Women's Studies, 208 Bartlett, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. 01003 Office: Bartlett 7CHours: Mon 1:00-2:30pm &
Wed 11:00am-12:30pm or by appointment Telephone: (413)
545-1958Fax: (413) 545-1500Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Teaching Assistants:
Gabriela Delgadillo, Stephanie Evans, Julie Gallagher, Kirsten Isgro, Chizu
Mo & We: 10:10-11:00am at
Placing women's experiences at the center of
interpretation, this class introduces basic concepts and perspectives in Women's
Studies. Focusing on both historical and contemporary women's issues, we will
examine women's lives with a particular emphasis on the ways in which gender
interacts with race, class, sexual orientation and ethnicity. The central aim is
to foster critical reading and thinking about women's lives and the ways in which
the interlocking systems of colonialism, racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, ageism,
and heterosexism shape women's and men's lives; and how women have resisted these
inequalities and worked to create new systems of change.
You must be registered for both the lecture and the discussion
Attendance at both the lecture and the discussion section is
required and mandatory.
Reading assignments must be completed by the class period for
which they were assigned.
This course fulfills a general education requirement and
particular attention will be paid to your writing (content, style, mechanics,
presentation). If you experience problems with any of the writing assignments, let
us know so that we can be of help to you.
You are responsible for knowing when assignments are due and
handing them in on time. Dates of major writing assignments are in this syllabus,
but other assignments may be made in your discussion sections. Absence from
sections on the day the assignment was made does not constitute an excuse for not
handing in the assignment on time. It is each student's responsibility to find out
about assignments from someone in the group or your Teaching Assistant. All
sections may not have the same discussion assignments.
Discussions will provide the opportunity to talk critically
and analyze issues and topics. You will be expected to have completed and thought
about all of the readings for each class.
Please read the Undergraduate Rights & Responsibilities
Booklet 2000-2001 on issues of Academic Honesty, Grading, Attendance,
Examinations, and Absences Due to Religious Observance.
Written Assignments and Exams
Mid-term examination scheduled during discussion sections on
Friday, October 26.
ONE out of class 3-5 page written assignment based on the
readings, lectures, class discussions and other presentations. Papers must always
be typewritten and double-spaced. Handwritten papers will not be accepted. Papers
must be handed in on the due date, Friday November 16. Late papers will be graded
A final exam scheduled during finals week. Do not make plane
reservations or plans to leave before you check the final exam schedule.
Discussion groups are an integral part of this class.
Attendance and participation in discussion sections are factored into the final
grade. Three unexcused absences will result in your grade being marked down. Non
attendance will result in an F.
Incompletes will not be given in this class unless if there
are unusual circumstances. Please speak with your TA as early as possible.
Final grades will be computed by giving equal weight
to: discussion group participation including attendance and class participation
(25%); out of class 3-5 page paper (25%); midterm exam (25%); final exam (25%) -
the final will not be cumulative, but will include material from the midterm on.
are not optional or add-ons. They are designed to be an integral part of the
course and to provide an opportunity to clarify issues in your readings, films and
lectures. We expect you to have completed and thought about all of the readings
for that week and to be ready to engage in meaningful dialogue. Attendance and
participation in discussion groups will be 25% of the grade for this course.
My assumption is that students are generally honest.
Necessary action, in compliance with official guidelines will be taken against
students who commit academic dishonesty. Please read and familiarize yourselves
with the University policy statement on academic honesty in the Undergraduate
Rights and Responsibilities booklet.
Despite the size of this class, we are concerned about
the quality of your experience. To that end we will try to foster as much of your
active participation in the course as possible. Lectures will include time for
questions, and discussion sections have been designed as an integral part of the
course. Make use of office hours to continue class discussions, clarify confusions
or to discuss any other problems you are having with the course. Because of the
class size and the nature of the subject matter, it is necessary to set some
300 people in one room is a difficult situation on many
levels. One of the most mundane but problematic issues is noise. Talking, even
whispering, when there are so many people in the room is very disruptive to both
the lecturer and other students. This class is 50 minutes and we expect you to
remain for the entire period. Do not begin to pack up your things 5 minutes before
the period is over. The noise of your rustling, combining with the rustling of 50
of your classmates can be very disturbing to everyone else.
Please do not make plane reservations before the final
schedule is posted. Make up exams will only be given to students who have an exam
conflict, a medical or unavoidable excuse. Ignorance of this rule will not
constitute a valid excuse.
A People's History Of The United
States 1492-Present. (Twentieth Anniversary Edition) 1999. New York. Harper
Gwyn Kirk & Margo Okazawa-Rey:
Women's Lives: Multicultural
Perspectives. Second Edition 2001. McGraw Hill.
