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6289:01 Graduate Seminar in Women’s and Gender Studies: Comparative
Feminist Theories

Spring 2014, Tu 5:30-8:20 Lang 346

Instructor information:

  • Catherine H. Palczewski, Ph.D.
  • Office: Lang Hall 341
  • Phone: (319) 273-2714
  • Mailbox: Lang Hall 326
  • e-mail: palczewski@uni.edu;
  • Office hours:
    • Spring 2014 office hours:
    • Tues: 2:00-5:00, 8:20-8:50
    • Weds: 2:00-3:00, 8:20-8:50
    • Thurs: 2:00-3:00
    • No office hours February 20-21, March 27-28, April 1, 10-11
    • If these times do not work, feel free to call (319.273.2714) or email to make an appointment.
Acknowledgements: This syllabus is informed by the work of many faculty in the WGS program, including: Phyllis Baker, Barbara Cutter, Victoria DeFrancisco, Cynthia Goatley, Deidre Heisted, Catherine MacGillivray, Jennifer Waldron (and the graduate committee), and Martie Reineke.
New information will appear in pink assignment due dates are in red links are in purple and blue


Course Description:

This seminar typically is taken during the first semester of the Women's Studies Master's Program at UNI. The course is taught from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The course is composed of two parts, although they at times may occur synchronically. In the first part, we focus on feminist readings from a variety of disciplines that address comparative feminisms. That this issue is addressed first demonstrates the importance Women's and Gender Studies places on the study of feminism to include global issues, as well as race, class, and other social identities. The writings of diverse women (e.g. women of color, lesbians, "third world" women, and working-class women) demonstrate that gender cannot be studied separately from the other social categories and that these categories create unique oppressions, privileges, and experiences.

In the second part, faculty in such areas as sociology, history, English, philosophy and religion, and communication studies will visit to provide further interdisciplinary perspectives as they share their research and teaching tied to gender, race, and class. The course is intended to acquaint students with "cutting edge" research in women's studies through representative readings across a broad spectrum of disciplinary approaches. Students also are strongly encouraged to attend the monthly Current Research on Women (CROW) Forum at UNI to gain more exposure to faculty work. Through these means, students will become acquainted with faculty with whom they might choose to study further.

Throughout the course, each student focuses on choosing, articulating, and justifying her or his unique stance as a scholar. At the conclusion of the semester, each student should be prepared to express in written form her or his own understanding of what it means for her or him to be a feminist scholar or a scholar who conducts research on gender from a women's and gender studies perspective as part of a larger prospectus for the MA thesis. Questions each student addresses include: who one studies, what one studies, how one studies (methodological issues), as whom one studies, and why one studies women/gender. This document serves subsequently as a theoretical foundation to the thesis project.

This course typically is a part of a two-semester sequence (part two is one credit in the spring semester). At the conclusion, students should be well on their way to achieving focus in the program that will enable them to choose their elective courses and a thesis topic. Part one offers theoretical and writing experience, part two offers research skill development and application. Meetings in the research class will be to share progress reports and problem-solve on student projects, to include design, data collection, analysis, and writing. At the conclusion of the two-part seminar, students should have a solid base for their thesis project.

Course Objectives:

1. To provide a comparative approach to feminist theory which exposes students to some of the recent literature in feminist theory from different areas of the world. Special attention will be paid to issues of race, class, and gender, and the intersections between these three categories of analysis in our study of feminist theories throughout the semester.

2. To provide a solid theoretical base for the M.A. degree, encompassing a variety of feminist theories and methodologies.

3. To provide a common base for inquiry and reflection among all M.A. students in their first year of course-work.

4. To support students in their discovery of their own specific research interests in women's and gender studies, to prepare them for choosing an area of interest for their culminating project.

6. To promote the development of each student’s voice as a scholar and to improve each student’s command of a writing style that may be used throughout the M.A. career.

7. To promote active learning and a sense of responsibility for and ownership of one’s education.

Required Texts:

Reading linked to the syllabus and/or provided by instructor

Style Manual (one that is from your academic discipline)

Carole R. McCann and Seung-kyung Kim, eds. Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2013. (FTR)

readings posted on eLearning


Sonya Andermahr, Terry Lovell and Carol Wolkowitz, A Concise Glossary of Feminist Theory. London: Arnold, 1997.

Timeline project link

Course Requirements

TurnItIn requirement: For all written assignments, 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. TheTurnItIn link for each assignment is located in the folder labeled turnitin. 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. Given this process, there will be ZERO TOLERANCE for any citation or paraphrase errors that result in you plagiarizing (presenting others' words as your own). Even a minor infraction will result in a zero on the assignment and a permanent letter placed in your file. A major infraction will result in an F for the class.

