Rowan University
Ellen Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Department of Philosophy & Religion
Rowan University
Glassboro, NJ 08028
Office: B
unce Hall
Office Phone:  856-256-4835

Dr. Ellen Miller
Home Page
Curriculum Vitae
Current Courses
Introduction to Philosophy   (Mon. & Weds.)
Introduction to Philosophy   (Tuesday)
Introduction to Ethics
Philosophy and Gender


   Previous Courses

Contemporary  Moral Problems
Philosophy and Society
Logic of Everyday Reasoning
Feminist Theory
Western        Humanities

Library of Congress
Philosophy Library
Rowan University

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Philosophy Dept.


Click Here for Assignments

Philosophy and Gender


Click Here for Web Links

Current Announcements:

Final Paper Requirments and Possible Topics

Updated Calendar for Remainder of Year: Check here for readings and assignment dates

VERY IMPORTANT: As we discussed in class: You have a choice (but you must make it ahead of time) of Option A--Grades weighted as originally announced or Option B--You don't write the creative writing assignment and the percentages change for new work. New percentages are as follows: Paper #2 (20%), Group Presentation(25%) and Final Paper (35%). If you do not hand in the creative writing assignment, I will weight your grades using Option B.  

Readings for Next week, March 29: Pornography: Langton and Dworkin articles (in packet that begins with Kaufman article). There is a packet in the Philosophy Office (Bunce, Third Floor) that provides another article on pornography and the readings for the last week of class (you can pick this up ahead of time or get it on the 29th). The other article provides a feminist defense of pornography

Great article with overview of Pornography Debate, Click here

Paper #2--Click Here: Due April 5. The handout on FGM in America we saw in class is available in the Philosophy Dept Office(Bunce, Third Floor)

Group Presentations   Click here

Paper #1 Assignment     Please feel free to contact me via email with questions about your papers and/or come to office hours on Monday

Criteria for Evaluating Papers--Read Carefully

Notes on Multiculturalism readings

  Read Part I Okin(p.7) Pollitt, Kymlicka, Honig, al-Hibri, An-Na'im, Parekh, Sassen, Bhabha, Nussbaum, and Part 3 Okin Reply(p115)

  Islam and veiling, Click here

Notes on Carol Gilligan  Click Here

Notes on Justice, Rawls--For Readings by Rawls, Sandel, Okin

    Philosophy of Art Lecture Notes, Click here

  Group Project Assignment:  Click for Details


Course Description and Objectives

How is inequality in its various forms produced, reproduced, and experienced by women and men of different classes, races and nationalities?

"Gender" as practice, performance and representation has differed for women and men according to race, class and other divisions throughout time. Philosophy and Gender is a Philosophy course which examines key issues related to the critical study gender or the "cultural invention and representation of masculinity and femininity." Lectures and discussions examine areas such as: parenting in today’s families, pornography, gender and art, the relationship between gender and rationality, the meaning of masculinity and femininity, gender and the body, women’s spirituality; the impact of gender upon research, knowledge, and other cultural institutions; as well as feminism's cultural politics. The course emphasizes issues in contemporary feminist thought. Feminist thought is varied and diverse; there are many different kinds of feminists. What feminists share in common is the belief that "women should not be disadvantaged by their sex, that they should be recognized as having human dignity equal to that of mean, and that they should have the opportunity to live as fulfilling and as freely chose lives as men can" (from Okin, Multiculturalism, p.10). We will focus on how these issues affect men and women throughout the world in order to gain a more accurate picture of how our local economic and social policies affect us and members of other cultures.


If you have a disability which may require assistance or accommodations, or you have questions related to any accommodations for testing, note takers, readers, etc..., please speak with me as soon as possible.


  1. Required Texts (Available at Rowan University Bookstore--Phone: 256-4660)

  2. 1. Is Multiculturalism Bad For Women? Susan Moller Okin with Respondents, Princeton Paperbacks, 1999.

