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

Spring 2016, Tu 5:00-7:50 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 2015
    • Tues: 2:30-4:30, 7:50-8:20
    • Weds: 1:00-3:00, 8:20-8:50
    • 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, Elizabeth Lefler (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 course studies a range of feminist theories (national and international) to understand identity and oppressions.


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, sexuality, sex and gender, and the intersections between these categories of analysis.

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 and 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:

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 linked to the syllabus and/or provided on eLearning


Catherine M. Orr, Ann Braithwaite, & Diane Lichtenstein, Eds.. (2012). Rethinking women's and gender studies. New York, NY: Routledge.

Timeline project link

Course Requirements

Assignments: The total worth of the assignments is 100 points. The individual point value of each assignment is noted in (parenthesis) immediately following the assignment title. 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 expectations in an exceptional manner.

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, MLA, or Chicago) that you think you are using. The bibliography should correctly and studiously follow whatever form you choose. If serious errors appear in the bibliography and in text citations, students will automatically receive a 25% reduction in their grade. You should prefer to have me spend my time editing your ideas rather than pointing to errors you could have identified on your own by consulting a style manual.

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
1A1 topic search and B1 January 26 5
1A2 introduction and B2 February 16 5
1A3 annotated bibliography and B3 March 8 5
1A4 method and B4 March 29 5
1A5 final prospectus and B5 May 3, 5:00pm 40
2 peer editing 10 items throughout term 10
3 presentation May 3, Tuesday, 5:00-6:50pm 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. If you are a WGS grad student, you do option A. If you are not, then option B.

Option A. (For WGS MA students) Culminating project prospectus assignments on a topic of your choice:

The goal is to complete a draft of your prospectus for your final MA project (thesis or internship). If you have already done this, then choose option B.

Throughout the course, each WGS student focuses on choosing, articulating, and justifying their* unique stance as a scholar in their prospectus for the MA project (thesis or internship).

*FYI: I am using the singular they pronoun. For more on this, see a Salon essay and a recent memo from The Washington Post

At the conclusion of the semester, each student should be prepared to express in written form their own understanding of what it means for them to be a feminist scholar and/or a scholar who conducts research from a WGS perspective. 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 means, for every assignment, students should explicitly incorporate and engage with the following concepts:


a clear definition of sex/gender (and theories of the social construction of gender)

privilege and oppression

feminist praxis

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 prospectus is to provide your committee members with a focused description of the proposed thesis or internship project. The prospectus allows the committee to determine the soundness of your proposed project, to ensure it meets expectations for Master’s level work, and to make suggestions for improvement. . . . The prospectus represents a contract with the committee regarding the scope of the project, the method, and the timeline." (50 points total)

(1) Exhaustive topic search, with printouts of all searches attached (this could be a very large stack). Due January 26. 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: provide preliminary RQs or thesis statements

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

f) identify possible committee members (at least 5): meet with each person and chat with them (at least 30 minutes) about whether the would be a good fit and what unique skills (e.g., method) or knowledge they could bring to the project. If you have already formed a committee, then find at least two other faculty members who could serve as a resource.

(2) Culminating project prospectus introduction [3 pages] (5 points). Due February 16. 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, you 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?"

As you answer these questions, make clear how you will employ an intersectional approach, articulate your theory of sex/gender, identify how privilege and oppression inform your analysis, and explain why a feminist approach to this topic is necessary.

B. For an internship, identify and describe three possible internships. 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 you plan to study (either experientially or through original research) and provide a strong rationale for this focus. As you answer these questions, make clear how you will employ an intersectional approach, articulate your theory of sex/gender, identify how privilege and oppression inform your analysis, and explain why a feminist approach to this topic is necessary.

(3) Culminating project prospectus 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. Due March 8

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.

Number: 20 sources are required. References should all be from scholarly sources.

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 (besides, that would be plagiarism). Instead, you should

  • describe the main argument/conclusion and the method used to reach that conclusion. Do not merely identify the topic,
  • 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),
  • indicate if the author used an intersectional approach and how well it was employed
  • indicate possible conslusions about privilege and oppression
  • identify the theory of sex/gender used (biological, psychological, critical/cultural)
  • interpret its meaning (locate the argument and its author in the ongoing scholarly or activist conversation), and
  • decide about its utility to your project

(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. ALL proposals need to show evidence of thinking intersectionally about identity and oppression, reflect on feminist praxis, and show a nuanced understanding of sex/gender (hint: a study that breaks up its sample into male and female participants is not demonstrating nuance). Due March 29

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, this section begins by restating the research questions and/or hypotheses. For humanistic theses, this section 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 proving you have completed IRB training (regardless of whether you are doing a study that requires IRB approval). You also need to confirm that your thesis chair is IRB approved as well.

