2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

A Feminist Criticism of Edmund Burke's and William Godwin's Views of Society
Megan E. Burik
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Amidst the patriarchal setting of the Romantic era and the hierarchical social echelons, philosophers pondered the inherency of good or evil in mankind. Edmund Burke saw humans as "essentially evil" and argued that "equality was contrary to nature and therefore impossible to achieve." On the opposite end of the spectrum, William Godwin believed in "the moral perfectibility of mankind" and envisioned a "world stripped of poverty, social inequalities and political strife." Drawing on feminist criticism, this paper will focus on the discrepancy between men and women in society and examine the different ways in which Burke's and Godwin's contrasting views of human nature shaped their perspectives on social equality.

Keywords: Edmund Burke, William Godwin, Gender Roles, Feminist Criticism, Romanticism

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 14-3
Location: OP 2117
Time: 8:45

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