    2. Various Articles provided in class

  3. Details, Details, Details

  4. Class Participation

    You all have valuable and important insights to make to the course—The more you contribute to the class discussions, the more the course will become your own which is one of my goals as an instructor. Participation is a central part of the course. Participation is judged on 1). Students’ grasp of the assigned reading material; 2). their ability to apply ideas developed in the readings to new situations, including their own experience; and 3). their ability to listen to, and respond relevantly to, the comments of other students in the course. Students are expected to complete reading assignments prior to class and to make careful note of all class announcements. Students are expected to bring questions to class concerning aspects of the readings that are difficult (Questions are crucial for philosophy!!—I welcome them always!). There will be frequent in class writing assignments and group work. You will need to be in class in order to benefit from these activities and receive credit for them. These class activities cannot be made up. Respect for your classmates’ arguments and thoughts is required in all classes.


    Specific instructions for papers will be given as the course progresses. Criteria for evaluation are indicated in this syllabus. Please read these carefully. There will be more discussion about suggestions for writing philosophy papers in class. The most important criteria used for evaluating papers will be the quality of argumentation, clarity, coherence, and creativity. Students are graded on their ability to present established views in their own words and articulate their assessment of those views. Those papers that display these attributes along with originality and creativity will receive the highest marks. I am never judging what your particular stance is on a given issue or whether your own views are the same as mine. I am concerned with how you articulate your own views.

  5. Academic Honesty Policy

  6. All forms of academic dishonesty, namely, cheating on exams, submitting plagiarized or fabricated work from another person’s book or web-site, submitting another person’s work without informing the instructor, or engaging in any kind of deception that would bear on the evaluation of submitted work will be dealt with in a strict manner in accordance with Rowan University policy (See Undergraduate catalog). If you find yourself thinking about submitting work that is not your own due to pressure, frustration, or perfectionism, please come talk to me. I am here to help you resolve these issues before they become a problem for your academic career at Rowan and beyond.

    Plagiarism is an extremely serious academic offense. Penalties can range from getting zero on the assignment through getting an F in the course to being expelled from the university. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to be as thorough as possible in documenting the sources you rely on for the claims you make in your papers. One common reason for plagiarism is confusion about when documentation is and is not required. I am always happy to talk to you about any and all issues related to plagiarism.

  7. Attendance, Lateness, and Class Policies

This course will emphasize dialogue, exchange, and debate with your peers and the professor. It is important that you attend class so that you can participate in the discussions. Discussion-focused classes can be a wonderful learning experience, but only if all participants are diligent in attending class meetings so that we can have a good discussion each day. You all have valuable and important insights to make to the course—The more you contribute to the class discussions, the more the course will become your own which is one of my goals as an instructor. If circumstances beyond your control do prevent you from attending a class meeting, please inform me in writing or by phone as soon as possible. There will be opportunity for students to practice writing through informal class writing activities. I am not grading your attendncae per se, but if you miss inclass activities, these cannot be made up. You need to be in class to beneift from thse group activites and infomral writing assisngments.

  • Arrive for class on-time

  • Turn off cell-phones, pagers, and beepers before class

  • In order to enhance student learning, please do not engage in side conversations during class

  • More than 6 unexcused absences will result in grade depreciation


V. Late Papers and Exams

    • Students are responsible for assignments, homework, group work missed due to illness. Please check with instructor or classmate concerning assignments given during missed classes. In class assingments cannot be made up.

    • Students are responsible for all scheduled and announced exams, assignments, and papers. If you have an emergency, please notify the instructor as soon as possible to arrange an extension. Extensions will be granted at the discretion of the instructor only for legitimate circumstances. I understand that life involves lots of unforeseen events, and I am more than willing to work with students who face such events. I also know that most studnrets are also working outside school. However, having too much work/too many classes, printers that don’t work the day before assignments are due are not legitimate reasons for missed/late work. I will provide ample time to complete assignemnts, so please adjust your schedules accordingly.

    • Unexcused late work will receive a grade depreciation, 5% (half letter grade) for each day late.

