Universität Wien

180183 VO Introduction to the Feminist Ethics of Alterity (2021W)

Lecture with reading

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: German

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The lecture will be held in hybrid form: weekly for up to 25 participants in the lecture hall and streamed online for participants via Zoom life. Furthermore, a video/audio recording of each lecture session will be made available for viewing/listening via Moodle. Students are asked to inform the lecturer by email by 5.10. who is actually interested in listening to the lecture in the lecture hall during the semester. This group will then be assigned to the individual dates. The remaining participants will take part in the lecture via the life stream and/or the recorded video and audio files. A corresponding email will be sent to all participants on 29.09.2021.

Tuesday 12.10. 18:30 - 20:00 Hybride Lehre
Hörsaal 31 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Tuesday 19.10. 18:30 - 20:00 Hybride Lehre
Hörsaal 31 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Tuesday 09.11. 18:30 - 20:00 Hybride Lehre
Hörsaal 31 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Tuesday 16.11. 18:30 - 20:00 Hybride Lehre
Hörsaal 31 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Tuesday 23.11. 18:30 - 20:00 Hybride Lehre
Hörsaal 31 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Tuesday 30.11. 18:30 - 20:00 Hybride Lehre
Hörsaal 31 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 9
Tuesday 07.12. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Tuesday 14.12. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Tuesday 11.01. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Tuesday 18.01. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital
Tuesday 25.01. 18:30 - 20:00 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The concept of alterity (lat. alter: the one, the other of the two) is an important concept in the history of philosophy and within post-structuralist theories (e.g. psychoanalysis, deconstruction or postco-lonial studies) it refers to the dichotomy of alterity and identity as mutually dependent moments. Alter is not an arbitrary other, alter is the second of two similar and mutually assigned identities in contrast to alius or xenos (i.e. the stranger).
Identities are created through demarcation and exclusion. The "constitutive outside" (Derrida, Butler) is not only a condition of the possibility of identity, but at the same time always part of it. If otherness is to be thought, then the concept does not mean to oppose the self-identical with its complementary opposite, but to read the supposedly self-identical in its dependence on and contamination by its supposed other.
This course first introduces central texts of Western thinking on alterity (Levinas, Lacan, Derrida, Said) and discusses postcolonial-feminist references in a second step. Relevant texts by Simone de Beauvoir, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, Hélène Cixous, Gayatri Spivak, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Audre Lorde, Sarah Ahmed and others form the basis for this. On the one hand, the aim is to make the complexity and diversity of feminist discourses on alterity present and to better understand alterity in the respective philosophical and ethical context. In addition, the course aims to provide an outlook on the way in which basic concepts of alterity determine current debates on global feminism.

Assessment and permitted materials

The exam takes place as a written exam (take-home exam) on the contents of the lecture online in Moodle. The exam consists of 4 questions: three knowledge questions and one more detailed question to be answered in essay form. You will have 4 full days each to complete the Take Home Exam.
For each unit, you will be provided with the Power Point slides as well as the recording of the respective lecture unit and further reading material. All of these materials may be used as resources on the Take Home Exam. The sources must be cited in the exam (correct citation).

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Positively graded written examination indicating that students have grasped the fundamentals of the lecture material.
Grading key: For each correctly answered knowledge question you will receive 2 points. For the more detailed question to be answered 1 to 7 points are awarded. Maximum number of points: 13 (9+4). Insufficient: 0-5 points. Sufficient: 6-8 points. Satisfactory: 9-10 points. Good: 11-12 points. Very good: 13 points.
There are a total of four questions in the examination, one of which must be answered in essay form. In principle, it is possible for students to pass the exam without answering the last comprehensive essay question.

Examination topics

Written examination on the contents of the lecture. A total of four examination dates are offered. For each exam date, pre-selected units & texts from the lecture program will be given for exam preparation.
For each unit, the Power Point slides as well as the streaming recording and further reading will be provided.

Reading list

• Levinas, Emmanuel (1986): Ethik und Unendliches. Gespräche mit Philippe Nemo. Übersetzt von Dorothea Schmidt, Graz/Wien.
• Levinas, Emmanuel (1987): Totalität und Unendlichkeit. Versuch über die Exteriorität. Übersetzt von Wolf-gang N. Krewani, Freiburg i. Breisgau/München
• Levinas, Emmanuel (1989): Die Zeit und der Andere. Übersetzt und mit einem Nachwort versehen von Lud-wig Wenzler. Hamburg.
• Levinas, Emmanuel (2007): Die Spur des Anderen, in: ders.: Die Spur des Anderen. Untersuchungen zur Phänomenologie und Sozialphilosophie. Freiburg/München, 209-236.
• Jacques Lacan: Écrits, Paris 1966, dt.: Schriften I-III, Berlin/Weinheim: Quadriga 1986–1991
• Jacques Lacan: Seminar II. Das Ich in der Theorie Freuds und in der Technik der Psychoanalyse (1954–1955), Berlin/Weinheim: Quadriga 1978
• Jacques Lacan: Seminar III. Die Psychosen (1955–1956), Berlin/Weinheim: Quadriga 1997
• Jacques Lacan: Seminar XI. Die vier Grundbegriffe der Psychoanalyse (1964), Berlin/Weinheim: Quadriga 1996
• Derrida, Jacques. 1991. Gesetzeskraft. Der ‚mystische‘ Grund der Autorität. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
• Derrida, Jacques. 1994. Den Tod geben. In: Gewalt und Gerechtigkeit. Derrida – Benjamin, hg. von Anselm Haverkamp. 331–445. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
• Derrida, Jacques. 2000. Politik der Freundschaft. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
• Derrida, Jacques. 2003. Einsprachigkeit. München: Fink.
• Said, Edward W. (1978): Orientalism. New York: Pantheon Books.
• Simone de Beauvoir: Das andere Geschlecht. Sitte und Sexus der Frau. Hamburg: Rowohl Taschenbuch Ver-lag 2000.
Julia Kristeva: Fremde sind wir uns selbst, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp 1990.
• Irigaray, Luce: Das Geschlecht das nicht eins ist. In: ebd. Berlin: Merve 1979, S. 22-32.
• Irigaray, Luce: Die sexuelle Differenz. In: dies.: Die Ethik der sexuellen Differenz, Frankfurt am Main: Suhr-kamp 1991, S. 11-28.
• Cixous, Hélène: Das Lachen der Medusa, in: Esther Hutfless, Gertrude Postl, Elisabeth Schäfer: Hélène Cixous. Das Lachen der Medusa zusammen mit aktuellen Beiträgen, Wien: Passagen 2013, S. 39-61.
• Minh-ha, Trinh T.: Difference: „A Special Third World Women Issue“, in: Feminist Review, No. 25. (Spring, 1987), S. 5-22.
• Lorde, Audre: Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference, in: Sister Outsider. Essays and Speeches, New York: Crossing Press 1984, S. 114-123.
• Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty: Imperialism and Sexual Difference, Oxford Literary Review, Vol. 8, No.1 (1986), S. 225-244.
Ahmed, Sara: Home and away. Narratives of migration and estrangement, in: International Journal of Cultural Studies 1999, 2, S. 329-347.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:18