Interim Association Director of the Honors Program


Catherine Villanueva Gardner, PhD


Women's & Gender Studies




Liberal Arts 356


1996University of VirginiaPhD





A critical examination of normative theories of obligation and value. It includes philosophical examination of some moral problems including but not limited to: abortion, euthanasia, death penalty, gender and sexual orientation equality, pornography and censorship, violence, and economic injustice. Numerous ethical theories will be discussed, including but not limited to: Cultural Relativism, Ethical Subjectivism, Ethical Egoism, Divine Command Theory, Utilitarianism, Rights Theories, Kantianism, Social Contract Theory, and Feminist Ethics.

Basic concepts and perspectives in Women's Studies, placing women's experience at the center of interpretation. With focus on women's history and contemporary issues, the course examines women's lives with emphasis on how gender interacts with race, class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. The central aim is to foster critical reading and thinking about women's lives: how the interlocking systems of oppression, colonialism, racism, sexism, and ethnocentrism shape women's lives; and how women have worked to resist these oppressions. This course satisfies a social science distribution requirement and the general education diversity requirement.


Online and Continuing Education Courses

Topics will be determined by the faculty member and will therefore vary.
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Offered as needed to present current topics in the field or other material of interest. The specific topic is stated when the course is scheduled. May be repeated with change of content.
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Research interests

  • Ethics
  • History of Women Philosophers
  • Feminist Theory
  • Philosophy and Literature

Professor Catherine Villanueva Gardner specializes in feminist philosophy, especially ethics, epistemology, and the retrieval of forgotten historical women philosophers. This latter retrieval of excluded philosophers from the canon is both an historical project and a social justice project. Gardner is currently working on retrieving neglected or marginalized African-American women philosophers from the nineteenth century, in particular Frances E.W. Harper, who began her activist work in New Bedford, MA. Gardner’s most recent book (PSU Press, 2012) explores whether there is a distinctive feminist approach to the history of philosophy. Gardner has also published two other books in feminist history of philosophy and multiple articles in journals and edited collections.