feminist ethicists, such as care ethics, maternal ethics, queer ethics, disability ethics and ecofeminist ethics. These feminist ethical theories will be applied when discussing concrete cases concerning reproductive autonomy, private and professional care-work, and social, global and environmental injustice.
1. By taking this course students will gain insight into the contemporary theories and main positions within feminist ethics, their strengths as well as weaknesses. Students will learn to identify gender bias in the design and application of traditional normative theories, and gain the ability to engage in contemporary ethical debates from the perspective of a feminist ethics, and to identify and evaluate the insights, assumptions, values and theories that underly various positions in those debates.
2. Working with the course material and participating in classroom activities will provide students with the ability to analyze the structures and practice of ethical theories, and to apply such analysis to concrete ethical topics. This course will help develop skills in moral reasoning and critical thinking.
3. This course will support the development of more general analytic and communicative skills, such as the ability to articulate, criticize and defend a coherent thesis within an essay and in a discussion. Students will develop the skills to understand, synthesize and reflect upon complex information gained from the reading assignments or in the classroom, as well as the ability to apply this information outside the classroom setting.
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Recommended previous knowledge
Some basic insights into ethical theories will be beneficial, but not required. For students unfamiliar with ethical theories, a short introductory textbook is recommended (on the syllabus).
- 10 credits overlap with FIL4351 – Feminist ethics
- 10 credits overlap with FIL4352 – Feminist ethics with short essay (discontinued)
- 10 credits overlap with FIL4353 – Feminist ethics with long essay
Offered during the spring semester, the course consists of (10) three hour classes of teaching. The teaching includes lectures and student activities. Each class will start with a lecture where the teacher is presenting and reflecting upon different aspects of feminist care ethics based on the reading material. Each lecture will be followed by a student activity were the students, divided in smaller groups, will be asked to discuss and apply feminist ethics to relevant real-life challenges as designated by the teachers. At the end of each class, each student group may be asked to present their group-work and discuss, together with their instructor, possible feminist ethical approaches to select ethical challenges. The discussions and group work will be based on the reading material and the lectures. Please note that the teaching and the discussions on this course are based on central ideas in the feminist pedagogy of bell hooks where “the mutual willingness to listen, to argue, to disagree, and to make peace” serves as an ideal.
- Participation is mandatory (8 out of 10 classes)
- Active participation in the assigned student activities
Examination support material
A semester essay of 10 pages (450 words per page total 4500 words +/- 10% (not counting spaces) references and front page in addition) must be submitted at the end of the semester. The topic for the required essay must be based on the syllabus, and approved by the responsible teacher. When writing the essay, students are entitled to receive individual tutoring. Individual tutoring requires the advance submittal of a draft version of the essay to the responsible teacher. A formal deadline for submitting the essay draft will be provided by the teacher well in advance.
In order for students to qualify for the final examination, all compulsory activities must be approved by the teacher.
Language of examination
You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.
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.