Jana Evans Braziel, Instructor 15 Bartlett Hall / Hours: 10-11 M,W,F Phone # 545-1922 / 545-0929 / 545-3402
Junior Year Writing for Women's Studies Majors (WOST 391W)
I. COURSE DESCRIPTION
The purpose of the course Junior Year Writing for Women's Studies Majors (WOST 391W) is three-fold: 1) to expose majors in the department to a variety of genres and writing styles important to feminist work; 2) to provide a forum for acquiring and honing writing skills; and 3) to interrogate the importance of language and the written word to feminist studies. Toward these ends, the class will read numerous texts written by women: autobiographical works by Dorothy Allison and Gloria Anzaldùa; the creative, critical narratives of Busejé Bailey, Persimmon Blackbridge, and Jacquelyn Zita; cultural review articles by Susan Bordo and Judith Halberstam; and feminist theorizations of "citizenship" written by scholars from myriad cultural backgrounds and academic fields-Carole Boyce Davies, Lisa Lowe, Carolle Charles, May Joseph, and Barbara Cruikshank. However, the class will also emphasize active, thoughtful writing through a variety of written assignments, both formal and informal. In addition to the formal written assignments for the course-three short papers (5-6 pages) and a final research paper (18-20 pages) on a topic relevant to Women's Studies-the students will also explore the importance of writing through weekly journal writings and class discussions. Underlying the critical objectives for WOST 391W is the belief that writing matters. As tools for the discursive construction of knowledges, words (both textual and corporeal) matter. As instruments of power, words can be either deleterious, exclusive and oppressive, or subversive, inclusive and liberating-or gradations between these extremes. However, the written word-as the spoken word-can also be instrumental in redressing disparities of power and subverting hegemonic modes of discourse (whether phallogocentrism; heterosexism; racism; Eurocentrism; colonialism; or other forms of cultural and political imperialism). Thus, undeniably, for feminists, writing matters.
Why is writing crucial for Women's Studies majors, feminist scholars and political activists?
Writing . . .
Critical Objectives for the course:
II. COURSE REQUIREMENTS
-SHORT PAPERS (3) (30% of total course grade = 10% each): autobiographical paper, cultural review article, and creative/critical essay. FORMAT: 5-6 pages (double-spaced; typed); 10-12 pt font; 1" margins. GENERAL NOTES: 1st drafts must be submitted in duplicate (2 copies); 2nd drafts must be submitted with peer-editing notes.
-SCHOLARLY RESEARCH PAPER (30% of total course grade = 10% for each component in final draft): FORMAT: 18-20 pages (double-spaced; typed); APA or MLA style; 10-12 point font; 1" margins. GENERAL NOTES: The research paper should be regarded as a process (rather than an end) and will be written in several phases: abstract, annotated bibliography, 1st draft, and final draft.
III. COURSE POLICIES
IV. COURSE TEXTS
Available from Atticus Albion Bookstore (Amherst Center): Dorothy Allison, Trash. Firebrand Books, 1988. Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands = la frontera: the new mestiza. Spinsters/Aunt Lute, 1987. Susan Bordo, The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and Private. Farrar Strauss Giroux, 1999. Judith Halberstam, Female Masculinity. Duke UP, 1998. Barbara Cruikshank, The Will to Empower: Democratic Citizens and Other Subjects. Cornell UP, 1999. Diana Hacker, ed. A Writer's Reference, 3rd Edition. St. Martin's Press, 1997. Available from Paradise Copies (Northampton): Reader for Junior Year Writing for Women's Studies Majors (WOST 391W).
V. COURSE READER-TABLE OF CONTENTS
Bailey, Busejé. "Opening Up to a lot of Pain," in Collaboration in the Feminine (Barbara Godard, ed.). Toronto: 2nd Story Press, 1994, pp. 256-57. Blackbridge, Persimmon et al., "Doing Time," in Collaboration in the Feminine (Barbara Godard, ed.). Toronto: 2nd Story Press, 1994, pp. 140-47. Charles, Carolle. "Gender and Politics in Contemporary Haiti: The Duvalierist State, Transnationalism, and the Emergence of a New Feminism (1980-1990)," Feminist Studies 21.1 (1995): 135-164. Davies, Carole Boyce. "Migratory Subjectivities," from Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject. New York and London: Routledge, 1993, 1-37. Lowe, Lisa. "Immigration, Citizenship, Racialization: Asian American Critique," from Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1996, pp. 1-36. Joseph, May. "The Performance of Citizenship," from Nomadic Identities: The Performance of Citizenship. University of Minnesota Press, 1999, pp. 1-20. Zita, Jacquelyn N. "A Suite for the Body (in Four Parts)," from Body Talk: Philosophical Reflections on Sex and Gender. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998, pp. 202-208.
