WS 101 Introduction To Women's Studies Fall 2005


Watson Theatre

Course Instructors:

Professor Linda Martín Alcoff
208 Bowne Hall, 443-0283
Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:00 - 3:30 and by appointment

Professor Chandra Talpade Mohanty
208 Bowne Hall 443-6541
Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:00 - 1:00 and by appointment

Teaching Assistants:

Glenda Gross
208 Bowne Hall, 443-3484, gagross (At Symbol)
Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:30-1:30 and by appointment

Tehmekah MacPherson
208 Bowne Hall, 443-3484, Tamacphe (At Symbol)
Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:30 - 1:30 and by appointment

Sarah Miraglia
208 Bowne Hall, 443-3484, skmiragl (At Symbol)
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 - 1:00 and by appointment

Course Description and Course Objectives:

Women's studies is the study of women's lives from an interdisciplinary approach that includes historical, cultural, literary, political, economic, sociological and other approaches. This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the various fields within women's studies. We will consider how societies have defined gender identities and gender roles and how gender identities intersect with racial, sexual, class, and national identities. We will also look in particular at women's experiences of work, violence, embodiment, sexuality, the military, family, health, and reproduction. By the end of this course students will be knowledgeable about the field of women's studies and why it came into existence. Students will also be able to develop an understanding of how gender concepts and expectations have impacted their own lives, as well as how to use a racialized gender lens to analyze the workings of social institutions.

Course Requirements:

Students must come to class each day prepared for an open and rigorous critical discussion of the week's reading assignment. All students must be respectful of the classroom as a space of serious work. You will be called upon in class on a regular basis.

Attendance is absolutely required and students must come on time. Lateness beyond ten minutes will count as an absence. More than two absences (either in lecture or discussion sections) will result in a lowered participation grade as well as 2 points per additional absence taken off your total final grade at the end of the course. The reason for your absence will not affect this policy, so please do not present us with reasons or signed notes.

There are four written assignments. Following are brief descriptions; fuller descriptions, if needed, will be handed out in class:

1. Weekly short papers: Students must write a 2 page, typed, double spaced, critical summary of the assigned readings each week, due at the beginning of class every Tuesday. To do this assignment, choose 2 of the assigned readings for the week, summarize the content of the readings and show how they are connected. These essays will be graded and returned. No late papers will be accepted, but one weekly essay may be dropped with no penalty; a total of ten are due throughout the term, on the following dates:

Sept. 6
Sept. 13
Sept. 20
Oct. 4
Oct. 11
Oct. 18
Oct. 25
Nov. 1
Nov. 8
Nov. 10
Dec. 6

2. Website group assignment: Students will be divided into groups of 6 to compare and analyze feminist websites during the course of the semester. Each group will find, track, and analyze three websites. The week of November 28 each group will give a presentation to the class on their analysis. You will also turn in a collaboratively written summary of your analysis, as your final paper for the class.

3. Midterm take-home essay exam: This assignment will require you to write a 5 page essay that critically analyzes a topic in relation to the course readings. The assignment will be handed out on Oct. 25, and be due on Nov. 1.

4. Attend a lecture and write short paper: You will be required to attend one women's studies guest lecture or panel discussion this term and write a 2 page critical reflection of what you learned from the lecture or panel. We will provide a list of events to choose from, and have listed some of these in the syllabus below. If you attend a second event and write a second paper, you will receive extra credit of .5 on top of your final grade.

Final grades will be tabulated as follows: Participation and attendance, 10%; weekly essay total, 40%; mid-term essay, 20%; website presentation and paper, 25%; short paper on a women's studies lecture, 5%.

Grades will follow the following standard format: 93-100 for an A; 90-92 for an A-; 87-89 for a B+; 83-86 for a B; 80-82 for a B-; 77-79 for a C+; 73-76 for a C; 70-72 for a C-.

REQUIRED TEXT: available at the Syracuse University Bookstore.

G. Kirk & M. Okazawa-Rey, Women’s Lives, Multicultural Perspectives, Third edition, McGraw Hill, 2004

Schedule of required readings :

August 30 Introduction: Feminism and the Project of Women’s Studies
Video: "The F Word: A Video About Feminism," 1994
Sept. 1 Discussion: Women’s Lives (WL): Introduction. pp. 1-7

Sept. 6 Theories/Theorizing
WL: pp. 9-57
Sept. 8 Discussion

Sept. 13 Race, Identities and Social Location
WL: pp. 60-69 , Daly (70). Allison (78), Martinez (85), Patel (87), Kadi (90), and Omolade (536)
Sept. 15 Discussion

Sept. 20 Complicating Whiteness
Guest Lecture: Minnie Bruce Pratt;
Handout: Peggy MacIntosh, "White Privilege", WL: Pratt (44), Waters (96), Kaye/Kantrowitz (103)
Sept. 22 Discussion

Sept. 27 Gendering the Nation
Video: "Rosie the Riveter"
Sept. 29 Discussion

Oct. 4 Work, Wages, Welfare in the U.S.
WL: p. 317-369
Oct. 6 Discussion

Oct. 11 Women in the Global Economy
Video: "Sweating for a T-Shirt"
WL: p 272-388 , Fernandez-Kelly (388), Chang (397) , Silko (407)
Oct. 13 Yom Kippur: NO CLASS

Oct. 18 Women in the Military, War & Peace
WL: p. 454-466, Bunch (478), Enloe (482), Croteau & Hoynes (283)
Oct. 20 Discussion

Midterm assignment handed out Oct. 25, due Nov. 1

Oct. 25 Body Politics
WL, p. 111-137
Oct. 27 Video: Dreamworlds II: The Women of MTV

Nov. 1 Gendered Violence and Human Rights
Video: The Vienna Tribunal
WL: p. 226-239, Bridges (239), Mederos (240), Foo (249), Madhubuti (266)
Nov. 3 Discussion

Nov. 8 Health and Reproductive Rights
WL, pp. 173-223
Nov. 10 Discussion

Nov. 15 The Politics of Sexuality
WL pp. 143-171
Nov. 17 Politics of Sexuality discussion

Nov. 22 Guest Lecture

Nov. 29 & Dec. 1 Website Assignment Presentations

Dec, 6 Creating Change
WL, p. 522- 533, Trask (509), Thompson (545), Pharr (574), Rose (577), Haynes (514)
Dec. 8 Final Discussion