Philosophy of Gender
This course constructs a philosophical framework for the interdisciplinary examination of gender. Against a historical outline of the development of contemporary gender studies, we examine biological, sociological, and psychological perspectives on gender. These theoretical perspectives are put into discussion with ethical issues concerning sexuality, selfhood, personal identity, and autonomy.
By the end of this course, you will be able to make sense of the interdisciplinary examination of gender and discuss the historical, theoretical, and ethical aspects of what it means to exist with a gender identity. Our identity is rooted in our experience of gender. This experience is deeply personal, and yet there are biological and societal aspects to the experience of gender that complicate and challenge our sense of identity. The course will provide you with a philosophical foundation for thinking critically about the complexity of human experience of gender. The most important elements of this philosophical foundation are a sense of history, conceptual clarity, and an understanding of interdisciplinary methodology.
The sessions are structured as a combination of lecture, discussion, and group work with a focus on engaging the student. Each session is framed by a systematic PowerPoint presentation of the themes and readings in question. The presentation will encourage and guide the discussion in the class. The student can expect a lively and systematically oriented teacher who will attempt to make the issues both interesting and relevant to a contemporary setting while maintaining a substantial theoretical level and the necessary historical perspective.
The course is planned with physical attendance, but can also be accessed as live streaming of registered participants
Principal Course Literature
- Susan Kingsley Kent. Gender and History. London: Palgrave Macmillan
- Tina Chanter. Gender: Key Concepts in Philosophy.
London: Continuum 2006.
Articles and chapters in books
- Katherina Jenkins. “Amelioration and Inclusion: Gender Identity
and the Concept of Woman”. Ethics
126 (2016): 394-421
- Sara Haslanger. Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012, ch. 1 (“On Being Objective and Being Obejctified”): 35-82.
- Luce Irigary. An Ethics of Sexual Difference, trans. C. Burke and G.C. Gill. London: Continuum 2004, ch. 8 (“An Ethics of Sexual Difference”): 99-110.
- Donna Haraway. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective”. Feminist Studies, 14: 575–600.
- Judith Butler. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 2015, ch. 1 (“Gender Politics and the Right to Appear”): 24-65.
- Ian Hacking. “Making Up People”. In M. Heller et al (Eds.) Reconstructing Individualism. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
- Talia Mae Bettcher. “Trans identities and first-person authority”. In Laurie Shrage (ed.), You've changed: Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity, pp. 98-120. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009. 98–120.
- Cressida Heyes. “Changing race, changing sex: The ethics of self-transformation”. Journal of Social Philosophy 37: 266–282.
- Ásta Kristjana Sveinsdóttir. “The Social Construction of Human Kinds”. Hypatia 28 (2013): 716-732.
- Toril Moi. “I am not a Feminist”. PMLA 121 (2006): 1735-41.
- Sally Haslanger and Ásta Kristjana Sveinsdóttir. "Feminist Metaphysics". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
- Linda Martín Alcoff. Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self. Oxford: Oxford University 2006, ch. 6 (“The Metaphysics of Gender and Sexual Difference”): 151-175
- Anne Cambell. A Mind of Her Own: Evolutionary Biology of Women, 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013, ch. 1 (“Biophobia and the Study of Sexual Differences”). 1-41.
- Melissa Hines. “Gender Development and the Human Brain”. Annual Review of Neuroscience 34, 2001: 69-88
- Theodore Bach. “Gender Is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence”. Ethics 122 (2012): 231-272.
- Charlotte Witt. The Metaphysics of Gender. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011, ch. 3: 27-49.
- Sara Heinämaa. “A Phenomenology of Sexual Difference: Types, Styles and Persons”. In C. Witt (ed.) Feminist Metaphysics: Explorations in the Ontology of Sex, Gender and the Self, pp. 131-155. Dordrecht: Springer 2011.
Full degree students enrolled in Study Programmes at departments of the University of Copenhagen: Send an e-mail to email@example.com to sign up. Remember to attach a pre-approval form your Study Board. Application deadline 1 June and 1 December.
For merit- og tilvalgsstuderende – følg link
For ÅU-studerende – følg link
For masterstuderende – følg link
- 15 ECTS
- Type of assessment
Written assignmentUndergraduate requirements (bachelor students):
Requirement to pass the course for undergraduate students (bachelor students): Active attendance (at least attendance in 75% of the class-sessions, documented by protocol). The syllabus volume and content are determined by the teacher, and three to five assignments are handed in to the teacher on each 9,600-12,000 characters, ie. 4-5 pages, as well as a final major assignment, which has s size of 19,200-24,000 characters, ie. 8-10 pages, and based on 400-500 pages literature in agreement with the teacher. The assignments are assessed by the teacher and the final assessment is given after the 7-point grading scale.
Graduate requirements (kandidat/master students):
Requirement to pass the course for graduate students (kandidat/master students): Active attendance (at least attendance in 75% of the class-sessions, documented by protocol). The syllabus volume and content are determined by the teacher, and three to five assignments are drawn on each 9,600-12,000 characters, ie. 4-5 pages, as well as a final major assignment, which has a size of 26,400-36,000 characters, ie. 11-15 pages, and is based on 800-1000 pages of literature in agreement with the teacher. The assignments are assessed by the teacher and the final assessment is given after the 7-point grading scale.
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
Single subject courses (day)
- Class Instruction
- Exam Preparation
- Course number
- 15 ECTS
- Programme level
- Full Degree Master
BachelorBachelor choiceFull Degree Master choicePart Time Master
- Autumn And Spring
Studerende under Åbent Universitet LINK
First day is Monday 30 August
First day is Monday 24 January
- Study board of Theology
- Faculty of Theology
- René Rosfort (3-746774427667716e306d7730666d)
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Courseinformation of students