****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 for you as well as for your committee. Include what you 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 [8 pages plus annotated bibliography] (40 points). The purpose of this assignment is to provide an opportunity for revision (based on peer and professor feedback) of the previous segments you turned in earlier. You will still need a conclusion for the prospectus. The conclusion should outline the final project or detail the chapters of the thesis, discuss the limits of the project, and begin to predict areas for future research. Due: Tuesday, May 3, 5pm. Remember, however, you need to have a penultimate draft completed by April 19 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.

Option B. (For non-WGS MA students or WGS students who have already completed a prospectus.) Progressive feminist project. Propose a project to me. The proposal, along with a preliminary data dump, is due January 26. Break the proposal into parts, with parts being due on the same dates as the prospectus project (so that you can be part of the peer editing process).

One project option is to do an in depth analysis of one feminist theorist. (Thanks to Danielle McGeough and Ryan McGeough for this idea.) This assignment will require you to develop a deep understanding of one foundational feminist scholar's work and trace how that work has been picked up and used by other scholars. The assignment consists of five distinct components (with due dates alligned with option A). Point distribution also mirrors option A.

  1. Scholar search: Use the same format as 1A1. Be sure to find ALL the scholar's works (books, book chapters, essays) and the primary places where the works are cited (Google scholar is an ideal place to begin the tracing).

  2. Intellectual history: (3 pages) Introduce readers to your scholar. Ideas don't happen in a vacuum. You will begin this assignment by developing a brief biographical sketch of your scholar. Where did they grow up and/or study? What was going on in the world that influenced them? To what major thinkers or ideas was your scholar responding?

  3. Annotated bibliography of the scholar (at least 5 sources) and scholars who cite your scholar (at least 15 sources): Provide annotated bibliographies of the scholar's main works. You will need to make choices here -- identify the scholar's 2-3 main contributions. Then, pick the 5 or so works that really represent these contributions. Then, find recent academic articles that draw on the work of your chosen scholar. Again, make choices. Focus on those works that are most in conversation about the 2-3 contributions you picked. Follow the format for annotations in B3. Annotate only the most central works. You can still use the other works in the papers to follow.

  4. Scholar literature review: (8 pages) Rewrite the content from your annotated bibliography in a way that turns it in into a synthetic literature review of your theorist's works. What are the main intellectual contributions your scholar provided? What were their big ideas? This should be a synthetic literature review that combines your scholar's thoughts from across their works and illuminates their major lines of thought. Link to general literature review guidelines. Here, focus on presenting what your theoriest wrote. Save the responses for the final paper. This is not the place for overt critique. Rather, outline your scholar's ideas in their strongest form.

  5. Complete scholar notes: (15 pages plus annotated bibliography) Combine sections two and four, then add a section on the responses to your scholar. The final paper should: introduce the scholar, outline the scholar's main ideas, and show how those ideas have been picked up and elaborated over time. How have your scholar's ideas been challenged? Which ideas continue to be particularly influential? How are they used in new ways? Are their any ideas that have been largely overlooked by subsequent scholars. Do not forget to address how your scholar interacts with intersectionality, theories of sex/gender, theories of power/privilege, and how they engage with feminist praxis.

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 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 3, 5pm), 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.

For each week, you should type up a 1-2 page summary of the readings that answers the question prompt located on the weekly grid below. We will start discussion each week by having all members of the class read/talk through their answer. So, when writing the answer, think about writing it to be spoken (rather than read).


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 12: 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/sexuality, identity, experience, theory, pedagogy, writing, speaking, history, globalization, movements, solidarity/coalition politics, public/private sphere, intersectionality, feminist praxis, privilege, power, oppression, etc. 

FTR introduction

4: Nicholson

Brandzel, Amy. (2011, Fall). Haunted by citizenship: Whitenormative citizen-subjects and the uses of history in Women's Studies. Feminist Studies, 37(3), 503-533.

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. *** read pp. 11-35, and one "chapter" of your choice


2: January 19: 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

36: Narayan

37: Collins

50: Moya

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

Discussion prompt: What is the function of theory? What are the qualities of "good" theory?

3: January 26: Theorizing woman as identity

3: de Beauvoir

40: Irigaray

23: Wittig

45: Davis

Morgensen, Scott Lauria. (2012). Identity (politics). In Catherine M. Orr, Ann Braithwaite, & Diane Lichtenstein (Eds.), Rethinking women's and gender studies (pp. 173-188). New York, NY: Routledge. (on eLearning site)

topic search due

Discussion prompt: What does woman mean?

4: February 2: Theorizing womEn???




5: Thompson

13: Combahee River Collective

Collins, Patricia Hill. (1990). The power of self-definition & Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. Black feminist thought. New York: Routledge.

