PO3FPT-Feminism and Political Theory

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Brian Feltham

Email: b.m.feltham@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module studies a variety of issues and topics within feminist political theory. It introduces students to a variety of kinds of feminism and the different analyses that they offer of society, gender, and any disparity of power and advantage between genders. It also considers a range of topics that have been of special interest to feminists but also have broader concern, such as abortion, commercial surrogacy, prostitution, pornography, and affirmative action.

Aims:
This module aims to provide students with empirical knowledge and theoretical understanding of a range of gender-related topics showing awareness of the facts relating to a range of gender-related topics and their possible implications.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will
• have acquired an informed view of a range of gender-related topics (such as abortion, prostitution, pornography...) with an awareness of the relevant facts and their possible implications;
• be able to apply different theoretical perspectives (liberal, radical, marxist...) to specific issues, combining thematic-based research with conceptual thought;
• be able to defend the consistency and plausibility of their views with clear rational arguments. For example, they might oppose prostitution and support commercial surrogacy but do so inconsistently if they argued against the former on the ground that it involves renting sexual organs as the latter also does so.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to develop critical and reflective thinking, effective and independent use of a variety of sources, coherent and rigorous written and oral argumentation, and the ability to work with and learn from others.

Outline content:
The following content is indicative and may be subject to minor changes:
The course begins by examining the evolutionary explanations of why males in many species are bigger and more aggressive than females, die younger, and have different physical and mental abilities, and attitudes to sex. On this basis we can go on to discuss how social institutions should respond to such differences, and how they bear on controversial issues concerning, for instance, abortion, reproductive technologies, prostitution, pornography, affirmative action, or divorce. We may disagree, for example, about how far the state should go towards creating equality, in the public sphere of politics, in the privacy of people's homes, in churches, or in multicultural schools. Even if we all agree that problems such as domestic violence, rape, harassment, discrimination or infant poverty should be tackled, we may disagree about what the state may permissibly do to address them. The course, therefore, is not about "women's issues" and not oriented only towards female students. It addresses questions about how the state should deal with the problems caused by the differences between men and women, and equal participation by male and female students would be ideal.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
One two-hour seminar per week for the first five weeks of the Autumn and Spring terms. All students are required to do preparatory reading. One or more students will initiate a discussion with a presentation which should both introduce topic-relevant issues and argue for a response to them. Students may use their presentation and the seminar feedback as the basis for their essay.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 10 10
Guided independent study 90 90
       
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Report 50

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will write two essays of 3,500 words on any topic relevant to gender equality. Non-submitted essays will be awarded a mark of zero. The overall coursework mark will be an average of the two essay marks.

There will be NO examination.

Visiting students will follow the same assessments to gain full credits. Visiting students who are only studying for half credits in Autumn and/or Spring terms will submit one 3,500 word essay in total.

Formative assessment methods:
• Presentations to the seminar group; participation in discussions.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    No examination.

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Candidates who fail their final year normally have the right to be re-examined on one further occasion at the next opportunity. These candidates will not normally be eligible for Honours (ie., only a ‘Pass’ classification would be attainable). Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books: No necessary purchase - two possibilities (check for cheaper second-hand copies):
    Jennifer Mather Saul, Feminism: Issues and Arguments, Oxford University Press (2003) ISBN-10- 0199249474. RRP £19.25
    Alison M. Jaggar, Living with Contradictions: Controversies in Feminist Social Ethics, Westview Press (1994). ISBN-10: 0813317762. RRP.£38.99


    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    A Reading Pack costing approximately £5.00 may be available to buy. Please ask the module convenor for further details.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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