COMM 4346:01 Gender Issues in Communication

Fall 2015, Tuesday/Thursday 11:00-12:15   Lang 345

UNDER CONSTRUCTION last updated August 21, 2015

Instructor: Catherine H. Palczewski, Ph.D.
Office: Lang Hall 341
Office hours:
Tuesday: 2:00-4:00
Thursday: 2:00-4:30, 7:50-8:20
no office hours September 15, 17; October 20, 22
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 and Danielle Dick McGeough, who also teach 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 learn how such expectations serve to limit behavior for all people. 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 performed. 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, Catherine Helen Palczewski, and Danielle Dick McGeough. Gender in Communication, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2014). Note: all royalties from the sale of this book to UNI students are donated to a scholarship fund for UNI students

Strongly Recommended Texts

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

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. Some opinions may just indicate a preference (like for purple over green), but other opinions are about emperically verifiable events in the world. 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 can be 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 should be stowed away when class begins.


Assignment Due Date Point worth
1. Gendered Lens Self Analysis October 15 (note, changed from 8) 10
2. Gender Analysis of Institutional Artifacts Possible Dates: October 27; November 3, 10, 17; December 1 10
3. Reading Responses

Possible dates: At least 2 from: September  1, 8, 22, 29; October 6, 13. At least 2 from October 27; November 3, 10, 17; December 1. Required date: September 18.

5 @ 2 pts. each
4. Midterm October 22 15
5a. Final exam (written) December 17, 10:00-11:50 a.m. Thursday 20
5b. Final exam (oral) December 17, 10:00-11:50 a.m. Thursday 5
6. Visual artifact before or on December 8. 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 assignment 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.

1) Gendered Lens Analysis of the Intersectional Self: [10 points]. (5 pages). Apply course readings and class discussion to reflexively identify and examine the social construction of your own gender identity. Include specific observations and descriptions from your life. Explore how your sex, race, class, religion, citizenship, age, etc. intersect with your gender. In other words, do not only identify the identity categories to which you belong, but also explore how you perform identity given those ingredients. 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.

Although this paper is short, it is worth 1/10th of your final grade and, thus, should reflect a proportional amount of work. It 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.

Due: October 15 (note, changed from 8)

2) Gender Analysis of Institutional Artifacts: [10 points]. (5 pages). A sign up sheet for institutions will be distributed in the early weeks of the class. 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 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 or it sexual assault reporting policy; 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 use of a gendered lens expand, alter or inform your analysis?

C) Does this act of communication matter and, if so, what change to it 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 27; November 3, 10, 17; December 1

Although this paper is short, it is worth 1/10th of your final grade and, thus, should reflect a proportional amount of work. It 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. Remember to use TurnItIn.

3) Reading responses (RR): [5 responses at 2 points each] The goal of these 2 page papers (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 respond to chapters 1-6.

Possible due dates for first set: September 1, 8, 22, 29; October 6, 13.

2 of the responses should respond to chapters 7-12.

Possible due dates for second set: October 27; November 3, 10, 17; December 1

1 response should be to one or more of the videos shown September 15 and 17. Due September 18

FORMAT FOR CHAPTER RESPONSE: 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 ______.

FORMAT FOR VIDEO RESPONSE: For the video response, please follow this format.

On September 15 and 17, you will watch some videos. On September 18(friday) you must turn in a RR that is in response to one (or more than one) of the videos. Email the RR to me by 5pm on September 18.

1. Concisely state a main point of the video or how two or more videos may disagree.

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 22.

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" (LearnVest. (2912, June 28). 7 ways you're hurting your daughter's future. link)
  • "How to Talk to Little Boys" as a corrollary to "How to Talk to Little Girls" (Bloom, Lisa. (2011, Jue 22). How to talk to little girls. Retrieved from
  • "Cowgirl Country 2012" (see Rebecca Traister. (2011, January 21). Cowgirl country. New York Times. Retrieved from or "xxxx Country" (whatever you think is happening in election 2016)
  • "What if dude xxx posed like lady xxx" (this one would require a visual, as well as written, component)
  • "Ten more words every girl should learn" or "Ten words every boy should learn" as a corrollary to "10 words every girl should learn."

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 or popular culture literature
  • 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. You should use 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: 10:00-11:50 a.m. Thursday, December 17

6) Visual Artifact: [10 points]. Pick a concept, example or passage from Gender in Communication 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 unless cleared with me first). 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 29 can receive up to 10 points.