Assignments due date point worth
1B NWSA proposal February 4 10
1A1 topic search January 28 5
1A2 introduction February 18 5
1A3 literature review March 11 5
1A4 method April 1 5
1A5 final prospectus May 6 30
2 peer editing 10 items throughout term 10
3 presentation May 76 10
4 discussion every class session 20

1. Written Assignments: Bring three (3) copies to turn in of each paper (2 for peer editing and 1 for me). If you experience writer's block, check out this link.

A. Culminating project prospectus assignments (5 points) on a topic of your choice: Whether one chooses the thesis or applied track in the graduate program, learning to successfully write proposals is essential. This assignment is designed to help students become more proficient in meeting the stringent demands of writing for graduate education and in conceptualizing a project that either requires original research or is informed by scholarly research. As the graduate committee explains, "The purpose of a culminating project prospectus is to provide the student’s committee members with a focused description of the proposed project. . . . The prospectus allows the committee to determine the soundness of the proposed project, to ensure it meets expectations for Master’s level work, and to make suggestions for improvement. . . . The prospectus also represents a contract with the committee regarding the scope of the project, the method, and the timeline. . . .The prospectus should be professionally written, double-spaced, and follow an appropriate format (e.g., APA, MLA)." (50 points total)

(1) Exhaustive topic search, with printouts of all searches attached (this could be a very large stack). Due January 28. The cover page should:

a) Identify the bibliographic format used (APA, MLA, or Chicago). The cover page/s also should include a practice bibliography that YOU type that includes sample citations. I want to make sure everyone knows how to do citations forms for typical sources. Thus, you need to include bibliographic entries for at least one of each of the following (even if you are not citing it yet):

1. book

2. book chapter from an edited collection

3. newspaper article (if electronically accessed, correct form for that should be included)

4. magazine article (if electronically accessed, correct form for that should be included)

5. scholarly journal article (if electronically accessed, correct form for that should be included)

6. web source

b) list the names of research data-bases consulted

c) list key words/key terms used in searches (this should include multiple key terms, and some topics will require searches on multiple topics)

d) identify preliminary research question, hypothesis, argument, or internship/project description

e) project specific elements:

1. thesis: identify potential committee members and chair (in other words, do research on the UNI webpage to find experts in the method and subject area on campus)

2. internship: idenitfy a range (10 or more) of internships or places that might be convinced to have an intern

(2) Culminating project prospectus introduction [3 pages] (5 points) . The clarity and strength of any good paper, prospecti included, begins with its introduction. The purpose of this assignment is to teach you how to develop a rationale for your academic work. To do so, students will identify a thesis/applied project of interest and conduct a preliminary review of previous research to identify the current state of knowledge on the topic.

A. For a thesis, identify what you will try to add to the scholarly conversation. As the graduate committee explains, "Having a clear and focused purpose or goal is the first step to a strong thesis. In this section, students should answer the following questions.

  1. What is the topic of the thesis?
  2. What is the format of the thesis (e.g., data-based study, textual analysis, creative work)?
  3. Why is conducting the thesis important? How does it add to the specific sub-discipline? What will we learn from it that we don’t already know?"

B. For an internship, identify three possible internships. As the graduate committee explains, "students will highlight 3 internship opportunities they are committed to pursuing. The Chair of the Committee will determine when (i.e., the date) the student has to finalize the internship site. In other words, although this prospectus is due on a specific date, your Chair will let you know when you need to decide on one internship site." Also provide a rationale for why these choices made your final list. As the graduate committee explains, "Having a clear and focused internship idea, as well as a clear and focused purpose or goal, are the first steps to a strong internship project. In this section, students should answer the following questions.

  1. What is the purpose of the internship experience? Make sure to clarify its connection to either the Gender and Wellness or the Violence Prevention track. What do you hope to accomplish through the internship experience (applying theory to practice; programming; working with a specific population; non-profit work; etc.)?

  2. What original contribution  do you anticipate making to the internship site? This original contribution could include, assembling information for a grant application, analyzing an existing program, assessing future needs for additional programming, or preparing documentation for advocacy.

