1970 DC march

Goals & Expectations
Reading Schedule
Policies and consultations
Feminism, Gender, and Society
WGS 245-01
Fall 2008
MW 2:30-4
Eaton 311

Frann Michel
Eaton 204
office hours: MW 10:20-12
and other times by appointment
fmichel<a> willamette.edu

This course introduces students to some of the central issues and concepts in US feminist movement, and provides an opportunity to encounter, engage with, and participate in some of the debates and discussions within feminism, as well as to learn about issues for some of the other social movements intersecting feminism. We will consider the relations among sexism, homophobia, racism, and class oppression, and will consider some of the effects of dominant representations of women, the impact of sexual violence,  the institution of the family, sex discrimination, and reproductive rights. Students will gain both awareness of the significance of gender in contemporary US society and experiential knowledge of feminist analysis.

Feminism is a social movement, and our classroom activities and writing assignments will emphasize collaboration and active participation in discussion. You should come to each class having read the assigned material, having thought about it, and having questions or ideas about it. 

Course requirements include 
reading journals/discussion on weblog 10%
class participation 10%
+ 10% whichever (blog or discussion) is higher
two short papers of about 4 pages each (due 10/10 and 11/14) 20% each
a final essay and presentation (essay due 12/19) 30%

See below for more information

Required Text:

Boston Women's Health Collective,
Our Bodies, Ourselves

Recommended Text:

Estelle Freedman, No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women 

Additional texts will be available electronically through e-reserve, Academic Search Premier, or the links in the schedule.


Tentative Schedule of Readings

W Sep 3
Rich, “Claiming an Education”

M Sep 8
Some Definitions of Feminism
hooks, “Feminism: a Movement to End Sexist Oppression”
Leong, “Living Outside the Box” 
Piepzna-Samarasinha. “A Time to Hole Up and a Time to Kick Ass”
W Sep 10
Wendell, “The Social Construction of Disability”
Chan, “You’re Short, Besides!”
Hershey, “Disabled Women Organize Worldwide”

M Sep 15 
Freedman, “Women’s Rights, Women’s Work, and Women’s Sphere” 
“Race and the Politics of Identity in US Feminism” 
“The Global Stage and the Politics of Location”
Reports:  explore one of the resources linked at < http://ntb.stanford.edu/resources3-5.html> and be ready to present your findings to classmates
W Sep 17
“The Use of Sex and Gender to define and characterize meaningful differences between men and women” (pdf via email)
Fausto-Sterling, “The problem with sex/gender and nature/nurture” (pdf)

M Sep 22
Kimmel, “Real Men Join the Movement”
Carter, “This is What a Feminist Looks Like”
Taneja, “From Oppressor to Activist: Reflections of a Feminist Journey”
Crass, “How Can I be Sexist?  I’m an Anarchist!”   (reserve)
Deutsch, Male Privilege Checklist
Woods, The Black Male Privileges Checklist
W Sep 24
Yamato, "Something about the Subject Makes it Hard to Name"
McIntosh, "White Privilege and Male Privilege"
Parker, "For the white person who..."  (reserve)

M Sep 29   
Combahee River Collective, “A Black Feminist Statement”
Yamada, “Invisibility is an Unnatural Disaster”
Shanley, “Thoughts on Indian Feminism”
Moraga,  "La GŁera"
Darraj, “It’s Not an Oxymoron” (reserve)
W Oct 1
Langston, “Tired of Playing Monopoly?”
Allison,  "A Question of Class"
Bose & Whaley, "Sex Segregation in the U.S. Labor Force"

M Oct 6
Bornstein, Selections from My Gender Workbook
Stryker, “(De)Subjugated Knowledges: An Introduction to Transgender Studies”
Chase, “Hermaphrodites with Attitude”
W Oct 8
Pharr, “Homophobia, a Weapon of Sexism”
Kimmel, “Masculinity as Homophobia”
Daily Effects of straight privilege
Heterosexual questionnaire (via email)

F Oct 10 2:30 pm First paper due, Eaton 204 or 107

M Oct 13
Bernhard & Schlaffer “The Man on the Street: Why he Harasses”
Beneke, Introduction to Men on Rape
Allen, Robert L.  “Stopping Sexual Harassment”
Bart and O’Brien, “Stopping Rape: Effective Avoidance Strategies”
W Oct 15
Our Bodies Our Selves (OBOS) Chapter 8
Hoffman, “On Prisons, Borders, Safety, and Privilege” online:
Bhattacharjee, “Whose Safety: Women of Color and the Violence of Law Enforcement: Executive Summary” (reserve)

