COMM 4346/5346:01 Gender Issues in Communication

Fall 2012, Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:15 Lang 345

last updated September 19, 2012

Instructor: Catherine H. Palczewski, Ph.D.
Office: Lang Hall 341
Office hours:
  • Tues: 11:00a-12:00p, 5:00p-6:00p
  • Weds: 11:00a - 12:00p, 2:00p-3:00p
  • Thurs: 11:00a-12:00p
no office hours September 26-27, November 13-15
If these times do not work, feel free to call or email to make an appointment.
Office Phone: 273-2714 Mailbox: Lang Hall 326 e-mail:
Acknowledgements: This syllabus would not be possible without the assistance of Victoria DeFrancisco, who also teaches this course at UNI. Faculty at UNI and other universities also have shared their ideas, assignments and syllabi, and I thank them for their help: MaryBeth Stalp, Leah White, Jennifer Potter, Valeria Fabj, and Jeanne Cook. This syllabus is better because of their help.
New information will appear in pink
assignment due dates are in red
links are in blue

Course Description: People "do" gender through their communicative practices, and gender is constructed through the communication produced by social institutions. The purpose of this course is to raise students' awareness regarding the ways in which gender is created, maintained, and/or changed through communication. Students will gain theoretical insights and develop analytical skills to identify gendered expectations, and to learn how such expectations serve to limit behavior for both women and men. The course will enhance understanding of how predominant social assumptions and communication norms can devalue and silence women and other non-dominant groups, and how students can become change agents to enhance our collective lives.

Course Objectives: At the end of the course, students should understand that gender in communication is complicated by a variety of factors beyond sex. Thus, by the end of the class, students should understand how the following concepts are central to understanding gender in communication:

  1. Intersectionality. Persons are not just female or male, feminine or masculine. To more accurately study gender, we must study gendered lives in the context of other social identities, particularly race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, and national origin. Students should understand that gender is always about more than a person's sex.
  2. Interdisciplinarity. To understand gender/sex in communication, one must fuse and balance social scientific, humanistic, and critical methods. Students should be able to identify the various contributions of these approaches to the study of gender/sex in communication.
  3. Gender diversity, not sex differences. Gender as a form of difference does not explain the complexity of gender in communication. Thus, students should understand the range of genders available to people, and not look at gender in communication as merely a way to track differences between men and women.
  4. Masculinity. Students should understand that the study of gender is not just the study of women.
  5. Gender is a performed social institution. Students should understand that gender is something a person does, not something a person is. Gender is not something located within individuals, but is a social construct which institutions and individuals maintain (and occasionally challenge).
  6. Violence. To study gender in lived experiences means to study the darker side of gender: oppression and violence. Students should more fully recognize the consequences of the prevalent gendered society in which most people live.
  7. Emancipation. Even as we recognize violence, we also want to recognize the emancipatory potential of gendered practice. Gender identity need not be oppressive and limiting to persons. Students should be able to identify the way their own gendered practices hold the potential for personal and social emancipation.

Required Texts:

DeFrancisco, Victoria Pruin and Catherine Helen Palczewski. Communicating Gender Diversity. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2007).

Strongly Recommended Texts

Style manual of choice – either APA Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (at bookstore) or MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (in library)

General Information: see This site includes my late policy, the university accommodation policy, the university plagiarism policy, as well as paper format descriptions.

Student Etiquette: Lively debate, discussion, and disagreement on issues are encouraged in class. But respect for other people, their opinions, and experiences is essential. The most productive way to disagree with another is to say, “I disagree with you because…” and explain and justify your position. Although everyone is entitled to her/his opinion, the reality is that some opinions are better supported and more reasonable than other opinions; thus, be able to explain why you hold the opinion you do and why you think your opinion is better supported than another’s. Engage each other in a reasoned exchange of ideas. In other words, present an argument (a claim supported by data, with reasons/warrants as to why that data is relevant to the claim).

Throughout the semester we will encounter a variety of sensitive issues given gender/sex is an intensely sensitive and personal aspect of being human. The content of this class has the potential to stir up strong emotional reactions. You will encounter ideas and theories that challenge you. Students are asked to follow some guidelines to help maintain a constructive learning environment. Participants in this class must be open to looking at gender from a variety of perspectives. Further, it is possible that films, readings, images, music, etc. used in this class may be considered “offensive” by some. A student’s decision to stay enrolled in the class is an agreement to approach all course content with a critical academic lens. Above all, participants must treat each other with respect. The most fundamental way to respect class participants is to complete daily readings, listen to others, and ground your own comments in principles of critical thinking. Class discussions should take place within the context of academic inquiry and in the spirit of understanding diverse perspectives and experiences. Do not engage in private conversations, interrupt another student who has the floor, keep pagers and cell phones on, or show general signs of disrespect for the course, professor, or other students. Non-course related materials such as newspapers and items from other courses must be stowed away when class begins.


