Course Description

This course introduces students to some off the main ideas in women and gender studies. We explore critical questions about the meaning of gender in our society. Gender scholarship critically analyzes themes of gendered performance and power in a range of social spheres, such as law, culture, education, work, medicine, social policy and the family.

Throughout the semester, we will "question gender" in multiple ways:
  • Why has gender been a primary organizing principle of society
  • How do "gendered scripts" for dress, appearance and behavior emerge among different social groups and in different societies and historical periods?
  • How do we explain the sexual division of labor and the unequal status of women and girls and those activities and roles deemed "feminine" in society?
  • How does gender intersect with race and ethnicity?
  • How do gendered structures of power and authority operate?
  • What factors contribute to the formation and success of movements for and against gender equality and fluidity?
Can we imagine a future in which we largely ignore gender or envision gender in more expansive or egalitarian ways?During this term you will become acquainted with many of the critical questions, concepts, and tools that feminist scholars have developed for thinking about gendered experience. In addition, we will explore the complex ways in which gender intersects with class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and age within various spheres and institutions of society.

Course topics include: the background history of the women's rights movement in the US including the first and second waves of American women's/gender rights activism, and gender issues in relation to the law, socialization, education, work, health and reproduction, sexuality, families, and globalization.

Structure of the Course

This class is structured as a HYBRID course-- meaning we spend part of the time in face-to-face interaction and part of time working online. To that end, you will NEED access to a computer and an Internet connection. In addition, the course requires a great deal of self-discipline on your part to read all the assigned materials and complete assignments in a timely manner. If you are not comfortable in such a partially digital teaching environment, I strongly suggest that you choose another class.

If you do decide to stay, I believe that you will be in for an interesting and engaging semester. In addition to the substance of the course, many of you will also likely learn something about technologies that may be new to some of you including blogs, Google Docs, etc.

Weekly Rhythm of the Course

  • Friday: blog posts for next Tuesday's readings are due by 3pm (I grade them at 4pm)
  • Saturday - Monday: your comments on blog posts are due
  • Tuesday morning: I give you credit for comments
  • Tuesday: lecture
  • Wednesday: nothing assigned
  • Thursday: nothing assigned
Notice that the your posts and comments are always ***ahead*** of the lecture. The idea is that you struggle with the text and material *prior* to coming to class. Class lectures are a time to refine your ideas and clarify your understanding. You may get the readings wrong, or misinterpret them, but as you struggle with them, it actually makes you a better learner. I know many students who wait until after lectures to read assigned materials- this is rarely what is expected in college.

Assignments and Evaluation

Total possible points = 425pts; your grade is determined by dividing your total points/total possible points.

250pts: Blog-related

  • 200pts: 4 blog posts 50pts each
    • Readings Blog Post
    • Excursion Blog Post
    • two posts on topics of your choice
    • There is no extra credit for extra blog posts or comments above that which is required. 
  • 50pts: 10 comments (5pts/each); you must make weekly comments
    • You will receive 1 extra point for each extra comment you make (updated 5/7/2013). Ideally, you'll be engaged enough to continue the conversation.

175pts: Other Work

  • 25pts: Final Project Proposal. 
  • 100pts: Final Project (may take the form of many things)
    • a play with classmates
    • website
    • 5-page paper
    • longer blog post on something that really caught your attention
    • a wikistyle website made up of our class notes...etc...
  • 25pts: excursion of your choice (options will be made available to you)
  • 25pts: Attendance. Since we meet only once a week, every class when we are scheduled to meet is MANDATORY. Missing just 1 class will result in a penalty to your Attendance grade. (updated 5/7/2013)
    • Missing 1 class meeting earns you 23/25pts = 96%
    • Missing 2 class meetings earns you 21/25pts = 84%
    • Missing 3 class meetings earns you 19/25pts = 76%
    • Missing 4 class meetings earns you 18/25pts = 72%
    • Missing 5 class meetings earns you 16/25pts = 64%
    • Missing 6 class meetings earns you 15/25pts = 60%
    • Missing 7 class meetings earns you 14/25pts = 56%

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
  • Understand and engage with central debates in the field of Women's and Gender Studies;
  • Define and utilize basic terms and concepts central to this field;
  • Apply a variety of methods of analyzing gender in society, drawing upon both primary and secondary sources;
  • Apply concepts and theories of Women's and Gender Studies to life experiences and historical events and processes;
  • Communicate effectively about gender issues in both writing and speech, drawing upon Women's and Gender Studies scholarship and addressing a public audience.

Writing Objectives

Having the bess idias in the world is no good if u kant communikate that id 2 nobody.

Throughout the semester, I will encourage you to consider the following in your all your writing assignments and written material more generally:
  • Make strong, guiding thesis statements;
  • Address an intelligent, public audience in a graceful style, providing key information necessary to understand an argument;
  • Develop ideas in an interesting, original and coherent manner;
  • Support arguments with appropriate evidence and use sources thoughtfully and correctly;
  • Employ clear, concise language that uses the conventions of English grammar, punctuation, word usage and source citation;
  • Structure arguments carefully with clear introductions, transitions, middles and conclusions;
  • Title assignments in a thoughtful and engaging fashion.
In addition, Hunter has numerous resources available to assist you with your writing skills. Good writing is a craft, not a gift; great writers are not born great writers, rather, they work hard at their craft. Never turn in something that has not been proofread!

Instructor Expectations and Class Polices

  • Emailing Me: Please see this post on our website to see how you should email me.
  • Class Preparedness: Given the nature of the course, I expect that you will have read the assigned materials including the web posts and comments PRIOR to the class and that you will be ready to discuss the readings in class.
  • Class Website: I will post handouts and extra readings on our class website. It is a class requirement that you check our website regularly for announcements and other handouts.
  • Late Assignments: Late assignments are NOT accepted. You will receive a 0 for any assignment that is not turned in ON TIME.

Academic Honesty / Honor Code

Cheating and/or misrepresenting other people's work as your own will result in immediate FAILURE and disciplinary action. Plagiarism or cheating in any form is not tolerated at Hunter and I am required to report you. Please see me if you have any questions as to what constitutes dishonest practices.

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