Examples turned in before November 19 can receive up to 9 points.

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

Due date: Any time during the semester before the end of class on December 8.

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 25, 27: Introduction to studying gender/sex in communication


Ch 1

McDermott, Maeve. (2015, July 23). Voices: Swift, Minaj VMAs feud about more than music. USA Today.

Keane, Erin. (2014, July 22). 10 questions Taylor Swift could have asked herself before picking a fight with Nicki Minaj. Salon.



gender fluidity
gender queer
sexual orientation
socioeconomic class
violence continuum

1. What is intersectionality? Because people are unique intersectional beings, given their sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, class, physical ability, and more, how will the concept of intersectionality inform your specific approach to the 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: September 1, 3: Theories of gender/sex --biological and psychological approaches

Ch 2 pp. 27-41

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

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

Sept 1 RR possible

biological determinism
biological theories
cognitive development
psychoanalytic theories
psychological theories
social learning
social reality
stereotype threat

1. What expectations do you have for appropriate gender-related behaviors? Where do you think these expectations come from? What are your underlying theories about gender given what you have identified as the sources of gender?

2. How do biological theories explain the formation of gender and its role in communication?

3. How do psychological theories (psychoanalytic theory, social learning theory, cognitive development theory) explain the formation of gender and its role in communication?

3: September 8, 10: Theories of gender/sex -- critical cultural approaches

Ch 2 pp. 41-53

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

Sept 8: RR possible


critical/cultural theories
gender diversity persp.
queer theory

1. How do critical/cultural theories explain the formation of gender and its role in communication?

4: September 15, 17 (FAU): video interlude

in class, watch:

Martin, Russell, & Nibley, Lydia. (Producers). (2010). Two Spirits [DVD]. Available from (54:00)

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi . (2009, July). The danger of a single story [Ted talk]. Available from (18:49)

Wright, iO Tillett. (2012, December). Fifty shades of gay [Ted talk]. Available from (18:18)

Dreger, Alice. (2010, December). Is anatomy destiny? [Ted talk]. vailable from (18.48)

Sept 18: RR required



5: September 22, 24: Gendered/Sexed Voices

Ch 3

you have the following options for additional readings:

From upsoeak to vocal fry: Are we 'policing' young women's voices? (2015, July 23). Fresh Air. NPR. listen or read


Option 1: Wolk, Lesley, Abdelli-Beruh, Nassima B., & Slavin, Dianne. (2011). Habitual use of vocal fry in young adult female speakers. Journal of Voice, 26(3): 111-116.


Option 2: Anderson, Rindy, C., Klofstad, Casey A., Mayew, William J., Venkatachalam, Mohan. (2014). Vocal fry may undermine the success of young women in the labor market. Plos One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097506

Sept 22: RR possible

“doing gender”
communication context
conversation work
conversational style
critical ethnographic app.
critical research criteria
identity work
rapport talk
relationship work
report talk
two-culture app.

1. Have you observed the construction of gender through conversation in classrooms? At work? In social groups? In church? In your family? Describe them.

2. Describe your own conversational style and ask a friend to describe it as well. Look for similarities and differences in your descriptions. Do either of you include assumptions about gender, race, or class? If so, which identities are noted and which are not? Why not? What can you learn from this activity about your gender identity and performance via conversation?

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

4. 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?


6: September 29, October 1: Gendered/sexed bodies

Ch 4

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: Serena Williams

Desmond-Harris, Jenée. (2015, June 7). Every Serena Williams win comes with a side of disgusting racism and sexism. Vox.

Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem. (2015, July 20). Body shaming black femake athletes in not just about race. Time.

Option 2: Superheroes: JOS. (2012, May 9). What if dude superheroes posed like lady superheroes [Web log message]. Retrieved from


Romano, Aja. (2015, May 11). Marvel's toy line just erased Black Widow from her own scene in "Age of Ultron." The Daily Dot.

Option 3: "handsome revolution project"

Nichols, JamesMichael. (2015, May 31). "Handsome revolution project" documents the spectrum of masculinity. HuffPost.