Assignment Due Date Point worth
1. Gendered Lens Self Analysis October 4 10
2. Gender Analysis of Institutional Artifacts Possible Dates: October 16, 23, 30; November 6, 27 10
3. Reading Responses

Possible dates: At least 2 from: August 28; September 4, 11, 18, 25 ; October 2. At least 2 from Ocotber 23, 30; November 6, 16, 27; December 4.

5 @ 2 pts. each
4. Midterm October 11 15
5a. Final exam (written) December 12, 1-2:50 p.m. Wednesday 20
5b. Final exam (oral) December 12, 1-2:50 p.m. Wednesday 5
6. Visual artifact before or on December 4 10
7. Discussion every class period 20

Assignments are worth a total of 100 points. However, for each assignment you can earn fractions of points (so, you can think of it as a 1000 point scale if it makes you feel better). If you need to figure your letter grade at any point in the semester, simply divide the number of points you have by the number of possible points you could have earned. For your final grade, simply add up all the points for each assignment. Points are noted in brackets. Simply doing the base requirements of each assignment will earn you a "C" -- this means you have done acceptable work. To earn a "B" you must go beyond the assignment expectations or fulfill them in an above average way. To earn an "A" you must go far beyond the assignment expectations and fulfill the base expectations in an exceptional manner.

Detailed descriptions of all assignments appear on this syllabus. You are free to ask questions in class about the assignments, or contact me outside of class by email or phone. But, please be aware, I will NOT answer any questions about an assignment in the 48 hours before it is due. I recognize that students procrastinate, so, consider this an inducement to begin work early. This means if you have a question, you need to be prepared to ask it in the class session before your paper is due. I will not answer questions after that time. Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date listed.

Page limits on all assignments will be rigorously enforced. You should spend time finding ways to write more concisely and clearly. If I find your paper long-winded, and you go over the page limit, I will quit reading. (If however, you are brilliant and keep me captivated, I may not notice). And, given the expectations of each of the assignments, you probably will need to use the number of pages required. If, however, you are exceptionally concise, then I may not notice if your paper falls short of the required pages.

A bibliography should be turned in with every assignment. It will not count toward your page limit. On the top of the page, indicate the style (APA or MLA) that you think you are using.

TurnItIn requirement: For assignments 1, 2 (and possibly 5a), students are required to use TurnItIn in order to check they are not plagiarizing. Thus, for an assignment to be considered "turned in", students must have submitted an electronic version to TurnItIn before the assignment's due date and time, and also turn in a paper copy to the professor at the assigned due date and time. I have activated the TurnItIn website in such a way that you are allowed to submit drafts of your paper and receive originality reports. These reports should be used to assist you in making sure you are attributing authorship in an ethical way. The only originality report I will see is the final report on the version of the paper you turn into me. Students can access the TurnItIn website for each assignment via the class's eLearning site. Check the TurnItIn file, and then select the icon for the appropriate assignment. Please understand: using TurnItIn is only the first step in making sure your are abiding by citation guidelines and providing fair attribution. TurnItIn is only one way to check the originality of your work, and just because your work passes the TurnItIn check does not guarantee you have not plagiarized. You are responsible for using style manuals to make sure your citation format is correct and consistent.

Amount of work expected: UNI's general guideline is that one semester hour of credit is the equivalent of approximately three hours of work (one hour of in-class time + 2 hours of out-of-class preparation) each week over the course of a whole semester. In a typical lecture/discussion course, each hour of class normally entails at least two hours of outside preparation for the average student. That means that for every week, students should set aside 6 hours outside of class to read, research, work on assignments, study for tests, etc. This standard is the basis on which the Registrar's Office assigns hours of University credit for courses.

Graduate students: Your assignments are determined in negotiation with the professor, and should involve work of a more in-depth nature. By the end of the second week of class, you should have turned in an personalized syllabus proposal that includes, for every assignment:

  1. name of assignment,
  2. description,
  3. due date,
  4. point worth (for a model format, see the undergraduate assignments below).

Your proposal should include as much detail on the assignments as this syllabus. Graduate students also will meet an additional hour each week for an intensive seminar, at a time to be determined by your schedules. Additional readings will be required for these meetings.

Undergraduate students:

1) Gendered Lens Analysis of the Intersectional Self: [10 points]. (5 pages). Apply course readings and discussion to reflexively identify and examine the social construction of your own gender identity. Include specific observations and descriptions from your life. Your goal is to apply an intersectional view of gender (and 3 other relevant course concepts) to examine your own gender identity. Be sure to demonstrate your understanding of the terms you use, rather than merely name-drop. Write a coherent essay that features your voice, not just a list of concept applications. No external references are required. When analyzing yourself, you do NOT need to reveal EVERYTING about yourself. (Face it, I will not know if you choose to leave something out). Just to be clear, you only need to discuss what you are comfortable discussing. If there is an aspect of your gender/sex identity that is private, do not feel compelled to discuss it. Due: October 4.