  3. Why is the internship project important? How does it help develop your career goals?

The introduction does not need to describe the specifics of the proposed project yet. But, it should clearly define the central concepts relating to what the student plans to study (either experientially or through original research) and provide a strong rationale for this focus. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with the instructor and likely committee members to help refine the focus of study. Due February 18

(3) Culminating project prospectus literature review OR annotated bibliography (5 points). The purposes of this assignment are to conduct more in-depth research for the prospectus assignment, to enhance skills in obtaining and analyzing research, and to refine academic writing skills. You have the option of completing an annotated bibliography or a literature review. Due March 11

A. Literature review (4 pages). You will review numerous scholarly publications and write a "review of the literature" paper that synthesizes and critically analyzes the studies cited in terms of their content and methods used to construct knowledge. The conclusion will summarize the state of knowledge found on the given topic, identify limitations of the research, and future research/application needs. From the review, the student will propose specific a research question(s), hypotheses, or project on the basis of the existing research (what is the next step in research, or how should this research be applied and tested?). Thus, this is not simply a review that strings together summaries of multiple studies. The student’s voice should help the reader make meaning of the information available. Link for detailed literature review description.

B. Annotated bibliography.

Format: Each entry in an annotated bibliography has two parts: 1) citation: a complete and correctly formatted bibliographic citation for each entry, and 2) annotation paragraph (approximately 250 words). The entries should be alphabetized. The citations should follow the format you are using (APA, MLA, Chicago). The citation and paragraph should NOT be separated by a line, although the paragraph should start on the line down from the citation. The citation should be formatted with a hanging indent. The paragraph should be flush with the indent.

Content: An annotated bibliography asks you to make sense of the existing scholarly literature given your own interests. Thus, DO NOT JUST CUT AND PASTE ABSTRACTS. Instead, you should

  • describe the main argument/conclusion and the method used to reach that conclusion,
  • analyze the conclusion's strength (e.g., is sufficient evidence provided to support the conclusion; was the method appropriate to the question; does the author essentialize women; does the author conflate sex, gender, and sexuality)
  • interpret its meaning (locate the argument and its author in the ongoing scholarly or activist conversation), and
  • decide about its utility to your project.

What follows are preliminary plans outlined by the graduate committee for what would be included in a prospectus.

1. Thesis track: "20 references in the approved format (e.g., APA, MLA) as well as a brief (approximately 250 word) description of the work or reference." References should all be from scholarly sources.

2. Applied track: "10 references in the approved format (e.g., APA, MLA) as well as a brief (approximately 250 words) description of the work. It is critical that the internship project draw upon previous scholarly literature. For example, if you have a programming idea for your internship site, some of your references should contain literature showing that this type of programming has been helpful in similar agencies." This bibliography also can include theory works that can help you think reflexively about the project. References should all be from scholarly sources.

(4) Culminating project methods/project plan and timeline section [4 pages] (5 points). The timeline shouldspan two semesters. The design will vary with the nature of the proposal, but basically it should clearly detail for the reader the steps the student plans to take to construct/apply knowledge on the topic of choice. Due April 1

A. Thesis method section: Based on what you learned from writing the rationale and review of the literature, you will design an appropriate study to propose for an original thesis. For social scientific theses, the paper begins by restating the research questions and/or hypotheses. For humanistic theses, the paper begins by identifying the main argument to be advanced. Justify your choice of method as the best way to answer the questions, test the hypotheses, or prove your agument. The body of a social science method section includes three basic parts: description of how you will amass participants, plans for data collection, and plans for data analysis. A humanistic method would outline how you will select texts for study and justify their selection. If the proposal includes interviews or surveys, an appendix is needed with proposed questions to be asked and all IRB paperwork filled out (do NOT submit the IRB forms; just complete drafts of them).

****To complete this assignment, you must turn in a copy of your IRB form (regardless of whether you are doing a study that requires IRB approval).

****If you are planning a study that requires IRB approval (meaning it includes participants), the proposal must include an appendix with an application to the Graduate College for Human Participants Review. The proposal need not be submitted.

B. Applied track: For internships, justify your choice of project and explain how you will go about completing the project. In other words, your timeline will be more detailed than for the thesis option. As the graduate committee explains, "The timeline should be as detailed as possible, and will provide structure to the process for the student as well as for the student’s committee. Included in this section should be what students will do on a regular basis to complete the internship project. The process can be broken into chunks or segments (e.g., finding an internship, preparing for the internship, applying theory-to-practice, drafts of writing, defense preparation, etc.)."

(5) Final prospectus, including items 2-4 above [10-13 pages OR 7 pages plus annotated bibliography] (30 points). The purpose of this assignment is to provide an opportunity for revision and to enhance skills in “making meaning” of research results. Based on feedback from the instructor and peers, the student will collapse and revise the previous introduction/rationale, literature review and methods assignments into one coherent research proposal/prospectus. To fill out the full 15 pages, students should do additional research for the intro, lit review, and methods, lengthening those sections. You will still need a conclusion for the prospectus. The conclusion would outline the final paper (or detail the chapters of the thesis), discuss the limits of the project, and begin to predict areas for future research. In this model, you would not advance your likely results/conclusions. If you want to practice writing research paper (and not just prospectus) conclusions you could predict possible results from the proposed research design, detail the study's limits, discuss what these results might mean for researchers and practitioners, and offer suggestions for further studies based on the possibleresearch results. For those working on critical papers, you almost need to predict your results in the sense that you need to know what argument you plan to make, and what argument the paper will seek to support. Due: Tuesday, May 6, 5:00pm. Remember, however, you need to have a penultimate draft completed by April 22 so that in-class peer editing can occur. YOU ALSO MUST SEND YOUR PAPERS AS AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT TO CATE AT palczewski@uni.edu before the final exam period. Your papers will not be considered "turned in" until you send them as an email attachment and until you also turn in all the peer edits done of your paper.

