Philosophy and sexual Difference (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Wanda Tommasi
Wanda Tommasi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A dal Feb 17, 2020 al Mar 28, 2020.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Philosophy and Sexual Difference Learning objectives: The course aims to grasp philosophy in light of the difference between men and women, with the underlying assumption that sexual difference means something as far as the mind’s behaviour is concerned. The sexual difference’s theory is a new and original perspective of feminism in contemporary philosophy. At the end of the course, students will be requested to show knowledge, understanding and critical thinking of the presented authors and texts.


The maternal obscure: the mother-daughter relationship
The course aims to investigate the relationship between mother and daughter in the light of sexual difference. To get out of the patriarchal symbolic order and give life to a feminine symbolic order, two axes are necessary, the horizontal one of the relationship between women and the vertical one that refers to the maternal relationship. However, the stumbling and painful wounds that often mark the relationship between mother and daughter make it difficult for many women to carry out a repair of this conflictual relationship; therefore we will consider the dark mother, the shadow of the mother who is threateningly projected onto this relationship. The text by Luisa Muraro will be analyzed first, The symbolic order of the mother: the author proposes the orientation of the daughter's gratitude towards the mother and also takes into consideration the relationship of the male child with the mother. Then the essays in Diotima's book The Shadow of the Mother will be analyzed. Finally, we will consider some novels by two contemporary writers, Irène Nèmirovsky and Marie Cardinal, who talk about a difficult and tormented relationship between mother and daughter.

MURARO LUISA, L’ordine simbolico della madre, Editori Riuniti, Roma 2006
DIOTIMA, L’ombra della madre, Liguori, Napoli 2007
NEMIROVSKY IRENE, Il vino della solitudine, Adelphi, Milano 2011
CARDINAL MARIE, Le parole per dirlo, Bompiani, Milano 2001

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Némirovsky Il vino della solitudine Adelphi 2011
Cardinal Le parole per dirlo Bompiani 2001
Diotima L'ombra della madre Liguori 2007
Muraro L'ordine simbolico della madre Editori riuniti 2006

Assessment methods and criteria

Evaluation method: oral exam. The exam’s purpose is to assess students’ knowledge and understanding of the covered topics and to evaluate the ability to compare the authors acquired by the students. Non-attending students are requested to contact the lecturer to agree on the exam program.