2) Gender Analysis of Institutional Artifacts: [10 points]. (5 pages). Although these papers are short, they are each worth 1/10th of your final grade and, thus, should reflect a proportional amount of work. They should be well-written, organized, free of typographical or grammatical errors, and present and support a clear thesis. In order to do well on this assignment, you may need to write a much longer draft, and then edit down to the 5 page limit.

Select a social institution of interest: family, education, work, media, religion. Select an artifact (or if it is short, a combination of artifacts) from this institution that you feel can be analyzed from a gendered perspective. An artifact must be something original from the social institution, such as a specific grade school’s curriculum, textbook, anti-bullying policy; a university’s guidelines for athletes; media advertisements; a movie or television sit-com; a selection from brochures or speech texts of religious groups; businesses’ policy statements on sexual harassment, or guidelines for promotion; laws on equal pay, rape, marriage; health care guidelines or advice; an advice book on family communication, parent/child communication, etc. A gendered analysis means that you select relevant concepts from this course to apply as you conduct a close analysis of the artifact, and answer the following questions:

A) How is this artifact (and thus its institution) gendered or how does it gender? Describe and analyze the artifact. Consider both the visual and verbal components of the artifact. How do you believe gender (and perhaps race, social class, heterosexism, etc.) is being constructed, maintained, and/or changed through this institutional artifact?

B) How does the used of a gendered lens expand, alter or inform your analysis?

C) Finally, does this act of communication matter and, if so, what change do you recommend?

D) Attach a copy of the artifact to the paper and bring a version of it to class that can be seen by the entire class (advertisements can be placed on the elmo projector, a digital image of a billboard could be shown on the computer, a song could be played (but bring a copy of the lyrics for everyone to read).

You must apply 3 or more relevant concepts from the course to defend your interpretations. Be prepared to share your analysis in class as we discuss each social institution.

Possible Due Dates: October 16, 23, 30; November 6, 27

3) Reading responses (RR): [5 responses at 2 points each] The goal of these 2 page papers (with reasonable font and margins, double spaced) is to help process the assigned readings and also prepare for in-class discussions. They are not meant to be "book reports" or mere descriptions of the readings. You should engage the readings: summarize, highlight, agree, disagree, apply, extend, rework, combine, synthesize, play. I expect work that has been proofread and edited. A paper rife with typographical, grammar, or citation errors will be returned ungraded. These short papers should be good practice for your analysis papers. You are required to complete 5 of these. (Should you choose to write on more than 5, you earn the top 5 grades).

2 of your responses should resoond to chapters 1-6 and 2 of the responses should respond to chapters 7-12.

Possible due dates for first set: August 28; September 4, 11, 18, 25 ; October 2

Possible due dates for second set: October 23, 30; November 6, 27; December 4

FORMAT: Each response must adhere to the following format:

1. Concisely state a main point of the textbook chapter (or assigned pages).

2. Respond to any two of the following prompts:

    • I agree with this argument and this is why.
    • I disagree with this argument and this is why.
    • This relates to my life in this way.
    • I am confused about _______ and this is why.

3. Given what I learned in this chapter, I would respond to the non-textbook reading (or video) by saying ______.

****On Nov 13 and 15, you will watch two videos. On Nov 16 (friday) you can turn in an RR that is in response to either one of the videos. Email the RR to me by 5pm on Nov 16. The RR can be on one or both of the videos.

FORMAT for video response

1. Concisely state a main point of the video.

2. Respond to any two of the following prompts:

    • I agree with this argument and this is why.
    • I disagree with this argument and this is why.
    • This relates to my life in this way.
    • I am confused about _______ and this is why.

    3. I now understand ________ better. (In other words, did the video clarify something in the textbook?)

4) Midterm Exam: [15 points] Understanding the concepts introduced in the first 6 chapters is essential to understanding the chapters examining social institutions. The midterm exam will focus on reading comprehension with a combination of definition and short essay questions. You should use the key terms listed in the syllabus to construct a study guide sheet. No notes will be allowed in exams. Due Date: October 11.

5) Final Exam: The final exam will be composed of two parts.

A) A take home essay exam. [20 points] ( 5-7 pages). The exam will ask you to incorporate work done in your response papers, your analysis papers, and class discussion. Thus, as you make choices about those assignments, think about which can most help you with the final. For the final, you will write a companion piece (or answer) to one of the popular press pieces we read in class (you could find a popular culture text of your own, and write a corrollary or response to it; if you go this route, you MUST have the idea approved by me first). For example, you could write

  • "7 Ways You're Hurting Your Son's Future" as a corrollary to "7 Ways You're Hurting Your Daughter's Future."
  • "How to Talk to Little Boys" as a corrollary to "How to Talk to Little Girls"
  • "Cowgirl Country 2012" or "xxxx Country" (whatever you think is happening in election 2012)
  • "What if dude xxx posed like lady xxx" (this one would require a visual, as well as written, component)
  • "The xx-word: An insulting slur in the spotlight"
  • a variation of "Behind every strong man, there is an even stronger Beyonce" (basically, do a critique of a dominant popular culture event).

