Perspectives on Sex & Gender Roles

Course Description:
Through the examination of texts, videos, and other written materials, this class will explore sex and gender roles across racial, ethnic communities as well as class divisions. We will learn that these roles are socially constructed and historically specific to each community. The course will also explore the images of femininity and masculinity. Feminism will be placed in context with other movements for human liberation.

Course Objectives:
1. Identify and analyze images of femininity and masculinity.
2. Identify the social construction of gender roles in historical context.
3. Identify the intersection of gender, race, social class, sexual orientation.
4. Evaluate social science information and draw upon different points of view.
5. Recognize the interaction of social institutions, culture, and environments with the behavior of individuals.
6. Gain information literacy on WebCT.

  Required Texts:

Bell hooks, Feminism is for Everyone (FIFE)
Estelle Disch, Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology (2003) 3rd edition
Course Requirements:
Attendance & Participation: 10%
Reading Notes: 20%
Exams: 45%
Two midterms & final
Final Project: ‘Zine 25%

Attendance & Participation. This class relies heavily on your participation. You must be prepared to discuss the readings for the day assigned. Class participation means bringing the day’s reading to class, arriving on time, asking and answering questions, and showing courtesy to the instructor and other students. Attendance is mandatory. I do allow each student to miss up to two classes if necessary due to illness or pressing academic commitments; any further absences will significantly impact your grade. If you do miss class, you are still responsible for turning in assignments before class, and getting makeup notes from another student. Students with excessive absences will be dropped from the class. In a pinch, you can email me your assignments as an MS Word document or an .rtf at slg@chicanas.com.

Reading notes. Students will write eight short (1 pg single-spaced) sets of reading notes on that week’s reading and discussion. Reading notes are informal reflection papers, less organized than an essay, more like a paper in process. They are not meant to be polished final essays, but more like an initial paper draft—raw ideas in unpolished form. The assignment is meant to help you actively engage the week’s reading. There are eleven possible notes, as indicated in the course schedule, so you may choose whichever weeks you like, as long as you complete eight by the end of the semester. You may also do up to two extra sets of notes for extra credit. These entries will be graded only as check, plus, or minus based on both content and effort.

Final project: ‘Zine (6 pages--three folded 8 ½ x 11 sheets) A ‘zine is a do-it-yourself magazine that you can copy and circulate among friends and peers. A ‘zine expresses your own unique perspective on whatever social or cultural issues you choose. I will pass around sample ‘zines in class to give you ideas. You will decide whether to focus on one issue (racism, body image, masculinity, for example) or various topics, in whatever style you choose—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drawings, graphics, or comics. Your ‘zine must reflect your engagement with issues discussed in this course. You may choose to work in pairs, in which case you should produce a 10-12 page ‘zine.

Academic Integrity: All assignments must be your own original work. Plagiarism defeats the purpose of the educational process and shortchanges you, your peers, and your instructor as well. Students suspected of plagiarism will be reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs for disciplinary action. Learn more about what constitutes plagiarism at the following library website: http://tutorials.sjlibrary.org/plagiarism/

Special Needs: Please let me know as soon as possible if you have a learning or physical disability requiring specific accommodations. Also for general assistance, please be sure to take advantage of the Disability Resource Center in Admin Bldg 110.

Required Books:
Estelle Disch, Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology, 3rd edition (at bookstore)


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