Woman is a Rational Animal reverses the invisiblization of women in the history of philosophy and social theory. Women have had a consistent and powerful influence on the development of philosophical ideas throughout history. However, these thinkers often have been attributed a secondary role in the ideas they helped develop, ignored or erased from volumes of intellectual history, and even scorned and ridiculed by their contemporaries on the basis of their gender. Woman is a Rational Animal attempts to recover for today the female voices, faces, and ideas that lay dormant in history.
Many scholars write syllabi that are filled almost exclusively with white men. Today, this is not usually due to any contempt for women’s intellectual work, but simply because these are the kinds of syllabi that structured their own education. The overwhelmingly white, male canon that an academic community learns and circulates gets passed on, unwittingly, from teacher to student due to a failure to include women in classroom teaching. Woman is a Rational Animal believes that a major site for feminist progress in philosophy and social theory is therefore in the classroom, and specifically in the syllabus.
To aid in this project, we provide critical expositions, written by teachers and students at the University of Chicago, of the philosophical thought and social theory of women in history. These expositions serve two functions. Firstly, by presenting essays on the work of women, we hope to provide inspiration and examples of women scholars who can be included in syllabi on various topics in philosophy and social theory. Secondly, in being written by students as part of their classroom learning, Woman is a Rational Animal structures students’ education around the intellectual contributions of women, constituting an active manifestation of the change it seeks to encourage.
If you would like to write an essay for us, or give your students the option to write for us as part of their classroom education, we would be delighted to hear from you. You can contact us here.