Adams, Carol, and . The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory

2000, New York City: Continuum.

Back Matter: The Sexual Politics of Meat argues that what, or more precisely who, we eat is determined by the patriarchal politics of our culture, and that the meanings attached to meat eating are often clustered around virility. We live in a world in which men still have considerable power over women, both in public and in private. Carol Adams argues that gender politics is inextricably related to how we view animals, especially animals who are consumed. Further, she argues that vegetarianism and fighting for animal rights fit perfectly alongside working to improve the lives of disenfranchised and suffering people, under the wide umbrella of compassionate activism.

Comment: This is a clear and easily accessible introductory text on the relationship of feminism to vegetarianism. The text is compelling and interesting, making a chapter or two excellent for an introductory course that concerns feminism, gender politics, other animals, or vegetarianism. The text in its entirety would be excellent in an upper division course concerning ecofeminism.

Appiah, Kwame Anthony, and . Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (Issues of Our Time)

2010, WW Norton & Company.

Back matter: “A welcome attempt to resurrect an older tradition of moral and political reflection and to show its relevance to our current condition.” — John Gray “Cosmopolitanism is… of wide interest-invitingly written and enlivened by personal history… Appiah is wonderfully perceptive and levelheaded about this tangle of issues.” — Thomas Nagel “Elegantly provocative.” — Edward Rothstein “[Appiah’s] belief in having conversations across boundaries, and in recognizing our obligations to other human beings, offers a welcome prescription for a world still plagued by fanaticism and intolerance.” — Kofi A. Annan, former United Nations secretary-general “[Appiah’s] exhilarating exposition of his philosophy knocks one right off complacent balance… All is conveyed with flashes of iconoclastic humor.” — Nadine Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature “An attempt to redefine our moral obligations to others based on a very humane and realistic outlook and love of art… I felt like a better person after I read it, and I recommend the same experience to others.” — Orham Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Comment: The introduction provides a particularly good entry text to ethics, race and cosmopolitanism.

Bordo, Susan, and . Anorexia Nervosa: Psychopathology as the Crystallization of Culture

1993, In her Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Diversifying Syllabi: Bordo claims that the recent increase in women with Anorexia is a symptom of the “central ills” of our culture. Bordo discusses three sources of this “cultural illness” which leads to anorexia: the dualist axis, the control axis, and the gender/power axis. She spends the bulk of the paper discussing each “axis” or problematic component of society which is reflected back to us in the increasing diagnosis of anorexia. These “psychopathogolgies” are expressions of the culture, she claims.

Comment: This text is most readily applicable in teaching feminist theory and social philosophy. However, it is also very useful in at least three other contexts: (1) as a critical approach to mind-body dualism, especially when teaching on Descartes or Plato's Phaedo; (2) in teaching on the ethics of mental illness and the anti-psychiatry movement, as an example of socially constructed disorders; and (3) more broadly in teaching on personal and collective moral responsibility.

Brake, Elizabeth, and . Rawls and Feminism: What Should Feminists Make of Liberal Neutrality?

2004, Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (3):293-309.

Abstract: I argue that Rawls’s liberalism is compatible with feminist goals. I focus primarily on the issue of liberal neutrality, a topic suggested by the work of Catharine MacKinnon. I discuss two kinds of neutrality: neutrality at the level of justifying liberalism itself, and state neutrality in political decision-making. Both kinds are contentious within liberal theory. Rawls’s argument for justice as fairness has been criticized for non-neutrality at the justificatory level, a problem noted by Rawls himself in Political Liberalism. I will defend a qualified account of neutrality at the justificatory level, taking an epistemic approach to argue for the exclusion of certain doctrines from the justificatory process. I then argue that the justification process I describe offers a justificatory stance supportive of the feminist rejection of state-sponsored gender hierarchy. Further, I argue that liberal neutrality at the level of political decision-making will have surprising implications for gender equality. Once the extent of the state’s involvement in the apparently private spheres of family and civil society is recognized, and the disproportionate influence of a sexist conception of the good on those structures—and concomitant promotion of that ideal—is seen, state neutrality implies substantive change. While—as Susan Moller Okin avowed—Rawls himself may have remained ambiguous on how to address gender inequality, his theory implies that the state must seek to create substantive, not merely formal, equality. I suggest that those substantive changes will not conflict with liberal neutrality but instead be required by it.

Comment: A sympathetic treatment of Rawls's Political Liberalism from a feminist perspective. It introduces the alleged clash between liberalism and feminism in a clear way and goes on to argue that (political) liberalism's commitment to substantive rather than merely formal equality makes it compatible with core feminist concerns.

Brand, Peg Zeglin, and . Glaring Omissions in Traditional Theories of Art

2000, in Theories of Art Today, ed. by Noel Carroll (London: The University of Wisconsin Press)

Abstract: I investigate the role of feminist theorizing in relation to traditionally-based aesthetics. Feminist artworks have arisen within the context of a patriarchal Artworld dominated for thousands of years by male artists, critics, theorists, and philosophers. I look at the history of that context as it impacts philosophical theorizing by pinpointing the narrow range of the paradigms used in defining “art.” I test the plausibility of Danto’s After the End of Art vision of a post-historical, pluralistic future in which “anything goes,” a future that unfortunately rests upon the same outdated foundation as the concept “art.”.