27: Anzaldúa

Anzaldúa, Gloria. (1983). Speaking in tongues: A letter to 3rd world woman writers." In Cherrîe Moraga & Gloria Anzaldúa (Eds.), This bridge called my back (pp. 165-174). New York, NY: Kitchen Table.

12: Martinez

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

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

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

Discussion prompt: A feminist theory that acounts for all women should . . .


Is woman a useful category of analysis?

5: February 9: Theorizing sex and gender


43: Butler

Butler, selections from Undoing gender and Bodies that matter

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.

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

Discussion prompt: What are sex and gender?

6: February 16: Theorizing SEX/GENDER


17: Feinberg

24: Connell

Stryker, Susan. (1994). My words to Victor Frankenstein above the village of Chaminoux. GLQ,1, 237-254.

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.

If you have not already read these, you should:

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. OR Connell, Catherine. (2010). Doing, Undoing, or Redoing Gender? : Learning from the Workplace Experiences of Transpeople. Gender & Society, 24, 31-55. on eLearning

introduction due

Discussion prompt: Is woman still useful as a category of analysis?


7: February 23: Intersectionality


18: Dill & Zambrana

Crenshaw, Kimberle. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A Black feminist critqiue of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory, and antiracist politics.

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

Wing, Adrien Katherine (Ed.). (1997). Brief reflections toward a multiplicative theory and praxis of being. In Critical race feminism (pp. 27-34). New York: New York University Press.

Cho, Sumi, Crenshaw, Kimberlé Williams, & McCall, Leslie. (2013). Toward a field of intersectionality studies: Theory, applications, and praxis. Signs, 38(4), 785-810.

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.

May, Vivian M. (2015). Chapter 4: Intersectionality–now you see it, now you don't: Slippages in intersectionality applications. Pursuing intersectionality, unsettling dominant imaginaries (pp. 141-185). New York, NY: Routledge.

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

peer edit of introduction due

Discussion prompt: Define intersectionality. Describe how it informs your project.

8: March 1: Theorizing SEXUALITY

Johnson, Merri Lisa. (2012). Sexuality. In Catherine M. Orr, Ann Braithwaite, & Diane Lichtenstein (Eds.), Rethinking women's and gender studies (pp. 258-273). New York, NY: Routledge.

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.

Discussion prompt: How does sexuality inflect sex and gender?
9: March 8: WGS methods (of knowing, doing, research, critique)

Communication Studies comparison of methods document

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.

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


Nelson on evidence

Communication as autoethnography

Starr & Ferguson, Sexy doll study

Becker et al. Fiji TV study (short)

annotated bib due

Discussion prompt: My method of data collection, organization, analysis, and presentation is feminist because . . .

10: March 15: Spring Break










11: March 22: Theorizing citizenship


Brandzel, Amy. (In press). Preface and Introduction. Against citizenship: The violoence of the normative. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Allen, Danielle. (2004). Chapter 2. Talking to strangers: Anxieties of citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education (pp. 9-24). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Goeman, Mishuana. (2013). Chapter 1. Mark my words: Native women mapping our nations (pp. 41-85) . Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

peer edit of literature review due

Discussion prompt: What role does citizenship play in theorizing sex and gender?

12: March 29: Theorizing the Body


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

Discussion prompt: The body is . . .

13: April 5: Theorizing Coalitions, Allies, Accomplices, and Activism

34: Matsuda

29: Lorde

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. (2003/1986). Under western eyes: Feminist scholarship and colonial discourses. In Feminism without borders (pp. 18-42). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Collins, Patricia Hill. (1998). Moving beyond critique. Fighting words: Black women and the search for justice (pp. 187-228). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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.


Discussion prompt: What politics are necessary for inclusive social change?
14: April 12: "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.

Parisi, Laura. (2012). Transnational. In Catherine M. Orr, Ann Braithwaite, & Diane Lichtenstein (Eds.), Rethinking women's and gender studies (pp. 310-327). New York, NY: Routledge.

peer edit of method due

Discussion prompt: The perspective feminists of the global north should take toward people of the global south is ____________.

15: April 19: Culturally challenging practice

48: Mohanty

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.

Mohnaty, Chandra Talpade. (2013, Summer). Transnational feminist crossings: On neoliberalism and radical critique. Signs, 38(4), 967-992.


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

Discussion prompt: Is there a space for feminists of the global north to intervene in problematic practices in other cultures?


16: April 26: 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)

Tourjee, Diana. (2015, December 16). Why do men kill trans women? Gender theorist Judith Butler explains. Broadly.com.

Kim, HeJin. (2015, December 17). Judith Butler's trouble: Why do white academics speak for trans people of colour? University of Broken Glass.

Peer edits to be returned to authors.

Discussion prompt: When others are the subject of my writing, I write as__________.


If I want to speak about an issue that does not directly affect me, I should _____.

17: May 3, Tuesday, 5:00-6:50pm

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.

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.

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)

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).]