M Oct 20
Abu-Lughod, "Do Muslim Women Need Saving?"
Enloe, “Masculinity as a Foreign Policy Issue” 
Connell,  “Masculinities and Globalization” 
W Oct 22
Alexander, “Prostitution: A Difficult Issue for Feminists”
Klinger, "Prostitution, Humanism, and a Woman's Choice"
Leuchtag, "Human Rights: Sex Trafficking and Prostitution”
optional: on San Francisco Prostitution Proposition K

M Oct 27
Andrea Dworkin, "Why Pornography Matters to Feminists"
Hartley, “Confessions of a Feminist Porn Star”
Live Nude Girls Unite! (video, in class)
W Oct 29
Lorber,  “‘Night to his Day’”
Richardson, “Gender Stereotyping in the English Language”

M Nov 3
Pre-election discussion of media (readings from Flowtv Special issue on Sarah Palin and the Media)
W Nov 5
OBOS, Chapter 1 
No More Miss America!

M Nov 10
OBOS, Chapter 2
Gimlin, “Cosmetic Surgery: Paying for Your Beauty”(emailed)
Wangsgaard Thompson, “’A Way Outta No Way’: Eating problems among African-American, Latina, and White Women” (emailed)
Haubegger, “I’m not fat, I’m Latina”(reserve)
Lamm, “It’s a Big Fat Revolution” (emailed)
One-paragraph proposal for final project topic

W Nov 12
OBOS, Chapters 12 & 14 (Recommended: Chs 9-16)
Koedt, The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm
Bright, “The Case of the Missing G-Spot
Nagel, "Ethnosexual Frontiers" (reserve)

F Nov 14 2:30 Second paper due, Eaton 204 or 107

M Nov 17
Selections from Reproductive Justice Briefing Book, including “What is Reproductive Justice?”; “Girlmom”; “Reproductive Justice and Women of Color”; “Reproductive Justice Issues for Asian and Pacific Islander Women”; “Reproductive Justice and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Liberation”; “Immigrant Rights and Reproductive Justice”; “Made in the USA”; “Incarcerated Women and Reproductive Justice”; “Reproductive Justice: A Movement of Resistance Led by Girls and Transgirls Involved in the Sex Trade and Street Economy”; “Disabled Women and Reproductive Justice”; “The Myth of the Norm”; “Reproductive Justice for all Pregnant Women”; “Ten Reasons to Rethink Overpopulation”; “The Incompatibility of Neo-Liberal ‘Choice’ and Reproductive Justice”
pdf linked from http://www.sistersong.net/ (scroll down the column on the right)
W Nov 19
OBOS, Ch 20 (recommended: Chs 17-19)
Jane: An Abortion Service (video, in class)

M Nov 24
"Kimmel, “The 'Constructed Problems' of Family Life” (emailed)
 “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage
W Nov 26
continued discussion
Th-F Nov 27-28  Thanksgiving  Holiday

M Dec 1-M Dec 8  oral presentations (about 15 minutes each)
W Dec 10 peer editing: bring to class three copies of your final essay

F Dec 19 2pm Final essay due


More information 


Evaluation of your participation includes the following:

Attendance: you must be both physically and mentally present in order to participate. Please come to each class on time, fully prepared. If you miss a class, talk to at least two other students who were present that day, and get copies of their class notes. Post to the class blog a summary of the reading assignment for the day you missed class.

Preparation: reading and writing assignments are due on the class day indicated on the syllabus. You should bring to class any assignments, the assigned text, and appropriate notetaking material (notebook, pen). You should be prepared to discuss the reading and share your responses. Read actively, mark your texts, and take notes.  As we move through the semester, you will also want to think about connections between current and past readings and discussions.  Please turn off cell phones.

Discussion: Quality of response is more important than quantity, but you cannot offer thoughtful comments unless you speak up! Expect to be asked to support your observations with specific textual references. Ask questions. Be respectful of your classmates. Listen attentively. Avoid side conversations; if it's worth saying to your neighbor, it's worth sharing with the rest of the class. Don't interrupt others; if you wish to speak next, raise your hand. Avoid personal attacks; challenge the idea not the person.


Point your web browser to http://blog.willamette.edu
Login using your WU username & password
On the "My Weblogs" list you should see "Feminism, Gender, and Society"
C lick on one of the "Create new entry" buttons to do just that.
You need to select the "Publish" option for Post Status for your entry to appear on the formal blog site page.
To comment on someone else's entry, you have to be viewing the actual site
You can get there by clicking on the "View Site" buttons which appear in various places in the editing interface or by entering the above URL in the browser address bar. At least once a week, you'll post a response to a reading assignment before we discuss it in class. You might raise questions, offer additional evidence of a writer's point, or offer a refutation, qualification, or other critique.  You might consider the implications of the reading in light of your own experience,  of current events, or of other readings.  Ideally, you will also respond to your classmates' postings.


