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Feminist Theories, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Feministiska teorier

This syllabus is valid: 2023-06-19 and until further notice

Course code: 2KC030

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Gender Studies: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: Three-grade scale

Responsible department: Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS)

Revised by: Director of Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS), 2023-06-21


This course deals with feminist theory and central classical and contemporary debates within feminist theorizing. Taking departure from a variety of feminist and intersectional approaches the course will address questions such as: What is feminist theory? How have feminists theorized and understood the relationship between gender and power, and other intersecting categories?

The course is divided into three broad themes: 1) power and subjectivity, 2) feminism and sexuality 3) postcolonial critique and intersectionality. These themes will be explored through classical texts, lectures, discussions, group assignments, and individual written assignments.

Expected learning outcomes

Having completed this course, the students are expected to have the ability to:
Knowledge and understanding:

  • understand and explain different feminist approaches.
  • understand how different feminist theories conceptualize power, gender and subjectivity.

Skills and abilities:

  • identify and compare the diverging lines between different feminist approaches.
  • independently apply relevant theories on empirical or theoretical problems.

Judgement and approach:

  • orally and in writing present independent analyses related to central questions regarding power, gender, and subjectivity in feminist theorizing.

Required Knowledge

To be admitted to the course applicants must have completed three semesters of full time studies, equivalent to 90 ECTS, of which at least 15 ECTS must be an independent project or four semesters of full time studies equivalent to 120 ECTS.

English proficiency equivalent to English A/6 from Swedish Upper secondary education.

Form of instruction

The course is a full-time on-line course in English. The course is taught entirely through an electronic Learning Management System where the student takes part in lectures, mandatory assignments and other learning activities. The studies are characterized by a high degree of independent and active search for knowledge, and critical reflection, both individually and in groups.

The course focuses on active learning, i.e. putting knowledge into practice and critically reflecting upon the knowledge. Different strategies for teaching and learning will be used, such as lectures, group discussions and various forms of individual and group exercises on selected topics. To pass the course the student is expected to actively participate in all seminars and to pass the final examination

Examination modes

Examination takes place through fulfillment of two parts:
1) Mandatory assignments during the course as well as active participation in seminars
2) Individual written assignment.
For part 1 the grades are Fail (U) or Pass (G). For part 2, as well as for the whole course, the grades are Fail (U), Pass (G) and Pass with Distinction (VG). The grade for the whole course in based on the examination of part 2. The whole course is not graded until part 1 is fulfilled.

Other regulations

Students have the right to apply to have a previous education or experience evaluated for transfer of credits. For more
information, see: www.umu.se/utbildning/antagning/tillgodoraknande/


Valid from: 2023 week 25

"Subjects of sex/gender/desire”
Included in:
Gender trouble[Elektronisk resurs]b feminism and the subversion of identity
New York : Routledge : 1999. : xxxiii, 221 p. :

Abu-Lughod Lila
Do Muslim women really need saving? Anthopological reflections on Cultural relativism and its Others.
Ingår i: American Anthroplogist, 104(3) pp. 783-790. 2003. : 2003 :

”The intersectional turn in feminist theory. A dream of a common language?”
Carbin Maria, Edenheim Sara
European Journal of Women Studies. Vol. 20, nr. 3. :
Reading instructions: pp. 233-248

Crenshaw Kimberle
Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color
Included in:
Stanford law review.
Stanford, Calif. : School of Law : 1948- :
Reading instructions: pp. 1241- 1299

Feminist Perspectives on Power
Included in:
Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy
[Stanford, Calif.] : Stanford University : c1997- :
Reading instructions: https://plato.sydney.edu.au/archives/fall2008/entries/feminist-power/#radi

Foucault Michel
The subject and power
Included in:
Critical inquiry [Elektronisk resurs].
Chicago : Univ. of Chicago : 2002- : 8 : pages 777-795 :
Länk till artikel

Harding Sandra
From the Woman Question in Science to The Science Question in Feminism
Open University Press :
Reading instructions: pp. 15-29 (Provided by the teacher, see file on Canvas.)

Included in:
Feminist postcolonial theory
New York : Routledge : 2003 : pdf (xi, 754 s.) :

Feminist Studies: A Guide to Intersectional Theory, Methodology and Writing (Routledge advances in feminist studies and intersectionality ; 1)
Lykke Nina, Max Novick
Routledge :
Reading instructions: pp. 1-45 and pp. 125-143 (Available as e-book on ub.umu.se)

MacKinnon Catharine A.
Feminism, Marxism, method and the state : an agenda for theory
Included in:
Chicago, Ill. : Chicago U. P. : 1975- :

MacKinnon Catharine A
Included in:
The second wave
New York : Routledge : 1997 : 414 s. :
Reading instructions: pp. 158-180

Mohanty Chandra Talpade
Under western eyes. Feminist scholarship and colonial discourses.
Included in:
Feminist review.
London,c 1979- : 1979- : pages 61-88 :

Norlander Kerstin
Empathetic reading. The art of reading a text in its own terms
Swedish Secreteriat for Gender Research : 2013 :
Gender Studies Education and Pedagogy
Reading instructions: pp. 10-13

Rubin Gayle
Thinking sex
Included in:
The Lesbian and gay studies reader
New York : Routledge : 1993 : 666 s. : pages 3-44 :

Staunes Dorthe
Where have all the subjects gone? Bringing together the concepts of intersectionality and Subjectification.
Included in:
Stockholm : Taylor & Francis : 1993- : pages 101-111 :
Reading instructions: https://search.ub.umu.se/permalink/46UMEA_INST/1l5esu/cdi_informaworld_taylorfrancis_310_1080_08038740310002950

Postcolonial feminism/postcolonialism and feminism
Sunder Rajan Rajeswari, Park You-me


Virgins or whores? Feminist critique of sexuality
Included in:
Oxford : Oxford University Press : 2008 : 151 p. :
Reading instructions: pp. 49-74

Vuolajärvi Niina
Governing in the Name of Caring—the Nordic Model of Prostitution and its Punitive Consequences for Migrants Who Sell Sex
Included in:
Sexuality research & social policy : journal of NSRC : SR & SP
2004- : 16 : pages 151-165 :

Additional reading

Mansfield Nick
Subjectivity : theories of the self from Freud to Haraway
New York : New York Univ. Press : 2000 : ix, 198 s. :
ISBN: 0-8147-5651-4 (hft.)
Search the University Library catalogue
Reading instructions: pp. 51-65

Reference literature