B. NWSA proposal (10 point): Carefully review the NWSA call for proposals (due on February 20). Make sure that the document you turn in to me follows all the requirements (e.g., identify if general submission or theme; if a panel, make sure you have people from other institutions; paper or poster presentation; word limits, etc.). Given NWSA encourages the submission of complete panels, then it is OK to submit one of those, but it will mean extra work. A good abstract has the following characteristics: direct, clear, concise wording; clearly articulated main argument/purpose in the first 2 sentences; description of method and findings if applicable; does not repeat the title; every sentence matters; dynamic and engaging writing (you should leave the reader wanting more). Due February 4.

2) Peer editing: (10 points) We will use peer editing throughout the semester as a way to improve the final paper. When peer editing, you are expected to provide both stylistic and substantive suggestions. Papers 1A2-5 and the NWSA proposal will all be peer edited (so each person will have edited 10 items by the end of the class), so remember to bring 3 copies of each essay to class (1 for me and 2 for peer editors). You will have 1 week to complete peer editing of each paper.

Editing guidelines: In order to receive the minimum passing credit for editing, you are expected to provide the following each time you edit:

1. Substantive edits: You are expected to provide a minimum of three (3) substantive suggestions. In order to make a good substantive suggestion, it usually requires at least a paragraph of writing. Given the length of these edits, you may want to type them. These suggestions can include:

a. Additional arguments to be made. You can point to additional evidence that supports their argument, or that modifies their argument in some way.

b. Additional citation on the history of the topic. You can provide the citation for a relevant essay or book, and explain the contribution it makes.

c. Additional variables or concepts that develop the thesis/research questions. You can provide a quotation and page number from the class texts, and explain what is revealed by using the concepts from the texts.

d. Additional scholarly citations. You can provide citations for articles from scholarly journals and books. You should summarize the concept from the scholar, and then explain it.

e. Major organizational changes. You can suggest a major reordering of the paper. This is more than moving the order of two paragraphs. Instead, it would constitute an alternative way to develop the argument.

f. Major differences in interpretation. You may disagree with some interpretive move the author makes. If so, make a case for an alternative interpretation, providing evidence.

2. Stylistic edits: You are expected to make a minimum of ten (10) style edits. They can include:

a. bibliographic citation corrections

b. internal citation corrections

c. typographical error corrections

d. grammar corrections

e. spelling corrections

f. sentence rewordings

3) Presentation: (10 points). During the final exam period (May 6, Tuesday, 5:00-6:50)), we will have a formal presentation of all the prospecti. Students will have 10 minutes to present their papers, followed by 5 minutes of questions from the class. Depending on class size, the length of the presentation may be changed.

More helpful hints:

A) Do NOT simply read your paper 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 text 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 enforced.

B) Presume the audience is not familiar with your paper, but is educated about feminist theory. Your presentation does NOT need to include detailed definitions of common feminist terms. However, do provide sufficient theoretical explanation of more complicated concepts so that the audience can follow your analysis.

C) Do not try to present all the arguments in your paper. You will not be able to cover everything in just 12 minutes. Instead, give a brief overview of all your arguments, and then pick one or two on which to focus the presentation.

REMEMBER tobring an extra copy of your presentation outline/notes so that I can write comments on it.

8) Discussion: (20 points). Graduate seminars at their best are open and free flowing discussions, where you engage each others' hearts and minds. The professor should serve as a muse or a guide, but not a drill sergeant. For a seminar to be a location of invention, and not just regurgitation, you must come ready to talk, to think, to rethink and to engage. Otherwise, seminars 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.


In order to be a full participant in discussion, you MUST have completed the assigned reading. I will open every class asking if there are questions, but beyond that, I will not review the readings. Instead, I will assume you have completed the reading, taken notes, and are ready to apply and analyze the readings. AnaLouise Keating (Teaching Transformation, 2007, p. 196) provides the following description of "graduate level academic practices" in regards to reading for class:

(1) I expect you to complete all readings by the date listed on the syllabus;

(2) I expect you to read the material thoughtfully and in an engaged manner;

(3) I expect you to read all endnotes and footnotes;

(4) I expect you to read (not skim) all of the required readings--even those you find "boring" or difficult;

(5) I expect you to reread those texts that you have previously read;

(6) I expect you to seek out definitions for words and terminology you don't know . . . try the following websites:



http://www.uoguelph.ca/culture/glossary.htm ...