Comment: This text offers an overview of the feminist critique of the classificatory project. It assumes some basic knowledge and is best used after the main modern theories of art have been introduced. The pointed critique and clearly stated suggestions for constructing unbiased theories, make it excellent at inspiring a critical discussion on the subject of universalism and discrimination in both art practice and theory. Perhaps more importantly, the argument offered and the long lists of female artists and art theorists which support it, can have an empowering and validating role to many female students.

Callahan, Joan, and . Same-Sex Marriage: Why It Matters – At Least for Now

2009, Hypatia 21 (1): 70-80.

Abstract: This paper addresses the progressive, feminist critique of same-sex marriage as articulated by Claudia Card. Although agreeing with Card that the institution of marriageas we know it is profoundly morally flawed in its origins and effects, Callahan disagrees with Card’s suggestion that queer activists in the United States should not be working for the inclusion of same-sex couples in the institution.

Comment: This article is an excellent rejoinder to Card's "Gay Divorce: Thoughts on the Legal Regulation of Marriage." (She directly addresses the Card text, so it should not be read without first reading the Card.) It would be a good addition to a course that covers same-sex marriage, social justice, or contemporary ethical problems.

Card, Claudia, and . Gay Divorce: Thoughts on the Legal Regulation of Marriage

2007, Hypatia, 22 (1): 24-38.

Abstract: Although the exclusion of LGBTs from the rites and rights of marriage is arbitrary and unjust, the legal institution of marriage is itself so riddled with injustice that it would be better to create alternative forms of durable intimate partnership that do not invoke the power of the state. Card’s essay develops a case for this position, taking up an injustice sufficiently serious to constitute an evil: the sheltering of domestic violence.

Comment: This text is very accessible and poses a unique problem for the legal regulation of romantic relationships. This text would fit well in a class that discusses sexual relations, violence, marriage, love, or justice (as Card directly discusses Rawls' Theory of Justice). Further, it would make a nice addition to a course that discusses justice for LGBT persons, as Card argues that there are more pressing legal and political issues that LGBT communities ought to agitate in favor of.

Cudd, Ann E., and . Enforced Pregnancy, Rape, and the Image of Woman

1990, Philosophical Studies, 60 (1-2): 47-59.

Summary: In this essay, Cudd argues that enforced pregnancy constitutes a group harm against women, harming even women who are not forced to carry a fetus to term against their will. In this essay, she develops a theoy of group harm, arguing that forced pregnancy constitutes a similar sort of group harm as rape. Ultimately, she claims that both rape and enforced pregnancy constitute a group harm via degredation of a class (women) and an individual harm via the individual negative effects caused by enforced pregnancy.

Comment: This text serves as a good introduction to the idea of a group harm. Further, it would fit well in a class that covers the ethics of sex, sexual violence, pregnancy, or abortion. If you plan to utilize this reading in the context of a biomedical ethics course covering abortion, it would be helpful to have first covered other classical readings on the topic (Marquis and Thomson, at least).

Darby, Derrick, and . Reparations and Racial Inequality

2010, Philosophy Compass 5 (1): 55-66.

Abstract: A recent development in philosophical scholarship on reparations for black chattel slavery and Jim Crow segregation is reliance upon social science in normative arguments for reparations. Although there are certainly positive things to be said in favor of an empirically informed normative argument for black reparations, given the depth of empirical disagreement about the causes of persistent racial inequalities, and the ethos of ‘post-racial’ America, the strongest normative argument for reparations may be one that goes through irrespective of how we ultimately explain the causes of racial inequalities. By illuminating the interplay between normative political philosophy and social scientific explanations of racial inequality in the prevailing corrective justice argument for black reparations, I shall explain why an alternative normative argument, which is not tethered to a particular empirical explanation of racial inequality, may be more appealing.

Comment: This text provides a clear overview and introduction to debates about reparations for decendents of African American slaves. It also surveys quite a bit of empirical data surrounding racial inequalities. It would fit well in a course that considered questions of social justice, racial inequality, or reparations.

Feigenbaum, Erika Faith, and . Heterosexual Privilege: The Political and the Personal

2007, Hypatia 22 (1): 1-9.

Abstract: In this essay, Feigenbaum examines heterosexism as it functions politically and interpersonally in her own experience. She loosely traces her analysis along the current political climate of the bans on same-sex marriages, using this discussion to introduce and illustrate how heterosexual dominance functions. The author aims throughout to clarify what heterosexism looks like “in action,” and she moves toward providing steps to recognize, name, interrupt, and counter heterosexist privilege.

Comment: This article is a very accessible introduction to the concept of privilege via the debate over the legality of same-sex marriage. It would make a good addition to a course that covers questions about domination, LGBT rights, or same-sex marriage.