Whatever you choose to write, you need to make sure you:

  • incorporate scholarly research (from the textbook and from additional research you do). I am asking you to make arguments based on scholarly research, no on the basis of social stereotypes.
  • advance a coherent argument about gender and communication
  • make sure communication is a central component to the argument and analysis
  • organize your argument (this should not be a stream of consciousness essay)
  • use the key terms: whenever appropriate, use the language learned in class to more precisely word your arguments. In fact, it would be best if you used at least one concept from each of the chapters. Bold the concepts when you use them. Provide citations. Also, please indicate which chapter the concept comes from: APA (DeFrancisco & Palczewski, 2007, ch. 2, p. 47) or MLA (DeFrancisco and Palczewski, ch. 2, 47)

B) Oral presentation: [5 points]. Students will have approximately 5 minutes to present their exam answers. Please bring 2 copies of your presentation outline (one for you to use and one for me to write on).Depending on class size, the duration of the presentation may be altered. You can take a more performative turn in your presentations, or you can choose to combine your time for a group presentation/debate. If you do choose to combine your time, make sure it is a GROUP presentation, and not just a series of 3 speeches. The presentation should focus on the core point the student made in the final exam.

More helpful hints:

1) Do NOT simply read your exam for your presentation. The presentation should be formal and professional, but not scripted. I suggest you speak from a detailed outline (remember to include quotations from the textbook in the outline to illustrate the points you want to make). Please bring two copies of the outline: one to speak from and one for me. DO practice the presentation to make sure your outline fits within the time limits. Time limits will be strictly enforced.

2) Presume the audience is not familiar with your exam, but is educated about gender in communication. Your presentation does NOT need to include detailed definitions of common terms from the textbook. However, do provide sufficient theoretical explanation of more complicated concepts so that the audience can follow your analysis.

3) Do not try to present all the arguments in your exam. You will not be able to cover everything in just 5 minutes. Instead, give a brief overview of all your arguments, and then pick one or two on which to focus the presentation.

Due date: 1:00-2:50 p.m. Wednesday

, December 12

6) Visual Artifact: [10 points]. Pick a concept, example or passage from Communicating Gender Diversity and find a visual illustration of it. These illustrations can include screen captures, video stills, photographs (from magazines, newspapers, or websites), diagrams, tables, etc. (but NOT cartoons). To complete this assignment, you will need to turn in:

  • the original, or a high quality reproduction, of the visual artifact
  • full information about the image (source, creator, description of content, date, place, etc.)
  • information on how to access the original (i.e., bibliographic citation, url)
  • a 1 page explanation of how and why the image illustrates the concept. Make sure you clearly identify the concept or passage from the textbook which you are illustrating (include a page number), and then provide a clear description of how the visual enhances your understanding of the concept or passage and/or how the passage or concept helped you understand the image.

The point of this assignment is to encourage you to think about how you might visualize research and make a verbal concept come alive. It also should help you see how concepts in the book can help you analyze and understand things you see in the world.

Examples turned in before September 27 can receive up to 10 points.

Examples turned in before November 8 can receive up to 9 points.

Examples turned in on December 4 can receive up to 8 points.

Due date: Any time during the semester before the end of class on December 4.

7) Discussion: [20 points]. The success of this class depends on your participation. You will be expected to read assignments prior to the date assigned and to join in ALL class discussions. Students are encouraged to participate by bringing in relevant artifacts (newspaper articles, advertisements, TV shows, songs, job ads, etc.) to discuss. It is expected that we will have varying view points on issues discussed in class, and that we can learn from such disagreement. The professor should serve as a muse or a guide, but not a drill sergeant. For a class to be a location of invention, and not just regurgitation, you must come ready to talk, to think, to rethink and to engage. Otherwise, a seminar format class can devolve into just being an instance where the professor tells you what to think. Being a good participant does not mean that you always have the answer; it can also mean that you know when to ask the right questions and when to recognize that the answers have already been offered by the class but need to be synthesized. Discussion is a central component of this class insofar as each person's analysis of the readings can be enhanced by others' insights. For a detailed description of the criteria used in the assessment of discussion, see my discussion link.

Syllabus: (This syllabus is subject to change, although that rarely happens.) If changes happen, they will be in hot pink.
Week Readings Assignments Key Concepts Discussion questions
1: August 21, 23: Introduction to studying gender/sex in communication


Ch 1


  gender, sex, gender/sex, intersectionality, biological determinism, essentialism, androgyny, gender binary, intersexuality, transgender, sexual-orientation, queer, heteronormativity, ethnicity, classism, racism, sexism, rhetoric, systems of hierarchy, culture, hegemony, cultural ideology, power, privilege, violence, coercion, violence continuum, reflexivity

1. What is intersectionality? How will this concept inform your study of gender in communication?

2. What is sex? What is gender? Why CGD use these together as gender/sex? If you are unclear on why sex is a complicated term, see: Intersex Society of North America website: FAQ “What is intersex?” FAQ “How common is intersex?” FAQ “What's the difference between being transgender or transsexual and having an intersex condition?”