Each paper should be thoughtful, focused, and clear. The Writing Center has several handbooks and tip sheets on writing. I encourage you to confer with me about your papers.

Paper One: Plan for life on minimum wage (about 4 pages) (due Oct 10)

In order to help us conduct an informed discussion of economic issues, this assignment requires you to plan a monthly budget based on minimum wage. First, determine the monthly after tax income of a single parent with two children working full time (40 hours/week) at minimum wage in Oregon. To plan a budget, you will need to locate an affordable residence and childcare, price foods and plan menus for one adult and two children (ages 2 & 6), allow funds for utilities, clothing, and transportation, and for items such as diapers and sanitary napkins or tampons. Again, you may wish to do the research for this paper in teams, assigning one person to find a place to live, for instance, and another to plan a week's food shopping, and pooling your findings before writing your individual papers. Ideally, however, you will find ways to make the assignment vivid. (For instance, spend a day or two eating only the meals you've budgeted.) How hard or easy was it to complete this assignment? What would it be like to raise a family on this budget? Be specific. What does the home you found look like? In what kind of facility will you be leaving your children? How nutritious and appetizing are the meals you have planned?

Paper Two: Feminist Activity (about 4 pages) (due Nov 14)

Because feminism is not a purely academic subject, this assignment requires you to visit and report on a feminist group, event, or resource. For instance, you might attend a meeting (or several meetings) of NOW, NARAL, Students for Choice, or the campus Women's Center. You might volunteer as a clinic escort, or attend a feminist rally, lecture, or concert. Because feminism is a collective movement, and because some of these events may take place outside Salem, I encourage you to attend them in company with classmates, and to discuss your experiences together before writing your own essay. Draw on our readings where they help you to develop your analysis (for instance, in defining how the event is feminist). Your essay should have a clearly-stated thesis, that is, a main point that characterizes and assesses the subject of your report. The paper should describe and critique the event: its purpose, participants, strategies, and outcome.

Final Project

Final paper (8-10 pages) and Final Presentation (about 15 minutes): This paper is a research project involving an analysis of the topic of your choice. Topics can include any of the subjects we address in class, spin off topics from these, or any other significant issue relating to Feminism, Gender, and Society.  The presentation will be a space for you to share with class members the thinking and process that informs your final project and paper. It will also allow us to share with each other some of the specific knowledge and insights gained. The paper is due  Friday 19 December; presentations will take place in the last several class meetings. 



on writing

my writing guidelines
Writing Center
The Elements of Style
Brief MLA Style Guide
On Plagiarism and how to avoid it

articles (not included on reading schedule)
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Topics in Feminism  
The Woman-Identified Woman 
Redefining Prostitution as Sex Work on the International Agenda
I Want a Wife

organizations, resources
National Organization for Women 
Code Pink
Institute for Women's Policy Research 
XY: Men, Masculinities, and Gender Politics 
Ipas: Women's Health and Reproductive Rights 
Center for Reproductive Rights 
Ms magazine

Men's Bibliography 
Bibliography of Black American Feminisms 

University of Maryland Resources 
Duke Collection of Women's Liberation Documents 
Eserver feminist documents 
Chicago Women's Liberation 






some matters of policy

•Please turn off your cell phone during class.

•Please do not use laptop computers in class.

•I will not accept assignments late without very good reason and prior approval.

•Willamette University’s plagiarism policy is printed in the Catalog. Plagiarized papers in this section receive an F and the incident is reported to the Dean’s Office.

•Please let me know if you have any disability that requires special accommodation.

• If you miss class for any reason, consult with at least two classmates about what you missed and then come to me with any additional questions you may have. Post a summary of the reading assignment to the class blog


Individual consultations/office hours/other questions and suggestions

My regular office hours are listed at the beginning of this syllabus. Some weeks, I may need to reschedule some hours. I will post temporary changes on my office door. Most weeks, I will have a sign-up sheet on my office door for scheduling appointments. I will be happy to meet with you individually to go over drafts,  discuss your ideas for a paper, or discuss other course material or issues. If you cannot meet with me at any of the scheduled times, contact me after class or by phone or email to set up an appointment at another time.

When you have questions about materials or assignments, please raise them in class-others may have the same questions. When you have questions or concerns about your work, or suggestions for improving the class, please come see me as soon as possible. I can answer questions, resolve problems, and make use of suggestions only if I know about them.