VI. COURSE SCHEDULE
General Template for Weekly Schedule (please note exceptions on detailed weekly schedule below): Mondays-Discussion of reading assignments. Wednesdays (odd weeks)-1st draft of written assignments due (turn in 2 copies). Wednesdays (even weeks)-2nd draft of written assignments due (1 copy); Class workshops. Friday-Journals due; Peer Editing workshops (odd wks); discussion of readings (even wks).
Week 1 Introduction to Course-Goals, Objectives, Requirements Wed., Sept. 8: Discuss syllabus: course description, requirements, texts, schedule, policies, expectations. Fri., Sept. 10: Outline various genres of writing-autobiographical paper, creative-critical essay, cultural review article, scholarly research paper; discussion of language, identity and the importance of writing for women; introduction to A Writer's Reference (bring to class with you).
Week 2 Autobiography, Part I: "Reading Trash" Mon., Sept. 13: Discuss stories from Allison's Trash-"Preface," "River of Names." Wed., Sept. 15: CLASS WORKSHOP #1-Auto/Biographical Writing Exercise (In class exercise). Note: Explication of autobiographical paper assignment (bring syllabus to class with you). Fri., Sept. 17: Discuss story from Trash-"The Meanest Woman Ever Left Tennessee"
Week 3 Autobiography, Part II: "Reading more Trash" Mon., Sept. 20: Discuss stories from Trash--"Mama," "Don't tell me . . ." Wed., Sept. 22: Discuss stories from Trash-"The Muscles of the Mind'; and "A Lesbian Appetite." Due: 1st Draft-Autobiographical Essay (5-6 pages). Fri., Sept. 24: PEER EDITING WORKSHOP #1
Week 4 Autobiography, Part III: "Reading the Borderlands" Mon., Sept. 27: Discuss selections of Anzaldúa's Borderlands-Chapters 1 & 2 (pp. 1-24) Wed., Sept. 29: CLASS WORKSHOP #2-Major punctuation errors (fragments, run-ons, comma-splices): G4-G5 in Hacker Note: Explication of creative, critical essay assignment (bring syllabus to class with you). Due: Final Draft-Autobiographical Essay (5-6 pages). Fri., Oct. 1: Discuss selections of Anzaldúa's Borderlands-Chapters 5 & 7 (pp. 53-64, 77-91)
Week 5 Creative, Critical Writing I: "Bodies and Power" I Mon., Oct. 4: Discuss Blackbridge et al., "Doing Time" Wed., Oct. 6: Discuss Zita, "A Suite for the Body (in Four Parts)" Due: 1st Draft-Creative, Critical essay. Fri., Oct. 8: PEER EDITING WORKSHOP #2
Week 6 Creative, Critical Writing II: "Bodies and Power" II Mon., Oct. 11: No Class-Columbus Day; Wed. will follow a Mon. schedule. Wed., Oct. 13: CLASS WORKSHOP #3- Grammatical Sentences : G1-G4 in Hacker Note: Explication of cultural review article assignment (bring syllabus to class with you). Due: 2nd Draft-Creative, Critical essay. Fri., Oct. 15: Discuss Busejé Bailey's "Opening Up"; Presentations-Creative, Critical Essays (extra credit)
MIDTERM STUDENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES BEGIN
Week 7 Cultural Review Articles I: "'Men,' Gender & Masculinity" Mon., Oct. 18: Discuss Bordo's The Male Body: "hard and soft" (36-68) Wed., Oct. 20: Discuss Bordo: "What is a Phallus?" (84-104) Due: 1st Draft-Cultural Review article (5-6 pages). Fri., Oct. 22: PEER EDITING WORKSHOP #3
Week 8 Cultural Review Articles II: "'Men,' Gender, & Masculinity" Mon., Oct. 25: Discuss Bordo: "Gentleman or Beast? The Double Bind of Masculinity" (229-64). Wed., Oct. 27: CLASS WORKSHOP #4- Punctuation: P1-P7 in Hacker, with emphasis on comma usage P1-P2 Note: Explication of abstract assignment (bring syllabus to class with you). Due: 2nd Draft-Cultural Review article (5-6 pages). Fri., Oct. 29: Discuss Bordo: "gay men's revenge" (153-167)
Week 9 Cultural Review Articles III: "'Women,' Gender, & Masculinity" Mon., Nov. 1: Halberstam's Female Masculinity: "An Introduction to Female Masculinity" (1-43). Wed., Nov. 3: Discuss Halberstam: "Transgender Butch: Butch/FTM Border Wars . . ." (141-74) Fri., Nov. 5: RESEARCH SESSION #1: Meet in W.E.B. DuBois Library (Main Floor).