For those who are uncertain about their ability to participate consistently, I suggest you do the following. For each week, I would like you to prepare a discussion log, no more than 1 single space typed page for each half, due the next class period. The log should have 2 halves:

A. Pre-class: a description of how you prepared to contribute to discussion (key concepts outlined, examples developed, questions formulated.);

B. Post-class: A self-assessment of your contribution to class using the five elements outlined in the discussion link. You should attach a grade to your participation for the class period in question.

You do NOT need to use all the space. Think of the first half as preparation for discussion, and the second half as a chance to make an argument about 1) how well you did, and/or 2) how you can improve.

General Information necessary for survival: see my website, at www.uni.edu/palczews/general.htm. This site includes my late policy, the university accommodation policy, as well as paper format descriptions.

Syllabus: (This syllabus is subject to change, although that rarely happens.) If changes happen, they will be in hot pink.

WEEK Readings Assignments
1: January 14: What do we know, and how do we know it? come ready to discuss what it is you "know" about comparative feminisms, feminisms, sex/gender/sexualiyt, the globe, identity, experience, theory, pedagogy, writing, speaking, history, globalization, movements, solidarity/coalition politics, public/private sphere, etc. 

FTR introduction

4: Nicholson

Valdes, Francisco. (1995). Queers, sissies, dykes, and tomboys: Deconstructing the conflation of "sex," "gender," and "sexual orientation" in Euro-American law and society. California Law Review, 83(1), 11-377. (on eLearning) *** read pp. 11-35, and one "chapter" of your choice

2: January 21: Theorizing women's and gender studies

Lugones, Maria, & Spelman, Elizabeth. (1983). Have We Got a Theory for You: Cultural imperialism and the demand for "the women's voice." Women's Studies International Forum, 6 (6), 573-581. (on eLearning site)

11: Pateman

35: Hartsock

Sloop, John. (2004). Disciplining gender: Rhetorics of sex identity in contemporary U.S. culture. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. (on eLearning)

3: January 28: Theorizing woman

3: de Beauvoir

40: Irigaray

23: Wittig

45: Davis

43: Butler

topic search due

4: February 4: Theorizing woman/man/sex/gender as categories




Butler, selections from Undoing gender and Bodies that matter (on eLearning)

Butler, Judith. (1993). Imitation and gender insubordination. In Henry Abelove, Michéle Aina Barale, and David M. Halperin (Eds.), The lesbian and gay studies reader (pp. 307-320). New York, NY: Routledge. (on eLearning)

50: Moya

Moya, Paula M. L. (1997). Postmodernism, "realism," and the politics of identity: Cherríe Moraga and Chicana feminism. In M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty (eds.), Feminist geneologies, colonial legacies, democratic futures (pp. 125-150). New York: Routledge. (on eLearning site)


Conference proposal due

5: February 11: Theorizing womEn???


Pratt, Minnie Bruce. (1984). Identity: Skin, blood, heart. In Elly Bulkin, Minnie Bruce Pratt, & Barbara Smith (Eds.), Yours in struggle, three feminist perspectives on anti-semitism and racism (pp. 11-63). Brooklyn: Long Haul Press. (on eLearning site) -- shortened version in FTR 28: Pratt

5: Thompson

13: Combahee River Collective

37: Collins

27: Anzadúa

12 Martinez

hooks, bell. (1989). Talking back (pp. 5-18, 35-54). Boston: South End Press. (on eLearning site)

for a cool conversation, watch Melissa Harris-Perry and bell hooks

peer edit of conference proposal due

6: February 18: Theorizing GENDER


17: Feinberg

24: Connell

West, Candace, & Zimmerman, Don H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender & Society, 1(2), 125-151.