3. What does it mean to “do gender”? In what ways is the study of communication central to the study of gender?

2: August 28, 30: Theories of gender/sex, part 1 biological and psychological approaches

Ch 2 pp. 26-43

you have the following options for additional materials:

Option 1: Stewart, Jon (Anchor), & O'Neil, Chuck (Director). (2011, April 13). Toemageddon [Television series episode]. In Rory Albanese and Jon Stewart (Executive producers), The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. New York: Comedy Cenrtral. Retrieved from

Option 2: Cooper, Anderson (Anchor), & . (2011, 6-7). The sissy-boy experiment. In David Doss & Charles Moore (Executive producers), AC360º. Retrieved from

Option 3: LearnVest. (2912, June 28). 7 ways you're hurting your daughter's future. link

GRAD: Kane, Emily W. (2006). "No way my boys are going to be like that!" : Parents' responses to children's gender nonconformity. Gender & Society, 20, 149-176. doi: 10.1177/0891243205284276 on e Learning

Aug 28: RR possible theory, empirical/positivist worldview, interpretive/humanistic worldview, critical studies/cultural criticism, biological approaches, biological determinism, womanization of rhetoric, invitational rhetoric, psychological approaches, psychoanalytic approaches, écriture feminine, social learning approaches, cognitive development approaches, feminine style, maternal practice

1. What is a theory and why are theories important and influential? How does theory relate to the reconstruction of your “gendered lens”?

2. What are the three world views of theories? How do these approach the study of gender? How might these approaches affect what we come to call knowledge about gender in communication?

3. What criteria should be used for assessing theories? What do you feel are important criteria? Apply the criteria you select to the theories presented in the remainder of the chapter. What did you find? How do the three primary approaches compare?

3: September 4, 6: Theories of gender/sex. part 2 descriptive and critical cultural approaches

Ch 2 pp. 43-60

Option 1: Stanford University Medical Center. (2006, July 14). Transgender experience led Stanford scientist to critique gender difference. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from


Barres, Ben A. (2006, July 13). Does gender matter? Nature, 442(7099), 133-6. doi:10.1038/442133a

Option 2: Rupert, Maya. (2012, August 6). What are little girls made of: The dangers of the new Olympics gender tests. Huffington Post. Retrieved from

GRAD: West, Candace, & Zimmerman, Don H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender & Society, 1, 125-151. doi: 10.1177/0891243287001002002 on eLearning


Sept 4: RR possible


descriptive cultural approaches, symbolic interactionism, anthropological approaches, two-culture theory, women’s rhetoric as oxymoron, critical cultural approaches, standpoint theory, social constructionism, communication strategies, gender as performance, performance, performativity, multiracial and global feminisms, arrogant perceivers, world travelers, ethnocentrism, postcolonialism, Queer theory, drag kings, post-structuralism, gender diversity, perspective multi-determined social context approach

1. Two-Culture Theory, Standpoint Theory, and Social Constructivism are especially prominent in the study of gender in communication. How do they explain gender? What do you see as strengths and weaknesses of each?

2. Why do the authors subscribe to the Multi-Determined Gender Diversity Approach? Is this just a simple compromise? What is your assessment of this approach?

3. What expectations do you have for appropriate gender-related behaviors? Do these expectations occur as a result of your cultural background? Have you ever had to negotiate contested gender roles in your experiences with others? Describe the experience(s) and outcome(s).

4: September 11, 13: Gendered/sexed voices

Ch 3

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: Rebecca Traister. (2011, January 21). Cowgirl country. New York Times. Retrieved from


Hennessey, Kathleen. (2010, October 16). It's a strange year for gender in politics. Retrieved from

Option 2: Pohl, R.D. (2011, June 5). Naipaul reconciles with Theroux, then denigrates all women writers [Web log post]. Retrieved from


Solani, Dhvani. (2011, June 4). "Naipaul needs a psychiatrist." MidDay. Retrieved from

GRAD: Mansbridge, Jane, & Flaster, Katherine. (2007). The cultural politics of everyday discourse: The case of "male chauvinist." Critical Sociology, 33, 627-660. doi:10.1163/156916307X210973 on eLearning



Sept 11: RR possible identity, discourse, altercasting, deconstruction, two-culture, gender/sex differences, identity work, conversational work, face work, feminist post-structuralist discourse analysis approach, close analysis of discourse, critical gendered lens of discourse, functions of conversational components, gender/sex conversational style, gender/sex perceptions, style and perceptual lenses, heterosociability, feminine style, communal style, indirectness style, politeness norms of discourse, simultaneous talk, masculine style, agentic focus, power and style differences, speech as strategic

1. Did Julia Wood’s (2007) girls’ and boys’ “rules of play” seem familiar to you? Did you know children in grade school who did not comply with these norms? How were they treated by other children and the teachers? Do the rise of video games affect play? Since the advent of Title IX, team sports have increasingly become open to girls and women. Would you predict that shifts in conversational style will follow as more girls grow up playing rule based games?