VI. Reading, Writing, and Communicating (Please read carefully)


Reading Skills

By Rowan standards, this course is reading and writing intensive. The course fulfills a writing intensive requirement for graduation. Every effort has been made to provide you with recent, accessible, and well-researched literature concerning Philosophy and Gender. Reading this literature (course books) should by our first priority. That is, it is better to read and reread the course readings than to seek out lots of secondary literature. The first assumption in this regard is that you are capable of reading and comprehending 30-40 pages per week. This requires that you possess a college level vocabulary and that you exercise good thinking skills. You will need to read and re-read material sometimes in order to understand the views/language being presented. I will do all I can to adjust assignments according to class needs. Although technical terms peculiar to moral philosophy and ethics will be explained by the instructor, students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the meanings of new terms and concepts encountered in the readings. In this connection, every student should own a comprehensive collegiate dictionary (i.e.: Merriam Webster’s or The American Heritage College Dictionary. In addition there is a Dictionary of Philosophy included in our assigned course texts. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy has concise and helpful summaries of major philosophical theories and figures. Weblinks will be provided throughout the course to beneficial online resources. Please keep in mind that the instructor is always available to assist you in clarifying any term, concept, idea or argument that is initially confusing.


Writing Skills

In this course, will not only learn about Philosophy and Gender, we will also learn about the process of writing. Writing is difficult! In this class, we will practice writing, discuss elements of good writing, receive feedback about our writing in order to better express our opinions, beliefs, arguments, and ideas. Sometimes we will engage in writing that will not be evaluated in order to practice and evaluate our own work. Please feel free to ask questions about writing any time we are together in class.


In this course, we will discuss difficult and sometimes personal issues. This involves a willingness to share your own views. I will do the same in class, though part of my job is to present all sides of an issue and let students decide for themselves what their views are. Philosophy is an amazing discipline where you can learn how to appreciate opposing viewpoints and learn to better articulate your own views. This requires courage though. I am never grading you on whether I agree with your position or not. I have given poor grades to papers I completely agree with and great grades to papers that express views I totally disagree with. This is important to keep in mind. Our classes will be much better if we work towards creating an open environment where students feel able to express their views. I will do my best as an instructor to create this environment, but I’ve learned that I can’t do all of this! This is YOUR CLASS—Let’s make it great!!

V. Criteria for Evaluating Philosophy Essays

Appropriateness. Does your essay answer the assigned question? Does your essay address the main topic stated in your thesis?


Clarity of exposition and argument. How clearly have you explained the arguments and concepts from the course material that are relevant to the assignment? How clearly have you expressed your critical evaluation of the arguments contained in the readings? Have you clearly stated the reasons behind your evaluations?


Critical understanding of the material. Have you demonstrated a detailed, thorough understanding of the relevant course readings? Is there any important part of an argument that you have not considered? Do your accounts of the arguments make sense in light of what you know about the larger context in which they are set?


Fairness to the authors' arguments. Are your interpretations of the authors’ arguments charitable? Have you done your best to interpret them as good, strong arguments? If you think a certain argument is badly flawed, can you identify any beliefs that the author may have held which would make the argument stronger than you first thought? If you have expressed doubts about whether a certain premise of the author’s argument is true, have you supplied an argument to show that that premise is probably or certainly false?


Coherence of your explanations and arguments. Does your essay make sense as a whole? Is it well-organized? At each stage of the essay, is it easy to tell what you are saying and how that fits in with what you have already said? Are there any conflicts between things you say at different points in the essay? Do your arguments flow logically from your premises to your conclusions?


Ability to anticipate objections to your point of view. Have you considered how the authors of the articles you discuss (or someone else who read your essay and disagreed with you) might respond to your arguments? Are your arguments open to any obvious objections? Have you committed any glaring errors of reasoning? Are any of the assumptions you make obviously false?

Creativity.Have you introduced arguments, examples not discussed in the readings or class? Have you presented your ideas in a unique way, an innovative way? Have you contributed your own viewpoints in a way that is innovative, fresh, exciting?

Documentation of works cited. Have you noted where you refer to the work of writers other than yourself? Have you included page numbers in parentheses in the text of your essay to mark where you refer to works on the course syllabus? Have you included full endnotes or footnotes to mark where you refer to works other than those on the course syllabus? Have you included a bibliography listing all the bibliographical information about books you refer to that are not on the course syllabus.


Copyright 2002 Dr. Ellen Miller. All rights reserved. Document last modified