MIDTERM STUDENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES END
Week 10 Cultural Review Articles III: "'Women,' Gender, & Masculinity" Mon., Nov. 8: Discuss Halberstam: "Drag Kings: Masculinity and Performance" (231-266). Wed., Nov. 10: CLASS WORKSHOP #5-MLA Style/APA Style for In-text Citations: M1 & A1-a in Hacker Fri., Nov. 12: RESEARCH SESSION #2: Meet in W.E.B. DuBois Library (Main Floor).
Week 11 Scholarly Research-Feminists Theorize Citizenship I: "Migrants, Subjects, Nations" Mon., Nov. 15: No class-Thursday schedule following Veteran's Day, November 11. Wed., Nov. 17: Discuss Boyce Davies' "Migratory Subjectivities" Due: 1st Draft-Abstract (2-3 pages) of final research paper. Fri., Nov. 19: PEER EDITING WORKSHOP #4
Week 12 Scholarly Research- Feminists Theorize Citizenship II: "Citizenship & Ethnicity" Mon., Nov. 22: Discuss Lowe's "Immigration, Citizenship, Racialization" Wed., Nov. 24: CLASS WORKSHOP #6-MLA Style/APA Style for Bibliographical Citations: M2 & A1-b in Hacker Note: Explication of annotated bibliography & research paper assignments (bring syllabus). Due: 2nd Draft-Abstract (3 pages) of final research paper. Fri., Nov. 26: No Class-Thanksgiving Holiday
Week 13 Scholarly Research- Feminists Theorize Citizenship III: "Trans/nationalism" Mon., Nov. 29: Discuss Carolle Charles' "Gender and Politics in Contemporary Haiti" Wed., Dec. 1: Discuss Joseph's "The Performance of Citizenship" Due: 1st Draft-annotated bibliography (minimum of 5 sources) in APA or MLA style. Fri., Dec. 3: PEER EDITING WORKSHOP #5
Week 14 Scholarly Research- Feminists Theorize Citizenship IV: "Subjects & State Power" Mon., Dec. 6: Discuss Cruikshank's The Will to Empower: "Introduction: Small Things" (pp. 1-18) Wed., Dec. 8: Discuss Cruikshank: "Democratic Subjects" (pp. 19-42) Due: 2nd Draft-annotated bibliography (minimum of 10 sources) in APA or MLA style. Note: Requests for Extensions or Incompletes must be received in writing by 12/8. Fri., Dec. 10 Discuss Cruikshank: "The Will to Empower: Technologies of Citizenship . . ." (pp. 67-86) Due: 1st Draft-research paper (not > 8-10 pages). Note: Remember to submit 2 copies.
PEER EDITING #6 (OUTSIDE OF CLASS): In lieu of "In-class" Peer-Editing, each student will edit another student's draft for 1-hr. outside of class and return the editing notes/comments to both the student and the instructor on 12/13.
Week 15 Scholarly Research- Feminists Theorize Citizenship VI: "Subjects & State Power" Mon., Dec. 13: Last Day of Classes. Cruikshank: "Welfare Queens: Ruling by Number" (pp. 104-21) Due: "Peer Editing Notes" for first draft of research paper. Note: Submit 2 copies.
Week 16 Finals Week Tues., Dec. 21 ¯²¯³± ~ Winter Solstice ~ ±³¯²¯ Due: Writing Portfolio- Final draft of research paper (18-20 pages), including abstract & annotated bibliography; Journal; peer-editing notes; and drafts of all previous papers should be submitted in an orderly, neat presentation for final course grade evaluation.
VII. WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS
The autobiographical essay should be creative, detail-rich, descriptive prose. Focus on vivid images, highly specific and sensate language. Avoid generalizations, abstractions (unless grounded in a tangible 'moment'), wordiness, vagueness, and weak statements of feelings. Show the emotion; don't tell it! Suggested topics:.