Deutsch, Francine M. (2007). Undoing gender. Gender & Society, 21(1), 106-127. (on eLearning) OR Connell, Catherine. (2010). Doing, Undoing, or Redoing Gender? : Learning from the Workplace Experiences of Transpeople. Gender & Society, 24, 31-55. on eLearning

Access via Project Muse: Halberstam, Judith. (2001). “Oh behave! Austin Powers and the drag kings,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 7(3), 425-452. Link

Noble, Bobby. (2012). Trans-. In Catherine M. Orr, Ann Braithwaite, & Diane Lichtenstein (Eds.), Rethinking women's and gender studies (pp. 277-292). New York, NY: Routledge.

introduction due


7: February 25: Intersectionality


18: Dill & Zambrana

McCall, Leslie. (2005). The complexity of intersextionality. Signs, 30(3), 1771-1800. (on eLearning)

Wing, Adrien Katherine (Ed.). (1997). Brief reflections toward a multiplicative theory and praxis of being. In Critical race feminism (pp. 27-24). New York: New York University Press. (on eLearning)

May, Vivian M. (2012).Intersectionality. In Catherine M. Orr, Ann Braithwaite, & Diane Lichtenstein (Eds.), Rethinking women's and gender studies (pp. 155-172). New York, NY: Routledge.

Hernandez, Daisy. (2008). Interview (by Carla Mantilla). Feminist Studies, 34(1-2), 323-328.

peer edit of introduction due
8: March 4: Theorizing SEXUALITY

Rich, Adrienne. (1986). Compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence." In Blood, bread, and poetry (pp. 23-75). New York: W.W. Norton& Co. (on eLearning site)

15: Bunch

30: Cantu

38: Calhoun

49: Walker

Kapur, Ratna. (2012). Pink chaddis and SlutWalk couture: The postcolonial politics of feminism lite. Feminst Legal Studies, 20, 1-20. (on eLearning)

9: March 11: WGS methods (of knowing, doing, research, critique) Dr. Victoria DeFrancisco guest teaches


Communication Studies comparison of methods document (on eLearning)

Side, Katherine. (2012). Methods. In Catherine M. Orr, Ann Braithwaite, & Diane Lichtenstein (Eds.), Rethinking women's and gender studies (pp. 51-65). New York, NY: Routledge.

Victoria and I decided to give you studies that used different methods to study media representations and body image, given that seemed more of a core interest.

Starr & Ferguson, Sexy doll study

Becker et al. Fiji TV study (short)


optional: Scott, Joan. (1991). The evidence of experience. Critical Inquiry, 17, 773-797. On eLearning

Nelson on evidence

Communication as autoethnography


literature review due

10: March 18: Spring Break







peer edit of literature review due


MARCH 24: Daisy Hernandez

11: March 25: topic and readings to be added based on class interests and needs


West, Transforming Citizenship

Two spirits DVD in class?


12: April 1: Theorizing the Body Dr. Danielle Dick McGeough guest teaches


16: Correa & Petchesky

Price, Janet, & Shildrick, Margrit (Eds.). (1999). Feminist theory and the body. New York: Routledge. (on eLearning site)

readings to be added


method due
13: April 8: Theorizing Coalitions and Activism

34: Matsuda

29: Lorde

48: Mohanty

Reagon, Bernice Johnson. (1983). Coalition politics: Turning the century. In Barbara Smith (Ed.), Home girls: A Black feminist anthology (pp. 356-368). New York: Kitchen Table.

14: April 15: "Saving the brown women from the brown men" Spivak

6: Basu

10: Randiyoti

33: Smith

Kapur, Ratna. (2002). The tragedy of victimization rhetoric: Resurrecting the "native" subject in international/post-colonial feminist legal politics. The Harvard Human Rights Journal, 15, 1-**.

El Guindi, Fadwa. (2005, June). Gendered resistance, feminist veiling, Islamic feminism. Ahfad Journal, 22(1), 53-78.

peer edit of method due

15: April 22: Culturally challenging practice

21: AbuLughod

31: Ahmed

41: Mani

Gunning, Isabelle. (1992, Summer). Arrogant perception, world-travelling and multicultural feminism: The case of female genital surgeries.Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 23(2), 189-248. (excerpt on eLearning)

James, Stanlie M. (1998). Shades of othering: Reflections on female circumcision/genital mutilation. Signs 23(4), 1031. Academic OneFile. Web. 18 July 2010.


Bring two copies of final paper to exchange for peer editing.


16: April 29: As whom/what do I write?


Multiple authors. (1995). In Judith Roof and Robyn Wiegman (Eds.),Who can speak? Authority and critical identity (pp. 97-150; 231-237). Chicago: University of Chicago. (on eLearning site)

Peer edits to be returned to authors.
17: May 6, 5:00-6:50pm, Tues, final exam period

Final paper due

Presentations of final paper





supplemental readings:

Henson, Lori, and Parameswaran, Radhika E. (2008). Getting real with "tell it like it is" talk therapy: Hegemonic masculinity and the Dr. Phil Show Communication, Culture & Critique. 1 (3, September), 287-310.

Fahey, Anna Cornelia (2007). French and feminine: Hegemonic masculinity and the emasculation of John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race. Critical Studies in Media Communication. 24 (2, June), 132-150.