3. How does one study power in discourse? Why is this important? What are the limitations of doing so?

4. How might employing diverse gendered styles become a communication resource for individuals? What are examples of this?

5: September 18, 20: Gendered/sexed language

Ch 5

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: West, Lindy. (2012, July 12). How to make a rape joke. Jezebel. Retrieved from


Harding, Kate. (2012, July 13). 15 rape jokes that work. Retrieved from


Chemaly, Soraya. (2012, July 16). Foget Tosh -- the outrage isn't the joke, it's the laighter [Weblog post]. Huffington Post. Retrieved from link

Option 2: Weeks, Linton. (2011, May 28). The fa-word: An insulting slur in the spotlight. Retrieved from

Option 3: Thompson, Christie. (2011, Summer). Taking slut for a walk. Ms., 21(3), 14. on eLearning

Option 4: Borsuk, Amy. (2011, May 28). Enough about Storm’s gender. Let’s talk about the pronouns [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Option 5: Moore, Lori. (2012, August 20). Rep. Todd Akin: The statement and the reaction. The New York Times. Retrieved from


Ensler, Eve. (2012, August 20). Dear Mr. Akin, I want you to imagine . . . Huffington Post. Retrieved from


I misspoke-what I meant to say is "I am dumb as dog shit and I am a terrible human being." (2012, August 20). The Onion. Retrieved from NOTE: the article does contain rough language

GRAD: Sowards, Stacey. (2010). Rhetorical agency as haciendo caras and differential consciousness through lens of gender, race, ethnicity, and class. An examination of Dolores Huerta's rhetorix. Communication Theory, 20, 223-247. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2885.2010.01361.x on e Learning

GRAD: Campbell, Karlyn Kohrs. (1973, February). The rhetoric of Women’s Liberation: An oxymoron. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 59, 74-86. on e Learning

Sept 18: RR possible theory of linguistic relativity, terministic screens, select/reflect/deflect, framing, muted group theory, patriarchal universe of discourse (PUD), he/man language, semantic derogation, semantic imbalance, semantic polarization, marked terms, trivialization, lack of vocabulary, truncated passives, falsely universal we, de-verbing of woman, people, places & topics of silence, language as violence, talking back, counterpublic sphere, developing a new language, resignification, strategic essentialism, rhetorics of difference, moving over, “definition of man”, “definition of human”


1. The authors argue language can oppress and liberate. Identify and explain five examples of each within the chapter. Why is recognizing both the liberatory and oppressive effect important?

2. Are there any examples of language as a tool of oppression or liberation that you had not considered previously? If so, what do these insights suggest to you? Why might they be useful to recognize?

3. What is the ethical debate regarding “speaking for others”? How do the authors suggest we address the debate? Do you agree or disagree and why?

4. Resignification of language is offered as an alternative. Do you think resignification is possible? Why or why not? Why would some groups or people choose such a strategy?

6: September 25, 27 (PAC): Gendered/sexed bodies

Ch 4

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: Hill, Marc Lamont. (2011, April 27). Let's see a show of hands: How is manhood defined? Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved from

Option 2: McCain, Meghan. (2011, May 12). Shut up about my body, Glenn Beck. The Daily Beast. Retrieved from

Option 3: JOS. (2012, May 9). What if dude superheroes posed like lady superheroes [Web log message]. Retrieved from

Option 4: Redefining Body Image blog (read the last 2 weeks of posts)


Veda 22 (2012, April 22). I AM FAT! [Video file]. Retrieved from


Jennifer [Editorial]. (2012, Ocotber 2). Jennifer's message to her bully. WKTB La Crosse. Retrieved from

Option 5: Abbasi, Jennifer. (2012, July 17). Why 6-year-old girls want to be sexy [Web lgo post]. HuffingtonPost Parents. Retrieved from Link

Starr, Christine R., & Ferguson, Gail M. (2012, July 6). Sexy dolls, sexy grade-schoolrs? Media & maternal influences on young girls' self-sexualization. Sex Roles, 67. DOI 10.1007/s11199-012-0183-x Link also on eLearning

September 27: Watch Codes of Gender

GRAD: Lloyd, Moya. (2007). Radical democratic activism and the politics of resignification. Contellations, 14(1), 129-146. on e learning

Sept 25: RR possible

gender embodiment, “throwing like a girl”, agency, nonverbal cues, micropolitics, gender performativity, objectification theory, disconnection, proxemics, haptics, eye contact, body movement, demeanor, body posture, immediacy cues, body adornment, demand expressivity theory, nonverbal sensitivity and accuracy, emotional expression, natural beauty, gendered negative body images, strategies to refuse the command performance


1. Why is Butler’s notion of gender as performance particularly relevant here?

2. How might objectification be experienced in everyday life?

3. How does gender perform you? Consider the discussions of attractiveness, objectification theory, eating disorders and body image.

