WGS 390 Ecofeminisms PHIL 384: Applied Ethics

WGS 390 Ecofeminisms
PHIL 384: Applied Ethics
Instructor: Dr. Chloë Taylor
Office: Assiniboia Hall 1-02E
Office hours: Fridays 12:00-2:00 (beginning February 7)
and by appointment
Email: [email protected]
Course Description
This course will introduce students to ecofeminism in its philosophical (as
opposed to spiritual, theological, or literary) forms. Ecofeminist
philosophies—also known as ecological or environmental feminist
philosophies—are intersectionalist feminist theories that attend to the
interconnected domination of women, nonhuman animals, and the
environment. Many ecofeminists draw further connections between the
exploitation of nature (or ‘natureism’) and racism, colonialism, capitalism, and
Because many of the ecofeminist philosophers whom we will read over the
course of the semester draw on the feminist care ethics tradition in moral
philosophy, this course will begin by introducing students to feminist care
ethics, and we will initially consider how care ethics has been applied with
respect to humans experiencing disability. We will then turn to ecofeminist
applications of care ethics to nonhuman animals and the environment, and
will contrast these approaches to several non-feminist (utilitarian, Kantian,
deep ecology) animal and environmental ethics. Ethical issues to be explored
in this course include the use of animals as companions and food, hunting,
colonialism, and the tensions as well as alliances between movements for
Aboriginal human rights, nonhuman animal rights, and the protection of the
Required Textbook
 Chris Cuomo, Feminism and Ecological Communities (Routledge, 1998)
Method of Evaluation
Attendance and Participation: 10%
First short (5 page) essay due February 12 at 2 p.m. in class: 25%
Second short (5 page) essay due March 12 at 2 p.m. in class: 25%
Take-home final exam due April 9 at 2 p.m. in class: 40%
Grading Scale
Grade Point
Minimal Pass
Attendance and Participation (10%)
You should come to class having read and reflected upon the assigned
materials and prepared to discuss them and take notes.
Papers (50%)
There will be two paper assignments during the semester. Each paper should
be 5 pages long and is worth 25% of your grade, for a total of 50%. Your paper
should show that you have understood the key concepts and arguments in the
readings that you are engaging with and that you have thought about them
critically. Your paper should include both an exegetical portion—explaining
the texts—and a response portion showing your own critical reflections on
the topic.
Final take-home exam (40%)
The take-home exam will be cumulative but will focus on the final section of
the course not covered by the essay assignments. The exam will include four
short answer questions (worth 5% each) and two longer answer questions
(worth 10% each). Short answer questions will examine student
comprehension of central concepts from lectures and reading assignments.
The longer answer portion of the exam will provide students with the
opportunity to make connections between the readings and to consider
recurring themes. Group study or group work is not allowed for take-home
final exams. You will have to answer all of the exam questions.
Assignments for this class must be handed in according to agreed upon due
dates. Late assignments will normally not be accepted unless you make
arrangements with me well before the due date or have a medical note.
Academic Honesty
Academic Honesty is expected of all students in this and in all other courses at
the University of Alberta. Plagiarism is a serious academic offence that will
result in suspension or expulsion from the university. Moreover, plagiarism is
fundamentally at odds with the central goal of higher education, which is to
develop one’s capacity to understand and engage with complex thought.
The GFC, General Faculties Council, offers the following guidelines:
“The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic
integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these
standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the
University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize
themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at
www.ualberta.ca/governance/studentappeals.cfm) and avoid any behaviour
which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism,
misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic
dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from
the University.”
Please do not hesitate approach me with any questions you may have
regarding appropriate academic behaviour. You may find more information
regarding the University of Alberta’s policies with regard to plagiarism,
cheating, and other misconduct online at www.ualberta.ca/secretariat.
