• Academic Credits: 3
  • Focus area for the major: Theoretical Approaches to Politics
  • Course for Minor: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Cross listed: Credit not given for both this course and 01:988:365.
  • 01-790-365_01_Gender_and_Political_Theory_Syllabus_.pdf
  • Syllabus Disclaimer: The information on this syllabus is subject to change. For up-to-date course information, please refer to the syllabus on your course site (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) on the first day of class.

Course Description:

Although we often think of “gender” as a distinctly modern concept, it has in fact been the subject of nearly uninterrupted debate amongst political theorists since at least the time of the Ancient Greeks. In this course, we will trace the shifting meanings of gender –and its relationship to sex, sexuality, the household, the economy, and political authority –in its changing relation to the field of political theory. The course will argue, at its most basic, that questions about the complex relationships between sexuality, marriage, reproduction, and children are –and have always been –foundational building blocks for conceptualizing political life. By foregrounding this building block throughout the canon of political theory, key questions will emerge: Are “gendered” issuessomething apart from politics, a “private sphere” belonging only to intimate feelings like love and sentiment? Does it serve as an analogy for politics, where “proper” rulers such as fathers and masters reign like kings? Can justice be achieved in the family, or is the family itself an oppressive institution? To what extent are sexuality, reproduction, and children political in themselves? We will tackle these questions in six units by tracing the ways that political theorists have understood the role of genderin political life from the Ancient Greeks to the present. While approaches to understanding the significance of the household will vary across time and thinkers, we also emphasize the surprisingly persistent specter of the family throughout the tradition of political theory.