Sept 29: RR possible

bodily communication
body movement
body privilege
body surveillance
disciplining gender
embodied space
gender performativity
gendered attractiveness
refusing the command



1. Have you heard of or experienced the claims of “throwing like a girl” before?

2. Do you agree with Whitehead that men do not tend to experience their bodies in this guarded way?  Why/why not?

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

4. Identify examples of how objectification is present in your everyday life.

5. Do you note any common themes in the research attractiveness, clothing trends, embodied space, and movement?  Explain.

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

7: October 6, 8: Gendered/sexed language

Ch 5

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: Desmond-Harris, Jenée. (2015, June 11). Why I'm finally convinced it's time to stop saying "you guys." Retrieved from 

Option 2: Rollins, Lisa Marie. (2015, June 14). Transracial lives matter: Rachel Dolezal and the privilege of racial manipulation. Lost Daughters. (spaking for others/speaking as others)

Option 3: Vagianos, Alanna. (2015, April 23). Laci Green on the problem with reclaiming the word "bitch". HuffPost.


Peterson, Britt. (2015, April). Meet the new bitch. The Atlantic.


October 6: RR possible


de-verbing of woman
developing a new lang.
falsely universal we
he/man language
lack of vocabulary
language as violence
marked terms
moving over
muted group theory
patriarchal univ. of disc.
rhetorics of difference
semantic derogation
semantic imbalance
semantic polarization
sexual harassment
strategic essentialism
talking back
terministic screens
truncated passives

1.   The authors argue language can oppress and liberate. Why is recognizing both the liberatory and oppressive potential of language important?

2.   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?

3.   Do you think resignification is possible? Why or why not? Why would some groups or people choose such a strategy?

4.   What do the authors mean on when they say, “People literally speak and perform their bodies and identities into being”?



8: October 13, 15: Institutions

Ch 6

Angyal, Chloe. (2015, June 22). I don't want to be an excuse for racist violence anymore. New Republic.

Bianco, Marcie. (2015, January 22). The male virginity myth is getting women killed--so why is nobody talking about it?



Oct 13: RR possible

October 15: Gendered Lens Analysis of the Intersectional Self due -- remember to use Turnitin

cultural ideology
institutionalized disc.
institutionalized viol.
social institutions

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. Why is an institutional approach to gender in communication important?

9: October 20, 22: midterm week

October 20: in class prep


Oct 20: midterm prep

October 22: midterm




10: October 27, 29: 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.

Option 2: Prevost, Chad. (2015, May 7). Why this is the end of the dumb dad era. The Washington Post.


Shifflett, Shane, Peck, Emily, & Scheller, Alissa. (2015, May 13). The states with the most stay-at-home fathers. HuffPost.

Oct 27 : RR possible

October 27 : Family artifact analysis due

  •  Laura S.
  •  Michael N.
  •  Avary B.

coercive controlling vio.
demand/withdrawal patt.
domestic violence
gender role scripts
gender/sex roles
nuclear family
situational couple vio.
violent resistance

1.   What evidences do the authors give to illustrate Haddock et al.’s (2003) 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” (p. 304).

2.   Does studying family as a social institution affect the way you reflect on your own family experience?  If so, how?

3.   How does family construct and constrain gender?

4.         Why are friendships and dating included in a chapter on the family as a social institution?
11: November 3, 5: Education

Ch 8

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: Miller, Claire Cain. (2015, February 6). Is the professor bossy or brilliant? Much depends on gender. The New York Times.


Gendered language in teacher reviews. (n.d.). [Interactive website -- make sure you type in a few terms).

Option 2: Berlatsky, Noah. (2014, June 6). How boys teach each other to be boys. The Atlantic.

Option 3: Valenti, Miranda. (2013, May 24). What do dress codes say about girls' bodies? Ms. Magazine.

Option 4: Thompson, Nanette. (2015, March 5). Transgender students learn to navigate school halls. NPR.

November 3: RR possible

November 3: Educationartifact analysis due

  • Miranda S.
  • Kevin L.
  • Danielle W.
  • Morgann D.
  • Walter A.

connected teaching
emancipatory ed.
gender-relevant mod.
gender-sensitive mod.
gender-specific mod.
hidden curriculum
peer pressure

1. Do your own review of “Rate My Professor” (or a similar on-line tool). Do you see indicators that professors are being assessed according to binary gender expectations and stereotypes?