4. What are the primary ways in which persons have “refused the command performance”? Are there any ways in which you have refused a command performance?


7: October 2, 4: Institutions

Ch 6

De Nies, Yunji, & Springer, Andrew. (2011, April 25). McDonald's Beating Caught on Tape: Was it a Hate Crime? Good Morning America. Retrieved from

Kimmel, Michael. (2000). The gender of violence. The Gendered Society. New York: Oxford University Press. on e Learning


Oct 2: RR possible

October 4: Gendered Lens Analysis of the Intersectional Self due -- remember to use Turnitin

institutionalized racism, institutionalized sexism, institution, cultural hegemony, cultural ideology, twelve characteristics of social institutions, hegemonic masculinity, institutional violence

1. What is privilege? Can you identify ways in which your sex, gender, race, sexual orientation, or able-body privileges you?

2. How do institutions wield power? What are cultural ideology and cultural hegemony?

3. What is institutionalized gendered/sexed violence? What evidences of it did you discover? Is it necessary to address violence in our study of gender in communication? Why?

4. What is hegemonic masculinity? How does it relate to an institutional focus in the study of gender in communication?

8: October 9, 11: midterm week October 9: in class prep October 11 midterm    
9: October 16, 18: Family

Ch 7

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: Coontz, Stephnie. (2006, February 23). "Traditional" marriage has changed a lot [Guest column]. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved from


Coontz, Stephanie. (2005). The evolution of matrimony: The changing social context of marriage. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 8(4), 30+. Retrieved from Academic OneFile.


Bolick, Kate. (2011, November). All the single ladies. Atlantic. Retrieved from

Option 2: Poisson, Jayme. (2011, May 21). Parents keep child's gender secret. Retreived from on eLearning


Bloom, Lisa. (2011, Jue 22). How to talk to little girls. Retrieved from

New: Tuttle-Singer, Sarah. (2012, September 27). My son the corss-dresser. Offbeat Mama.

Oct 16: RR possible

October 16: Family artifact analysis due

  • Amber M.
  • Alyssa J.
gender roles, gender role socialization, gendered social scripts, nuclear family, true womanhood, family values, the second shift, compulsory heterosexuality, social learning and modeling, social accountability, militant motherhood, heteronormativity, demand/withdrawal conflict pattern, common couple violence, emancipatory families, engaged fatherhood

1. What evidences do the authors give to illustrate the claim: ”families and gender are so intertwined that it is impossible to understand one without reference to the other. Families are not merely influenced by gender; rather families are organized by gender” (from Haddock, Zimmerman, and Lyness, 2003, p. 304)

2. What is a nuclear family, how did the concept become and remain so powerful, and why is it important to understand in our study of gender in family according to the authors? Do you agree or disagree and why?

3. What is compulsory heterosexuality? Why is it important when analyzing gendered/sexed family communication?

4. What are some ways in which communication among adult friends and lovers tend to construct gender?


10: October 23, 25: Education

Ch 8

Talbot, Margaret. (2002, February 24). Girls Just want to be mean. New York Times Magazine, 24-29+. on e Learning

Polkadot: A gender non-binary children's book web page

Oct 23: RR possible

October 23: Education artifact analysis due

  • Lindsay Ga.
  • Mandy C.
  • Jill C.
hidden curriculum, hegemonic ways of knowing, epistemology, feminist epistemology, same-sex education, peer pressure, bullying, sexual harassment, stalking, emancipatory education, gender/sex sensitive education model, connected teaching

1. What are some ways in which education constructs and constrains gender? Can you offer examples of any of these from your own educational experiences?

2. Single-sex education is a hot topic in the media, particularly with President Bush’s ruling October 18, 2006, to relax standards for Title IX compliance to allow for more single-sex programs. What are the pros and cons of single-sex education? Why do you think this is a hot topic in media and education institutions?

11: October 30, November 1: Work

Ch 9

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1:

Slaughter, Anne Marie. (2012, July/August). Why women still can't have it all. The Atlantic.


The Atlantic's "Women can't have it all" manifesto: The backlash. (2012, June 26). The


Fishman, Charlotte. (2005, Ocotber 19). Mothers at work are canaries in the mine. Retrieved from

and Mitchell, Pat. (2012, August 3). The questions women who work should be asking. Huff Post Women. Retrieved from http://

Option 2: Marin, Rick, & Dokupil,Tony. (2011, April 17). Dead suit walking. Newsweek. Retrieved from

Oct 30: RR possible

October 30 Work artifact analysis due

  • Makenzie Z.
  • Tyler A.
  • Kyle M.
off-ramping, gendered organizations, critical organizational communication perspectives, work/family tensions, maternity leave as benefit, pregnancy as disability, emotions as social discursive constructions, globalization, sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment, care work, stratified labor market, girl watching as part of hegemonic masculinity, conflation of sex and gender

1. Often, when women who are primary caregivers use day care, they are seen as bad mothers. Why is it putting a child in daycare does not make a man a bad father? Discuss the way this gives insight into the existence of double standards and the way motherhood figures into women’s identity differently than fatherhood does into men’s.