Kelly Oliver selection from Women as Weapons of War on eLearning.

Aaronette M. White and * Tal Peretz. (2010). Emotions and redefining Black masculinity: Movement narratives of two profeminist organizers. Men and Masculinities, 12(4), 403-424.

Linda Alcoff and Laura Gray."Survivor Discourse: Transgression or Recuperation?" Signs 18 (Winter 1993): 260-290.

Olson, Loreen N. (2004). The role of voice in the (re)construction of a battered woman's identity: An autoethnography of one woman's experiences of abuse. Women's Studies in Communication. 27 (1, Spring), 1-33.

Communication as . . . autoethnography. on eLearning

Defrancisco, Victoria Pruin, Jennifer Kuderer, and April Chatham-Carpenter. "Autoethnography and Women's Self-Esteem: Learning Through a `Living' Method," Feminism & Psychology 17(2007): 237-243.

DeFrancisco, Victoria L. and April Chatham-Carpenter. "Self in Community: Africian American Women's Views of Self-Esteem." Howard Journal of Communications 11.2 (April-June 2000): 73-92.

supplemental reading:

Chatham-Carpenter, April and Victoria DeFrancisco. "Pulling Yourself up Again: Women's Choices and Strategies for Recovering and Maintaining Self-Esteem." Western Journal of Communication 61.2 (Spring 1997): 164-187.

(optional) Shildrick and Price 7.1, 7.5, 7.6

Bergoffen, Debra B. (2006). From genocide to justice: Women's bodies as a legal writing pad. Feminist Studies, 32(1), 11-37.

Butler, Judith. (2004). Precarious life: The powers of mourning and violence, chapter 2). New York: Verso. (on eLearning site)

MacKinnon, Catharine A. "Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: An Agenda for Theory." Signs 7 (Spring 1982): 515-544.

Elshtain, Jean Bethke. "Feminist Discourse and Its Discontents: Language, Power, and Meaning." Signs 7 (Spring 1982): 603-621.

Kauffman, Linda S. "The Long Goodbye." In American Feminist Thought at Century's End. Cambridge: Blackwell, 1993. 258-277.

Alcoff, Linda and Laura Gray. "Survivor Discourse: Transgression or Recuperation?" Signs 18 (Winter 1993): 260-290.

Frankenberg, Ruth. (1993). The social construction of Whiteness: White women, race matters (pp. 1-22, 191-235). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. (on eLearning site)

supplemental reading:

hooks, bell. (1994). Confronting class in the classroom. In Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom (pp. 177-189). New York: Routledge.

Nakayama, Thomas K. and Krizek, Robert L. (1995, August). Whiteness: A strategic rhetoric." Quarterly Journal of Speech, 8i, 291-309

Cloud, Dana L. (2004, August). "To veil the threat of terror": Afghan women and the <Clash of Civilizations> in the imagery of he U.S. War on Terrorism. The Quarterly Journal of Speech 90(3), 285-306.

Nagel, Joane. (1994). Constructing ethnicity: Creating and recreating ethnic identity and culture. Social Problems, 41(1), 152-176).

Desai, Jigna. (2002). Homo on the range: Mobile and global sexualities. Social Text, 20(4), 65-89.

Moghadam, Valentine. (1994). Introduction: Women and identity politics in theoretical and comparative perspectives. In Valentine Moghadam (Ed), Identity politics and women: Cultural reassertions and feminisms in international perspective (pp. 3-26). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Thompson, Denise. (2001). Differences Among Women. In Radical feminism today (pp. 92-111). London: Sage Publications.

Obiora, L. Amede. (2003). Affirmations and ambiguities: Some thoughts on women and agency. Albany Law Review, 69, 629-635. available via LexisNexis

Obiora, L. Amede. (1997). Bridging society, culture, and law: The issue of female circumcision: Bridges and barricades: Rethinking polemics and intransigence in the campaign against female circumcision. Case Western Reserve Law Review, 47, 275-377. available via LexisNexis




Obsolete stuff I may resurrect in a future class:

1. Précis (20 points, 10 @ 2 points each). On 10 Thursdays, you will be expected to turn in a short (3 pages) writing assignment that will form the basis for class discussion. (11 Thursdays are available: September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; October 7, 14, 21, 28; November 4, 11; December 2. You get to pick which ones you wish to write on. Should you choose to write on more than 10, you earn the top 10 grades).

This assignment asks you to write a brief summary of the main points of the reading and synthesize your preliminary reactions to the text. Your précis should be coherent and thoughtful. 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. The goal of précis writing is to practice developing thoughts that will be incorporated in revised and refined form in the final essay for this course. An additional goal of this assignment is to help you develop your individual voice as a scholar.

