Including Early Modern Women Writers in Survey Courses: A Call to Action

Jessica Gordon-Roth, Nancy Kendrick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


There are many reasons to include texts written by women in early modern philosophy courses. The most obvious one is accuracy: women helped to shape the philosophical landscape of the time. Thus, to craft a syllabus that wholly excludes women is to give students an inaccurate picture of the early modern period. Since it seems safe to assume that we all aim for accuracy, this should be reason enough to include women writers in our courses. This article nonetheless offers an additional reason: when students are exposed to philosophical texts written by women, they learn that women have been, are, and can be philosophers. Given how underrepresented women are in philosophy, this finding is significant. If we aim to change the face of philosophy - so that it includes more women - we must include texts written by women in our syllabi. The article considers various obstacles faced by those who work to respond to this call to action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-379
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Mary Astell
  • early modern survey courses
  • friendship
  • implicit bias
  • inclusive canon
  • male bias
  • pedagogy
  • stereotype threat
  • women in philosophy


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