2. Do you agree that organizations are masculinized? Why or why not?

3. Throughout the chapter, we describe ways in which African American women, in particular have created emancipatory strategies to survive and thrive in the work place. What are some of these strategies?

12: November 6, 8: Religion

Ch 10

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: Chloe. (2011, May 12). Female genital cutting: a rite, a torture, or both? [Web log post].


Samhita. (2011, April 14). The limits of a WOC feminist stance within the context of global racism [Web log post].

Option 2: Blake, Meredith. (June 12, 2012). Late night: Stephen Colbert defends "radical feminist" Catholic nuns. Los Angeles Times. (Make sure to watch both embedded videos) link

For more background, see:

Apostolic visitation of institutes of women religious in the United States. link


Congregatio Pro Doctrina Fidei. (2012). Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. on eLearning


Nadeau, Barbie Latza. (2012, April 20). Nuns gone wild! Vatican Chastises American sisters. The Daily Beast. link


Winfield, Nicole. (2012, June 12). Vatican says US nuns must promote Church teachings. link


Nov 6: RR possible

November 6: Religion artifact analysis due

  • Lindsay Gi.
  • Tessa B.
  • Morgan D.
institutionalized religion, spirituality, spiritual equality/social equality, civil religion, reappropriating religion, muscular Christianity, veiling practices, locations of constraint, locations of empowerment

1. Why is it necessary to understand relationships between spiritual equality and social equality?

2. What are some ways in which religion constructs and constrains gender?

3. What are some ways in which religion has liberated and/or empowered persons or groups?

4. . What is Muscular Christianity? Offer some examples.

13: November 13 (NCA), 15 (NCA):

Watch Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes and Sext Up Kids


Nov 16: RR possible -- this RR should be in reaction to one (1) of the videos, and should be emailed to me by 5pm on Nov 16.  


14: November 20, 22: Thanksgiving Break        
15: November 27, 29: Media

Ch 11

Fortini, Amanda. (2008, November 24). "The "bitch" and the "ditz". New York, 30-34. e Learning

Samhita. Behind every strong man, there is an even stronger Beyonce [Web log post]. Watch the featured video: "Lies"

Miss Representation facebook page

Miss Representation website

Galli, Anya. (2011, July 22). Constructing gender in advertising/sport: Adidas commercial. The Sociological Cinema.

GRAD: Renegar, Valerie, & Sowards, Stacey. (2009, Spring). Contradiction as agency: Self-determination, transcendence, and counter-imagination in Third Wave Feminism. Hypatia, 24(2), 1-20. on eLearning

Nov 27: RR possible

November 27 Media artifact analysis due

  • Kendra P.
  • Ricky H.
  • Brittany R.
culture industries, media products are ephemeral, popular culture and media present inescapable levels of contradiction, commercial media, noncommercial or subsidized media, hegemony, polysemy/polysemous, polyvalence/polyvalent, U.S. hegemonic masculinity, media content analysis, media effects studies, the gaze, ways of seeing, oppositional gaze, gender is in flux, re-securing gender’s borders

1. Can you think of ways in which individual agency (or gender) is commodified and sold (Goldman, Heath, & Smith, 1991; Talbot, 1998)?

2. In what ways does “television ‘mak[e] present in public’ a vocabulary that prefers the dominant audience’s interests”?

3. Do media representations of romance normalize violence?

4. What are some ways in which media interlocks with other institutions? What does this interlocking suggest about the role of media in society?

5. What are “the gaze/s” and “oppositional gaze”? How might this be a useful tool in your critical gender lens toolkit?

16: December 4, 6: One Last Look

Ch 12

GRAD: Shome, Raka. (1996, February). Postcolonial interventions in the rhetorical canon: An "other" view. Communication Theory, 6(1), 40-59. on eLearning

Some other interesting links (you do not need to read, I just wanted to create a central site for them:

war on men

Kimmel responds

Colbert responds to war on men




Dec 4: last chance to turn in a visual artifact

Dec 4: RR possible

globalization, gender diversity, what a focus on differences ignores, personal gender/sex politics

1. What are the limits of a differences approach to the study of gender in communication?

2. Raka Shome and Rada Hegde make clear that the effect of globalization is not to make the category of identity disappear. Instead, one should focus on “how identity becomes a matter of struggle” (p. 179). In other words, not only is identity itself complex, but identity alone is not the only axis of power. Given this, can you identify instances in which identity has become a matter of struggle?

3. Where do locations of gender domination exist in a globalized world?

17: December 12: Final exam period:
December 12, 1-2:50 p.m. Wednesday
  Final Exam