Challenging Political Discourses

Course code POLI3120
Available in 2017
2016 Course Timetables


Feminism is a rich and multiple tradition of theory and practice which highlights that politics and power are to be found in our communities, our homes, our bedrooms, our bodies, our emotions, our thinking and our ecologies (both human and non-human). Feminisms thus open up the possibilities of reimagining the practices of democracy, development and our social relationships but also our very construction of identity, sexuality, gender and self. This course opens a window onto this rich and multiple tradition by examining the development of feminist approaches, understandings and practices of politics. It will do this through engaging with multiple feminist traditions and theories in relation to concrete political questions and concerns.

The introduction focuses on feminist ways of knowing and learning. This seeks to foster understandings of the structure of the course with its multiple feminisms content and use of multiple methods of learning. Part One of the course explores three traditions of Western feminism that were dominant until the 1970s: liberal, black and Marxist feminism. Part two moves on to challenges to these dominant frameworks of western feminism from within the West including post-structuralism, queer and anarchist feminism. The Third part of the course explores challenges to the Western canon of feminism from its non-western others, including post-colonial, chicana, indigenous and eco-feminism. For each feminist tradition we will explore their understanding of key concepts such as 'patriarchy', 'sex', 'gender' 'motherhood' and the 'feminine' and feminist politics and knowledge. This will help us reflect on how these shape questions of politics, democracy, development, human nature and nature.



  • Semester 1 - 2017

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate their acquisition of core analytical and critical skills in the study of politics.

2. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of multiple feminist perspectives, theories and practices.

3. Analyse contemporary social, economic and political relations using these frameworks and theories.

4. Demonstrate a broad understanding of the concept of power and subjectivity and the way these infuse gender relations and gendered practices of power within society.

5. Demonstrate development of reflexive skills to foster an engagement with research and scholarship that is attentive to difference, diversity and power.

6. Demonstrate understanding of the relationships between theory and practice, scholarship and community.


Course content will include but will not be limited to the following topics:

  1. Origins of feminist discourse
  2. Discussion of various modern feminist thinkers
  3. Analysis of key concepts and terms such as gender, patriarchy, sexual identity, power, subjection, and citizenship.


This course has similarities to POLI2120. If you have successfully completed POLI2120 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed Knowledge

10 units in Politics at 1000 level or 30 units of non politics courses at 1000 level.

Assessment Items

Project: Essays / Written Assignments

Essay: Essays / Written Assignments

Journal: Journal

Contact Hours


Integrated Learning Session

Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Students are expected to complete 4 hours of guided learning via online preparation, lectures, interactive workshops, tutorials, discussion groups or self-directed learning and an additional 6 hours of independent study per week.