Books are available at Food For Thought Bookshop,
North Pleasant Street, Amherst and also on reserve in the library.
Topics and Questions to Be
Covered for the Semester
The Social Construction of Gender, Race, Class
& Sexuality, Diversity & Difference
What is "Women's Studies" and who are the "women"? How
is "woman" defined? Does "objective knowledge" exist? In what ways do social,
cultural, political and economic forces determine the facts? Is there a "woman's
perspective"? If there is, how do race, class and sexual orientation impact that
perspective? How are women alike? How do women differ? Does the common experience
of a patriarchy unite us across our differences? As a concept, oppression has had
a long history in contemporary feminist scholarship. What does it mean? Why is it
important to think about it? What are some of the tensions today? Will the regular
methods of scholarship and science be adequate for the task of understanding the
diversity between women? Will new tools be necessary? Furthermore, how do we
encourage women to relate at the points of their different similarities to promote
growth, creativity, and social change?
What is the ideological foundation of the United
States? What is the importance of history? How were European American women's
lives shaped by the social, legal, religious and economic forces of the time? How
has our knowledge of American Indian women been limited? What is the economic
foundation of slavery? What was the experience of African American women in
slavery? What were the economic reasons for imprisoning Japanese Americans in
concentration camps? How did this affect the experiences of Asian American women?
Social & Political Movements: Abolition &
Women's Rights, The Civil Rights Movement, The Second & Third Waves Of
What is abolition? Who were the people involved in the
movement? What were the roles of men and women of different races? Was gender an
issue? What was the relationship between African American and European women in
the abolition movement and the women's rights movement? What were the economic and
political bases for lynching? How do societal attitudes towards African American
men and white women contribute to the justification for lynching? What were the
goals of the civil rights Movement (CRM)? What were the Jim Crow laws? What was
the role of women in the CRM? What did the CRM accomplish? Why was the CRM seen as
the "Borning Struggle"?
How was the women's movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s shaped by
social expectations for women? What can we learn from the successes and mistakes
of the movement? What still needs to be done? Where shall we put our greatest
efforts? What should be our priorities? How do we revitalize the energy, optimism,
and power of the women's movement, and where shall we take it into the future?
Institutions that Shape Women's
What is the nature of women's work? How is it related
to societal expectations for women? How do race and class impact on definitions of
women's work? Has the work that women have traditionally done been considered
work? Where are women in the economy? Do education, individual talents, skills and
effort determine women's placement in the work force? Are there still obstacles to
women in the work force? What are the consequences and remedial strategies?
Institutions that Shape Women's Lives-The
Family & Recurring Issues
How is family defined? What are cross-cultural and
historical differences in family form and the role women play in the family? What
has been and is the role of the state in maintaining the family? How does racism
shape family life? How do economic, political, and social pressures impact
families? What role does racism and sexism play in shaping public policy on the
family? What are the strategies women of color have developed to ensure that
survival? Who is poor? What is the connection between women and poverty? Why
single mothers do worst? What's wrong with current poverty policies and what's the
unfinished agenda? What kinds of families do lesbians and gay men have? What is
heterosexism and how does it impact on homosexual families? How is "good family"
defined? How is that definition related to cultural assumptions about sexuality,
race, gender and class?
What is the societal basis of violence against
women? Why do women stay with men who hurt them? What significant changes have the
women's movement made to abused girls and women? Women in this culture live with
the reality of rape, what are cultural myths about rape? What is the relationship
between rape and cultural definitions of aggressive sexuality for males and
passivity for females? How has the activism of feminists affected treatment of
rape victims by police and the judicial system?
Institutions that Shape Women's Lives-Health
Care, Media, Public Policy, Legal System
What is the basis of our health care system? Who does
it benefit? What are the ways in which gender, race and class impact the quality
and kind of health care received? What changes in the health care system have
resulted from the efforts of women activists? What are the major contemporary
issues with our Health Care system? Why does abortion continue to be a major issue
for women? Has abortion always been illegal? What are the consequences of denying
women access to abortion? What do we mean by reproductive health and reproductive
rights? Is sterilization justified? What are the connections between sterilization
abuse and population control nationally and globally?
Resistance, Alliance and Coalition Building:
Platforms for Action
What is resistance? What are the ways in which
resistance is impacted by gender, race, class, age and sexuality? How do we
continue to work for change that can begin to reverse the dynamic of patriarchal
domination by challenging and transforming the way in which we look at ourselves
in relation to each other and to the world? What is consciousness raising? How do
we raise awareness and understanding, our own and others, for social action and