Political Science | Equality (Liberalism: Marxism: Feminism)
Y675 | 3760 | Robinson


This course cross listed with Gender Studies, G601.

Topic:  Equality (Liberalism:  Marxism:  Feminism)

To paraphrase Susan Okin, in her classic study of Women in Western
Political Thought, one of the most abiding concerns of political
philosophers has been the inequality that prevails in human society,
and one of the most fundamental projects has been to discover the
principles of a political system that would minimize inequality
between persons.  The problem is that for most political
philosophers, those “persons” are inevitably conceived as males;
women’s inequality with men is seen, at best, as removing barriers to
make it possible for women to act like men.  Perhaps the most
compelling contribution of contemporary feminist thought is the
recognition that this “cure” is flawed.  But where does that leave us?
In this seminar, we will consider seriously the arguments of liberal
philosophers (Rousseau, J.S. Mill, H.T. Mill, perhaps Kant,
definitely Rawls), the arguments of some marxists (Marx, Engels,
Kollontai, maybe Fourier, Luxemburg, and others), and various
feminist arguments (including Pateman, Phillips, Cornell, Voet, Okin,
Elshtain, Fraser, MacKinnon and others).  Our project is to
understand the way the equality has been framed and to clarify new
frames that might make equality more attainable.  In order to do so,
we will undertake study of the meaning of person, justice,
inequality, and difference.
Books have not yet been ordered, but certainly the thinkers listed
above will be included.  A formal essay will be required, as will
weekly memos on the readings.