Gender and Political Theory

Periodo di svolgimento
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Ore del corso
Ore dei docenti responsabili
Ore di didattica integrativa

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Prova orale


Anna Loretoni


Compulsory for the 1st year students of the PhD Programme in "Transnational Governance"

Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Optional for the 4th and 5th year students of the MA Programme in "Political and Social Sciences"


The course aims at developing a critical understanding and an interdisciplinary overview of topical issues concerning the analytical category of gender.

The first part of the course will be devoted, through the exploration of the main conceptual aspects connected to gender in contemporary societies, to show some methodological assumptions needed to look at discrimination, oppression, domination, inequality (deconstructive strategy; intersectionality). Starting from the reading of some classical texts which introduced a feminist perspective into the liberal philosophical debate (Olympe de Gouges, Mary Wollstonecraft, Simone de Beauvoir, Carole Pateman), the course will also focus on some contributions from Southern and Black Feminism (G.C. Spivak and Ch.T. Mohanty, and then bell hooks and Audre Lorde).

In the second part, the category of gender will be adopted as a lens to investigate the Human Rights language and the related concept of capabilities, questioning the mainstream version of liberal individualism and proposing to enrich the debate through the relevance of care, dependency and disability. The case of gender-based violence and related dynamics, such as victim blaming, will be further discussed providing Ph.D. students with conceptual tools developed in the framework of the debate on epistemic injustice and epistemic virtues and vices (M. Fricker, J. Medina) and in Feminist Science and Technology Studies (STS), for what concerns the new forms of domestic violence possibly aided by technology. The human-machine relation and the rethinking of human subjectivity with respect to digital and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies will also be analysed from the perspective of feminist posthuman approaches.

The course will consist of 7 classes (lecture and seminarial debate). The 7th class will be a session of assessment.

Sessions 3, 5, 6 will be co-hosted by Dr. Federica Merenda, Post-doctoral Fellow in Political Philosophy at Sant’Anna School for Advanced Studies. Email:

Assessment: In the last class each PhD student will be required to discuss a topic related to the themes addressed during the course and agreed upon with Professor Loretoni.

Session N. 1, Deconstructive strategy and Intersectionality
(03/05/2023, 15-18)
Required readings
J. Scott, ‘Gender. A Useful Category for Historical Analysis’, The American Historical Review, XCI, 1986, 5.
A. Loretoni, Ampliare lo sguardo. Genere e teoria politica (Roma: Donzelli Editore, 2014).
K. Crenshaw, ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’, University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1989, 1.

Session N. 2, Feminisms beyond the West. Universalism versus Relativism
(04/05/2023, 15-18)
Required readings
G.C. Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’, in Colonial Discourse and Postcolonial Theory, edited by P. Williams and L. Chrisman (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).
C.T. Mohanty, ‘Under Western Eyes. Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses’, Feminist Review¸ 30, 1988: 61-88.
A. Loretoni, A. Belli, ‘Gender, Identity and Belonging: New Citizenships beyond Orientalism’, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 1 (1), 2017:

Session N. 3, Marginality as a site of resistance: bell hooks and Audre Lorde
(10/05/2023, 15-18)
Required readings
Excerpts from:
bell hooks, “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center”, South End Press, 1984.
bell hooks, “Feminism is for everybody: passionate politics”, Cambridge, Massachusetts, South End Press, 2000.
Audre Lorde, “Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches”, The Crossing Press Feminist Series, Trumansburg, New York, The Crossing Press, 1984

Session N. 4, Vulnerability and Capabilities: Questioning Individualism and Autonomy
(11/05/2023, 15-18)
Required readings
J. Butler, Precarious Life. The powers of Mourning and Violence (London: Verso, 2004), excerpts (tbc).
M. Nussbaum, Women and Human Development. The Capabilities Approach (Cambridge – New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 1-110 (Ch. 1 and 2).

Session N. 5, Epistemic injustice, gender-based violence and victim-blaming
(17/05/2023, 15-18)
Required readings
Excerpts from:
Miranda Fricker, “Epistemic Injustice. Power and the Ethics of Knowing”, Oxford University Press, 2007.
José Medina, “The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and the Social Imagination”, Oxford University Press, 2013.

Session N.6, Posthumanism and feminist approaches to the governance of technology
(18/05/2023, 15-18)
Required readings
Excerpts from:
Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto. Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century”, in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991), 149-181.
Rosi Braidotti, “Posthuman Feminism”, Wiley, 2022.
Julia Slupska, “Safe at Home: Towards a Feminist Critique of Cybersecurity,” St Antony’s International Review 15. no. 1 (2019): 83-100.

Session N.7, Final Assessment
Discussion on the topics of the course
(date tbc)

Obiettivi formativi

The course aims at developing a critical understanding and an interdisciplinary overview of topical issues concerning the analytical category of gender.