Policy about course guidelines can be found in 23.4(2) of the University
Schedule of Classes, Topics, and Readings
January 8: Introduction to the Course
watch and discuss Will Kymlicka lecture, “Animal Rights, Multiculturalism,
and the Left”
January 15: Introduction to Feminist Care Ethics
Annette Baier, “The Need for More than Justice”
Eva Kittay, “Welfare, Dependency, and a Public Ethic of Care”
Eva Kittay, “The Ethics of Care, Dependence, and Disability”
January 22: ‘Mainstream’ Environmental Philosophies vs. Ecofeminism
Tom Regan, “The Case for Animal Rights”
Paul Taylor, “An Ethics of Respect for Nature”
Arne Naess, “The Deep Ecology Movement: Some Philosophical Aspects”
Val Plumwood, “Nature, Self and Gender: Feminism, Environmental
Philosophy and the Critique of Rationalism”
January 29: Introductory Ecofeminist Readings
Rosemarie Tong, “Ecofeminism”
Karen Warren, “The Power and The Promise of Ecological Feminism”
Marti Kheel, “From Heroic to Holistic Ethics: The Ecofeminist Challenge”
February 5: An Ethics of Flourishing
Chris Cuomo, “Prelude: Situating Ecological Feminism,” and Chapter 1-3 from
Feminism and Ecological Communities
February 12: Women, Animals, Machines, and Hunters
Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto "
Chris Cuomo, “Interlude: Ethics without Purity,” from Feminism and Ecological
Marti Kheel, “License to Kill: An Ecofeminist Critique of Hunters’ Discourse”
***First Essay Assignments due at the beginning of class***
February 18-21: Reading Week—No classes
February 26: Ecofeminism and Animal Rights
Peter Singer, “A Utilitarian Defense of Animal Liberation”
Chris Cuomo, Chapter 4, “Selves, Systems, and Chaos,” from Feminism and
Ecological Communities
Josephine Donovan, “Animal Rights and Feminist Theory”
March 5: Ecofeminism and Disability (90-minute class)
Guest Discussion Leaders Kelly Oliver, Danielle Peers and Orlando
Kelly Oliver, “The Limits of the ‘Human’: An Alternative Ethics of Dependence
on Animals”
Nancy Tuana, “Viscous Porosity: Witnessing Katrina”
March 12: Eating (and Being Eaten by) Animals
Lori Gruen, “Empathy and Vegetarian Commitments”
Val Plumwood, “Integrating Ethical Frameworks for Animals, Humans, and
Nature: A Critical Feminist Eco-Socialist Analysis”
Val Plumwood, “Being Prey”
***Second Essay Assignments due at the beginning of class***
March 19: Ecofeminism and Essentialism
Chris Cuomo, Chapters 5-7 from Feminism and Ecological Communities
Optional Extra Reading: Val Plumwood, “Introduction” and “Feminism and
Ecofeminism,” from Feminism and the Mastery of Nature
***Note: Angela Davis will be giving a public lecture at 7 p.m. on
Thursday, March 20th in CCIS 1-430
Donna Haraway will be giving a public lecture on Monday, March 24 at
5:15-7:00 p.m. at the University of Alberta Faculty Club (11435
Saskatchewan Drive)***
March 26: Racism and Environmental Devastation
Andrea Smith, “Sexual Violence as a Tool of Genocide”
Andrea Smith, “Rape of the Land”
Greta Gaard, “Ecofeminism and Native American Cultures: Pushing the Limits
of Cultural Imperialism?”
April 2: Ecofeminism and Indigeneity
Douglas J. Buege, “Epistemic Responsibility and the Inuit of Canada’s Eastern
Arctic: An Ecofeminist Appraisal”
Winona LaDuke, “A Society Based on Conquest Cannot Be Sustained: Native
Peoples and the Environmental Crisis”
Film screening: Diet of Souls (2004) (50 minutes)
April 9: Primate Relations
Optional Reading: Donna Haraway, “Primatology is Politics by Other Means”
Film screening: Gorillas in the Mist (129 minutes)
***Take Home Exams due at the beginning of class***
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