When you write these papers think about the following issues: evaluate the authors’ arguments, think about what theoretical frameworks authors are using. What do you find useful in the readings? What limitations do you see in their theoretical approaches? What relationships do the authors posit between theory and feminist practice? How do these texts relate to others we have already read this semester? How are they building on, altering, and arguing against previous readings? How could you use previous readings to shed new light on the current reading? These papers are meant to get you thinking about the implications of various arguments, to open up ideas that you can work through further in class discussion and throughout the semester. You should not have all the answers yet: you should be beginning the process of working through complicated theoretical issues.

Students will receive a maximum of two points on each précis (for a total of 20 points). If a student receives 2 points, that means that were they to present work of like quality on the final essay they would receive an A. Students who receive below 1.8 points on a précis are not yet doing work that would warrant an A if it were submitted as part of the final essay. They need to follow suggestions for improvement offered by the instructor. Please note that students do not always progress on a steady curve. Improvement nearly always happens, even though the curve may vary dramatically in pattern. In the past students have experienced dramatic changes in their writing and critical reflection when they keep up with the assignments. The number of points awarded for each précis is intentionally low to encourage students to use the number as a diagnostic indicator of their progress rather than as definitively harming or helping their final grade. However, students who do not take the précis assignments seriously have a difficult time doing well on the final paper. While it appears that most of the final grade rests on the final paper, this figure is deceptive since the work is cumulative.

I do not expect polished work for the précis; they are work in progress. However, I DO expect work that has been proofread and edited. A paper rife with typographical, grammar, or citation errors will be returned ungraded. Students who do not establish a strong basis for the final paper by writing the précis are extremely unlikely to do well on the final paper. In the spirit of learning writing skills, when students cite sources in their précis, they should attach a list of references using the proper bibliographic format from their style book (APA, MLA). Précis should be typed and double-spaced.

You should collect these short papers in a notebook or binder because we will ask you to turn them all in at the end of the semester. You must turn in the original papers, including the comments, when you turn in your final paper.

Generally, you might want to think about the following themes as you write the précis:

from what position do I write?

what is woman/man, are women/men?

what is sex? gender?

why do I write?

why do I write about the topics I write about?

on what basis can social change be achieved?

how does one contest and deploy power/privilege?

These questions are not exhaustive, and you may end up not writing about any of them. But, if you are looking for a starting place, these might serve as that.

My grading of your papers will emphasize three things:

1. Distinctive voice: Is your writing distinctive? Can I tell it is you? Are you present?

2. Precision: Precision does not mean formality. It does mean that you make distinctions, think carefully about word choice, and use vivid language. Bring ideas alive.

3. Argument: Make an argument. Do not talk about the readings; talk to them, with them, through them.

You should collect these thought papers in a notebook or binder because I will ask you to turn them all in at the end of the semester. Students in the WGS M.A. program must turn in the original papers, including the comments, when they turn in the final paper.

2. Final Paper/Prospectus: (40 points) Students will write a final paper for the course, 20-25 pages in length, integrating and synthesizing materials studied throughout the semester. This means that the final essay is built on the preceding précis and gives students an opportunity to revise, update, refine, and supplement précis assignments. This paper is due and will be presented some time on December 15 (Wednesday, 1:00-2:50). YOU ALSO MUST SEND YOUR PAPERS AS AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT TO CATE AT palczewski@uni.edu. Your papers will not be considered "turned in" until you send them as an email attachment and until you also turn in all the peer edits done of your paper. You should have 4 edtis to turn in (2 from Nov 18 and 2 from Dec 2/9)

In this paper you will do two things. First, explain as you see it, and evaluate, some of the variety of feminist theories that have emerged in the last 30-40 years, and the relationship of these various theoretical approaches to each other. That is, how do various theorists respond to, argue against, build on the work of other feminist thinkers? What have been some of the major issues/concerns of feminists been and how have these changed in this period? What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of various theorists? [Note: this does not suggest the existence of a “progressive narrative” of ever-improving theories, only that feminists are not thinking in a vacuum. Theory grows and changes as feminists respond to the insights and criticisms of others] Second, evaluate what you think are the most relevant feminist theories you have studied over the course of the semester in terms of your thesis project or work in a feminist organization. How can any of the theories (or parts of the theories) you have studied help you analyze the evidence you will be examining in your own research project, or inform the way you engage in feminist activism? What seem to be the strengths and limitations of various theoretical approaches as they apply to your topic? Finally, come up with a preliminary theoretical framework (or frameworks) for your own thesis project/organization. [Note: this final question uses the term “preliminary,” on purpose. You are in the early stages of your thesis projects and do not need to have a “final answer” about your theoretical approach(es).]