Memory. Write about a memory in vivid detail: in poetic or prosaic writing, recreate the scenic moment. Recall the sights, sounds, voices, and emotions of the memory. Be specific. If the memory is a childhood one, try to capture the voice of yourself (and others, if applicable) as a child. Focus on creating the memory through plot-move through the memory step-by-step, allowing the reader to visualize the moment. Conflict. Isolate an experience of conflict between yourself and someone else-delineate the altercation or tense relationship. Recreate the dialogue, the gestures, facial expressions, actions. Rather than writing about a troubled relationship in a general way, focus on one specific experience, one event (such as an argument, a break-up, etc.). Was the conflict resolved? If so, how? Again, be specific.¥ Memorable dream. Describe an indelible dream as concretely as possible-what you saw, felt, heard, your physical and emotional sensations, and so on. Recreate the dream visually and sensately for the reader. Merge the dream with a 'present' moment (perhaps the 'present' moment of actual recollection; perhaps another 'present' moment that resonates with the dream), emphasizing the significance of the dream. Try to illustrate the symbolism of the dream without overtly analyzing it-i.e., don't tell its meaning; in other words, reveal its importance creatively through re-creation and incorporation into the 'present' moment-i.e., drawing in words. Travel. Describe a journey you took, tell what happened, how you felt in the beginning, how your experience developed. Explore both the outer journey and the inner journey. What new insight or change in attitudes resulted from this journey? How did you see yourself differently? Be as concrete and as sensual as possible in your use of detail. Avoid talking about your experience-present it to us. Death. Describe an experience with death or near death, your own or that of someone else. What did you see? What did you feel? How did your inner and outer worlds change as a result of this death? You may want to compare how you felt about it at the time and how it seems to you now. Focus on memorable details of the experience; allow the reader to visualize this moment concretely. Place. Write a short description, from a first-person point of view, of a place that you know very well. This description could be the basis for a short story, or it could remain as a pure description. Narrate the events of the place at a certain time; for example, as the sun sets and the day begins to close; or during a specific season (e.g., late winter days in the place; summer afternoons; spring mornings). Make the description of place and your intimate connection to the place the major aspect of the autobiographical sketch.
The topic, genre, form and style for this assignment are open to your own creativity. You may organize and frame the paper from myriad positions. The essay should be individualistically defined. Suggestions for the topic might include (but are certainly not limited to) the following: a political letter, an editorial, a short story, a personal or creative non-fiction essay, or a Zine. The creative possibilities for the assignment are endless-try to see this fact as an advantage, rather than an obstacle. Be creative! Be critical! Be innovative! Be experimental!
The cultural review article should analyze a "pop" or popular culture text from a feminist point of view. A "text" can be defined as any medium of communication that enters public or private discourse-for example, literature, journalism, magazine, television, films, CDs, or other cultural and/or political events. More specifically, the article might address issues such as the following: the media coverage of the next Presidential election; recent films such as "Eyes Wide Shut" or "The Muse"; female rock singers and the "Lillith Fair"; race, gender and/or sexuality on television (especially-the virtual absence of minorities on new shows during primetime this season; the representations of 'gayness' on "Will & Grace" and other shows); media representation of gender, race, sexuality and so on through the News or TV 'news' documentaries (such as Nightline, 20/20, Dateline NBC, or 60 minutes).
The "Abstract" (which will eventually serve as the Introduction to the final research paper) should do the following: 1) Formulate the critical questions pertinent to your final research topic; e.g., "Relevant to my analysis of the influence of media images on eating disorders are the following critical questions: How do various media sources reinforce negative body and self-images? How does television impact the body image of young women? How . . .? etc." 2) Outline the thesis and major ideas of the research paper, providing a substantial (but not comprehensive) exposition of each point in your argument; e.g., "The major thesis of this paper on domestic abuse and its relationship to pornography is . . . The first point in my argument is . . . The next point . . . etc.." 3) Specify or introduce the methodological approach of the paper; e.g., women's studies combined with research in legal studies; textual analysis of literature on x, framed by feminist criticism on this topic; scholarship in psychology combined with individual case studies; critique of media studies approaches to eating disorders; international feminism and work on economic and nutritional development; historical and formal studies of film; etc.. 4) Establish the critical or theoretical frame of the argument, if relevant; e.g., application of various critical theories-psychoanalytic, Marxist, feminist, queer-to the topic 5) Summarize the relevant scholarship, if any, that subtends or bolsters your thesis, including all references that are crucial to your own argument. e.g., "Scholars such as Sasha Torres and Danae Clark have significantly contributed to the theorization of lesbian representation in various media-Torres in the areas of television and film, Clark in print media such as magazines and mail-order catalogues . . ."
The "Annotated Bibliography" of primary and secondary sources (approx. 10+ sources, 5 must be annotated by the first draft; 10 must be annotated for the second draft) for the final research paper should be prepared according to APA or MLA style guidelines. Single-space bibliographic sources; double-space annotations. The annotations-formally and grammatically written-will be integrated into the body of the final research paper. Keep this fact in mind as you write the annotations. The annotations should a) outline the thesis and major ideas of the work; b) summarize the scholar's ideas; c) explain how the source is useful to the final research paper; and d) address specific passages, sections, or quotes, if they are significant to the research paper.
Using the resources, research and grammar workshops of the preceding weeks, students will write a first draft of the final research paper. The abstract may be utilized as the introduction to the paper; the bibliographic annotations may be used as in-text paragraphs for the body of the paper (outlining the contributions of other scholars to your research topic) or as footnotes (if the source is more tangential to your thesis). The research paper should have an interesting, well-organized introduction (with a clearly-stated thesis), well-developed arguments in the body of the paper (supported by research and scholarship), and an engaging conclusion that concisely summarizes your ideas and points to areas of future research related to your topic.
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