SONOMA STATE UNIVERSITY

WOMEN'S AND GENDER STUDIES 311

Women's Voices: Global Perspectives

(Section 7 / Spring, 2003)

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Syllabus
Assignments
Guidelines and Articles
Links and Annotated Bibliographies

COURSE SYLLABUS

Instructor
Course

Description

 

Course

Objectives

Required and

Recommended

Texts

Reasonable

Accommodation /

Grading

 

Major

Requirements/

Assignments

Instructor

Barbara Lesch McCaffry

mccaffry @sonoma.edu

Class Meetings:

Mondays, 4-6:40 p.m.

Class Location:

Carson 20

Office:

Carson 62

Office Hours:

Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30-3:00, and by appointment

Office Telephone:

(707) 664-2273

Home Telephone and FAX:

585-2291 (10 a.m. to 10 p.m. only; please call before transmitting a FAX.)

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Course Description

This course will explore contemporary women's voices from a global perspective. We will be exploring the voices of women in fiction and film that deal with issues that affect the lives of women and girls across the globe (including Africa; the Middle East; Asia; and the Caribbean). We will also use the lens of the social sciences to explore the underlying issues in these texts and films and compare them to issues within the United States.

Videos and guest lectures will add spice to the mixture. In addition to our group explorations, each person in the course will have an opportunity to explore an issue relating to global feminism or the status of women in a specific country in greater depth through the lens of a woman writer, filmmaker or social scientist. The course will also explore the intersection of issues in society and in the texts and films of sexism, classism, racism, homophobia/ heterosexism and colonialism. Questions we may be posing for ourselves include: What questions should we ask when exploring women's lives in other cultures? How does our own view of the world differ? What role do tradition or religion play in shaping women's lives? Does the experience of women differ within and across cultures? Are there generational differences that show a shift in perspectives? How might we deal with women and men from these cultures if they were in our classrooms? How has our own view of the world and its women changed in relation to our exploration of the views of others? All voices and points of view will be welcomed and respected.

"We cannot escape collusion with racism or homophobia simply by having 'humanistic' intentions,by a desire to be politically liberal, or in the belief that we are in revolt against silence for anyone's sake but our own" Adrienne Rich

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Course Objectives

  1. To critically explore issues related to the course theme through the lens of women writers, filmmakers, and social scientists;
  2. To acquire an understanding of how gender and globalization have shaped the realities of those living across the globe;
  3. To expand our understanding of issues of sexism, classism, racism, homophobia/heterosexism and colonialism and the impact they have on the modern world;
  4. To deepen our understanding of the issues facing women from a variety of religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds and explore the ways in which they are similar to or different from our own;
  5. To enhance our skills in reading, understanding, discussing, and writing about both fictional and non-fictional texts, as well as films; and
  6. To enhance our ability to effectively use printed and web sources.

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Texts

  • Shawn Meghan Burn, Women Across Cultures: A Global Perspective (on reserve under McCaffry for WGS 311))
  • Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies (PS 3551 .L8455 I5 1994)
  • Lauretta Ngcobo, And They Didn't Die (PR 9369.3 .N4 A 8 1991)
  • Nawal El-Saadawi, Woman at Point Zero (PJ 7862 .A3 W6 1983)

The texts are available at Northlight Books, 550 E. Cotati Avenue in Cotati (707) 792-4300. The bookstore and cafe is next to Oliver's Market. Woman at Point Zero is on order and will be available soon. Students who need assistance in acquiring texts should contact Barbara. All texts should be purchased prior to the middle of February. Copies of the texts will also be available in the library's reserve collection. Copies of the videos will be available on reserve in the Multimedia collection two days after the class in which they are shown).

 

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Reasonable Accommodation / Grading

Reasonable Accommodation:

In order to ensure reasonable accommodation for students with disabling conditions, please discuss any accommodation you may need for this class with me prior to the end of the second class meeting. You must to self-identify with Disabled Student Services (Stevenson 1038) in order to be eligible to receive services or reasonable accommodation for any classes at SSU.


Grading:

20%

Course participation (including participation in seminar discussions and the course listserv).

25%

Response papers (3)

15%

Course synthesis papers: a mid-semester synthesis paper with a course/self-evaluation and an optional extra credit essay and a final course/self-evaluation with an optional extra credit essay

25%

Individual research paper paper

20% for the paper

5% for the annotaed bibliograpgy

15%

Oral presentation on the country of your choice (including a handout)

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Course Requirements:

This is what is expected from you in this course aside from what Simone Weil called "an attentive heart."

Assignments:

All written assignments are due by noon in the box on the outside of my office door (Carson 62) or by FAX to my home at (707) 585-2291 except as noted. Please call before transmitting your FAX. All written assignments must be typewritten or word-processed (12-point typeface with one-inch margins). Only pre-approved late assignments will be accepted. Incomplete grades will be only given if there are compelling reasons (a documented medical or family emergency).

