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GEND3901 Feminist Thought

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Gender Studies major sequence
  • Level 3 option in the History major sequence
  • Level 3 elective
This unit examines the history and philosophy of feminism, from its emergence in eighteenth-century liberal humanism to the present. Students read key texts by protofeminist or feminist writers from a range of disciplines, such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Daly, Audre Lorde, the French feminists, bell hooks, Donna Haraway, and Gloria Anzaldua. Through this interdisciplinary survey, students critically evaluate the multiple strands of feminist thought, including liberal, radical, socialist, psychoanalytic, ecological, postcolonial, postmodern and post-feminist. Students undertake 'slow readings' of the key texts, with certain activities and assessments foregrounding affective or 'feelingful' responses which are explored prior to critical and analytical exploration of the texts. This work of 'slow reading' is linked to a methodological focus on (1) the role of affect in knowledge production; and (2) the importance of listening in fostering transformative cultural change. As a Category A Broadening unit and also a level 3 core unit for students undertaking the gender studies major, the unit also provides an opportunity for students with differing levels of knowledge about feminism to engage in respectful and constructive discussion of the issues, in a way that mirrors the dynamics of many feminist interventions in the world beyond university.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the major political, social and philosophical issues analysed by feminists; (2) apply a historicised understanding of theorisations of gender; (3) evaluate a range of feminist positions (e.g. liberal, radical, socialist, postmodern) and their associated readings of gender and sexual difference; (4) critically analyse the major political, social and philosophical issues analysed by feminists; (5) critically reflect on unconscious bias; and (6) apply written and oral communication strategies for negotiating gender and difference.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) dialogue and collaboration; (2) themes and concepts quiz; and (3) a research essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Chantal Bourgault du Coudray
Unit rules
any Level 1 Arts unit
Contact hours
up to 2 x 1 hour tutorials per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.