The Study of Women: Inequalities & Cultural Change

For years now, various news media have declared that “feminism is dead.” This course explores the fields of feminism and women’s studies to find that feminism is not dead, or even sickly, but rather solidly embedded throughout modern American and global cultures. Regardless of media doomsaying, men and women today have increasingly come to assume that all women and men deserve equal rights in employment, relationships, politics, law, and society.

This course explores the purview of women’s and feminist studies in various arenas of American culture. From the Genesis account of creation to feminist theories on war and peace, this course explores the continuing influence of feminisms in our contemporary world. We will use the term feminisms to encompass the many strains of feminist thought that see inequalities of gender, race, class, sexuality, nationality, and disability as interlinked structures affecting women’s and men’s lives.

Like many liberal arts courses, this class is not about providing hard and fast answers. It is about raising productive questions about women, men, and gender in a modern world, and equipping you to articulate your own views in a compelling and thoughtful manner. The course requires upper division standing and passage of the WST. Beyond that, we presume only an interest in the subject, a willingness to consider new ideas, and a respect for views other than your own.

Course Requirements:

Participation & Attendance 10%
Weekly reading notes/essay 20%
Midterm 25%
Research paper (8-10 pages) 20%
Take Home Final 25%

I take into account effort and improvement over the semester. If your final grade is on the border, improvement can push it up from a B to B+, or B+ to A-.

Attendance: This is an advanced course and other students are depending on your attendance and contribution. I will permit each student to miss one class during the semester for illness or other pressing academic commitments, but further absences will negatively impact your course grade. It is your responsibility to get makeup class notes from another student, and turn in any due work before the missed class. I will pass around a sign-in sheet at the beginning of each class, and it is your responsibility to be sure you sign it.

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 found plagiarizing 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:
Gwyn Kirk & Margo Okazawa-Rey, Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives, 3rd ed., Boston: McGrawHill, 2004. (at bookstore)
Course Reader available at Maple Press (on San Carlos at 10th -- cash or check only)


^Go to course schedule


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