Theories of Equality and Rights

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
IUS/20 SPS/01
Learning objectives
The course has two learning objectives.
The first objective is to introduce students to the philosophical analysis of the different meanings and functions that references to equality have in legal and political discourses, of the links between equality, justice, freedom and fundamental rights, and of the relation between the promotion of these values and the recognition of differences.
The second objective is to provide students with knowledge and understanding of how ideas of equality, justice and freedom have been and are today declined within the theoretical reflection and political action and claims of feminism and of other emancipatory social movements and of how they have been and could be translated into legal norms.
The course is part of the multidisciplinary programme on Rights, labour and equal opportunities (Diritti, lavoro e pari opportunità - DiLPO).
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course students should have acquired:
- knowledge and understanding of the philosophical analysis of the idea of equality in its different declinations (of status, rights, treatment, opportunity, results), of the relation between equality and differences of sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, opinion, capabilities, and of the problems concerning the promotions of equality in society;
- knowledge and understanding of the different phases of the development of feminist thought, of the main steps in the process that has resulted in the inclusion of women among rights-holders, of how that process has led to a revision of the very ideas of fundamental rights and equality, and of the problematic relation between equality and citizenship;
- capability to apply acquired knowledge to the analysis and discussion of public controversies about legislation and social policies aimed at promoting equality and implementing fundamental rights, paying special attention to the rights of women and of sexual and cultural minorities.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
Specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for the academic year 2021/2022 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
The course will be divided in two parts.

The first teaching unit will focus, in the first part, on a historical-political analysis of femi-nism, understood both as a theoretical concept and as a political movement. Based on criti-cism of social, economic and legal discrimination and the hierarchical subordination of women, and closely linked to the history of women's social and political movements, femi-nism will be examined, as theory and as a movement, by the late 19th century to the pre-sent day. The analysis of the evolution of the movement (the so-called "waves" of femi-nism) and feminist theories demonstrates, in the first instance, the impossibility of identi-fying a singular feminism, and the need to consider feminism as a model of plural theoreti-cal-political reflection (there's no one single feminism, there are many feminisms). From the point of view of politics and representation, the equal ownership of rights obtained in the western universe does not seem to have profoundly changed the relationship between man and woman in the sense of equality. For that reason, in the second part of the teaching unity, philosophical-political analysis will consider the condition of women as one of the main proxies for the quality of a political regime. The democratic model, and its deficien-cies, will be considered as a workroom for critical analysis of the controversial idea of equality and examined from the critical reading of a selection of texts by authors and au-thors particularly representative of political theory that works on equality and inequality.

The second teaching unit will move from an introduction to the concept of legal equality and its different declinations, paying special attention to the relation between equality and differences and between equality and personal freedoms.

By referring back to the different phases, waves and perspectives of feminism, the unit will then analyze their implications as regards the role of law in promoting gender equality and in overcoming discrimination and violence against women. The relations between the af-firmation of women's rights and cultural and religious pluralism will be the object of a spe-cific consideration. Finally, the relation between law, sexual orientation and gender identity will be addressed, focusing in particular on the transformations of the legal treatment of sexual and gender minorities and on the history of the LGBT movement and the different perspectives on the role of law that have emerged from that movement.

The programme for non-attending students has contents similar to the programme for at-tending students, with a stronger focus on theories of equality.
Prerequisites for admission
Lectures will be given in Italian and attending students will be required to read texts and participate to class discussion in that language.
Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to take part to these activities could take the exam in English as non-attending students. A bibliography in English will be provided on request.
No other preliminary knowledge is required.
Teaching methods
The teaching activities will include lectures and class discussion. The standard language will be Italian. Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend classes with profit, could take the exam in English as non-attending students.
For the final exam, non-attending students who want to take the exam in English should prepare the texts listed in a bibliography that will be provided on request.
Teaching Resources
A bibliography in English will be provided on request. In order to get it, email the teachers.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend classes with profit, could take the exam in English as non-attending students.
The final exam will consist in a mandatory written test and in an optional oral test. The written test will be structured in six open-ended questions (three for each unit) on the texts that will be assigned. Students will have two hours to complete the written test. The oral test, that the students can choose either to take or not after receiving the result of the written test, will start from a discussion of the written test and could change its result of a maximum of three marks, for better or for worse. For students who choose not to take the oral test, the final mark for the exam will be the mark of the written test.
Being Italian the standard language for the course, students who want to take the exam in English should inform the teachers by email a few days before the date of the exam.
IUS/20 - PHILOSOPHY OF LAW - University credits: 3
SPS/01 - POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Magni Beatrice
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