2. Find out the number of women, men, White, and racial or ethnic minority tenure-track faculty versus adjunct temporary faculty on your campus. How many are in higher administration on your campus. What do the results suggest about the gendered/sexed climate for faculty on your campus? How might this affect your educational experience outside and inside the classroom?

3. What are some ways in which the institution of education has constructed and constrained gender? Can you offer examples of any of these from your own educational experiences?

4. How has bullying and sexual harassment affected your educational experience or others you know?


12: November 10, 12: Work

Ch 9

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: Carpenter, Julia. (2015, July 6). Google's algorithm shows prestigious job ads to men, but not to women. Here's why that should worry you. The Washington Post.


Cohn, Emily. (2015, April 10). Google Image search has a gender bias problem. HuffPost.

Option 2: O'Connor, Lydia. (2015, May 13). Women have a brilliant response to city's sexist training on how to deal with women. HuffPost.

Option 3: Miller, Claire Cain. (2015, March 12). The Keliner Perkins lawsuit, and rethinking the confidence-driven workplace. The New York Times.


Grant, Adam, & Sandberg, Sheryl. (2015, February 6). Madam C.E.O., get me a coffee. The New York Times.


Nov 10: RR possible

November 10: work artifact analysis due

  • Mel M.
  • Tucker O.
  • Taylor J.
  • Kinsey A.


critical organizational communication
girl watching
hostile work env.
paid care work
quid pro quo
sexual harassment
work/family tensions

1. Often, when women who are primary caregivers use day care, they are seen as bad mothers.

-Why is it that putting a child in daycare does not make a man a bad father?
-Discuss how this gives insight into the existence of double standards.
- Does motherhood influence women’s identity differently than fatherhood influences men’s identity? If so, how so? If not, why?

2. Apply Acker’s (1990) five reasons gender in organizations should be studied by identifying examples in this chapter to illustrate each reason. What does this reveal? 

3. What does it mean to say that the institution of work should be studied in the larger context of capitalism and consumerism? What is gained from this analysis? What questions remain?


13: November 17, 19: Religion

Ch 10

you have the following options for additional readings:

Option 1: Blumberg, Antonia. (2015, April 22). Former "Real World" star thinks Christianity has become too "femnized." HufPost.


Nov 17: RR possible

November 17: work artifact analysis due

  • Aaron R.
  • Ray B.
  • Jayme O.
  • Hunter C.


institutionalized religion
muscular Christianity
spiritual equality
veiling practices

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

2.   What “gendered communication principles, practices, and structures” of religion construct and constrain gender?

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

4.   Using the critical gendered lens of a world traveller, how might you compare some of your own religious traditions to the traditions of other faiths?

14: November 24, 26: Thanksgiving Break        
15: December 1, 3: Media

Ch 11

Option 1: NPR Staff. (2015, April 18). Wordless ads speak volumes in "Unbranded" images of women. National Public Radio. (listen to story, too).

Option 2: Valenti, Jessica. (2015, March 30). Social media is protecting men from periods, breast milk and body hair. The Guardian.

December 1: RR possible

December 1 Media artifact analysis due 

  • Katie H.
  • Kallista B.
  • Tomi F.
  • Kelsey G.
  • Ingrid F.


oppositional gaze
the gaze
U.S. hegemonic masc.
ways of seeing

1. The next time you watch a television show or movie, keep a record of:
            *the characters with whom you identify
            *the characters you want to emulate or be
            *the character you find attractive

What does this tell you about your gaze? Through whose eyes are you watching? Using an oppositional gaze, what might you see differently?

2. The next time you watch TV, go to a movie, play a videogame, or read a magazine, count the number of times characters are sexualized. How many times are women and men presented in a way that make sexuality their primary attribute? Are there examples of women characters whose sexuality is completely irrelevant to her identity? Are there examples of men?

3. What messages do the media you read and watch give you about masculinity. Is masculinity secure and certain? Is it something that is natural? Is it something that can only be maintained through action? If so, what actions must be taken?

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


16: December 8, 10: One Last Look

Ch 12

Belinky, Biju. (2015, April). Teen feminsts changing the world in 2015. Dazed.

Henn, Steve, & Jiang, Jess. (2015, April 8). A 12-year-old girl takes on the video game industry. National Public Radio.




Dec 8: last chance to turn in a visual artifact




17: December 17: Final exam period:
December 17, 10:00-11:50 a.m. Thursday
  Final Exam, remember to use TurnItIn