Fall 2020 - PHIL 326 D100

Topics in Law and Philosophy (3)

Feminist Philosophy of Law

Class Number: 8383

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    One of PHIL 120W (or equivalent), 121, 220, 221, ENV 320W, or with permission of instructor.



Explores in detail classic problems in the law using the methods and resources of philosophy. Topics may include: problems in professional ethics facing lawyers; philosophical issues in international law and human rights; constitutional interpretation and the philosophy of language; the assessment of evidence and formal epistemology; the intellectual origins of the theory of natural law and natural rights; or others. Students may repeat this course for further credit under a different topic.


Topics in Law and Philosophy: Feminist Philosophy of Law

Feminist legal theory is both a theoretical inquiry and a political project. Feminist legal thinkers argue that while all persons are entitled to equal treatment under the law, patriarchal norms and power structures embedded into the legal system and into legal reasoning frameworks have led to women being denied equal treatment. Feminist legal thinkers aim not only to identify these structures, but also to change them in the interests of equality. In this course, we will consider general themes and debates within feminist legal theory, including how the law sees itself, how the law plays a role in upholding systemic inequality, the social construction of gender, intersectionality, rights, and domestic violence, among other topics. No previous knowledge of feminist theory is necessary. This course is intended for philosophy majors and minors, students considering law school, and anyone critical of the status quo.


PHIL 326 may be applied towards the Certificate in Ethics: Theory and Application (see our website for more details). It is also one of the requried courses for the concentration in Law and Philosophy. This course can be repeated for credit under a different topic.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will gain an understanding of:

  • Basic concepts and themes in feminist legal theory
  • How the legal system sees itself
  • Feminist theory, critical race theory, and queer theory
  • Current debates within feminist legal theory


  • Three 5-page papers (worth 30% each) 90%
  • Participation: this will be measured in terms of class attendance (5%) and quality of contributions to class discussions (5%) 10%


Course delivery: remote, synchronous. Students are expected to be online for lecture and discussion, each Monday, 9:30am-12:20pm. There is no final exam in this course.


Written work for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of your submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e. false name and temporary e-mail address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.



Students are required to have a computer or a tablet with a camera and a microphone, and reliable internet access in order to attend class. Headsets are advisable but not necessary. If students do not have reliable access, they should inform their instructor. There is one computer lab on campus for limited access. It is recommended that students use broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) internet connection, with bandwidth of at least 1.5Mbps (upload and download).

Online platform: we will use Zoom.


There is no required textbook. All readings will be available online or posted on Canvas.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at philmgr@sfu.ca   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).