 

  • Response Papers (3): Minimum 2 typed pages each, double-spaced. They are due on 2/28, 4/4, 5/9 and 5/16. You will have a choice of responding to one chapter from the text and two novels, or one chapter from the text, one novel and one film (Alice Walker's Warrior Marks or Deepa Mehta's Fire). The second and third responses may be creative (a poem, diary, letter, art work, collage, or photograph with a written explanation of how this relates to our readings or one of the films). Students who want extra credit can do a fourth response paper that will be due on 5/16. Excerpts from the response papers will be shared with the group.

 

  • Course Synthesis Papers: Guidelines for these papers will posted on the course web page.

 

  • Mid-Semester Synthesis: allows you to synthesize what your have learned from the first half of the course (including a course and self-evaluation) and provides feedback on how successfully the course objectives are being met. There will also be an optional extra credit essay. Due 3/28.

 

  • Final Synthesis: includes an updated course and self-evaluation and an optional extra credit essay. There will also be a final in-class group exercise which allows you to synthesize what your have learned from the second half of the course and provides feedback on how successfully the course objectives were met. Due 5/23.

 

  • Presentation: a 5-7 minute presentation on the country of your choice. Please prepare a 1-2 page handout on your country that includes information on the status of women in that country and the key challenges those women face which includes a list of the sources you used.. It is recommended that you choose the same country that will be the focus for your research paper.

 

  • Individual Research Paper: A 5-6 page paper (minimum length). You will be choosing:

 

  • a work of fiction by a woman,
  • a film written by and/or directed by a woman, or
  • a study by a woman which explores issues facing women in her country.

The work selected as the primary focus of your paper should explore issues facing women in the country of the author or filmmaker. You should also consult a minimum of 3-5 additional academic sources for background.

Students are expected to meet with Barbara prior to 3/7 to discuss their topics. All topics must be pre-approved. There will be an initial version of the paper and annotated bibliography (due 4/18) and a final version (due 5/14). A copy of the final version of the annotated bibliography should be sent to Barbara as an e-mail enclosure by 5/19. Please do not FAX the initial or final versions of your paper.

Students who have not had prior experience doing research papers are strongly encouraged to attend the workshops offered by the Library on "Finding Books," "Finding Articles," and "Web Searching." The schedule for all of the library workshops is available at: http://libweb.sonoma.edu/assistance/workshops.html

The policy of Sonoma State University is to discipline students who cheat or plagiarize. Any student who cheats or plagiarizes on any assignment or examination may be subject to sanctions up to and including expulsion from the University.

Attendance:

  • More than one absence may result in a lowering of your final grade. If you miss a class during the semester, it is your responsibility to make up the work within one week of your absence. Before you return, please contact another person in the class so that you come back ready to participate. Students who miss more than one class during the semester may have the option of attending a pre-approved event or video screening that is related to the course theme (and submitting a response paper about it).

 

  • Students who are unable to attend class on the days that Alice Walker's Warrior Marks or Deepa Mehta's Fire are shown are expected to view these films prior to the next class meeting. It is also highly recommended that you view Educating Lucia, In the Name of Honour, Credit Where Credit is Due, and All Different, All Equal if you miss the class in which they are shown. All films will be available on reserve for viewing in the Multimedia area of the library by 2 p.m. on the Wednesday following the class in which they are shown.

Expectations:

  • A fair measure of time for this course is that for each hour spent in class you will be spending two hours in class preparation and/or work on one of the assigned writing exercises / paper / project or a minimum of six hours a week.

 

  • In order to ensure reasonable accommodation for students with disabling conditions, please self-identify with Disabled Student Services (Salazar 1049) and discuss any needs you have with Barbara prior to the end of the second class meeting.

 

  • I urge each of you to take an active role in your own and others' evaluation by inviting feedback from others on your work and by sharing your reactions as honestly as you can with others (including Barbara) about any aspect of their work and the course in general. Barbara will be available to each of you for individual consultation throughout the semester via e-mail, by phone, or in person.

Extra credit:

For optional extra credit prepare a brief oral report on issues facing women globally based on articles you find in the media and on the web, preferably during the class meeting that correlates with either our discussion of the relevant chapters in Burns or relate to the regions on which we are having presentations. Please bring the article or a printed copy of the information from the web with you to class. The last day to do an extra credit report in class is 5/19. Other options include an optional extra credit essay on both the mid-semester and final synthesis papers and an optional fourth response paper.

Grading:

 

  • 20 % for Participation including class seminar discussions, the course listserv, and leading at least one seminar discussion
  • 25% for Response Papers (3)
  • 15 % for Course Synthesis Papers: a mid-semester synthesis paper with a course/self-evaluation and a final course/self-evaluation with an optional extra credit essay
  • 25% for Individual Research Paper: 20% for the paper and 5% for the annotated bibliography
  • 15% for an Oral Presentation: on the country of your choice (including a handout)

Participation:

  • Active participation in each class meeting, based on your reading of the assignments. It includes participation in class seminar discussion using active listening skills. Students will also work with one other student in the class and be responsible for leading the course discussion at least once during the semester. There may also be some in-class, thought-provoking, creative, non-nerve-wracking writing exercises.

 

  • Thoughtful participation in the course listserv. You should read all messages from the course listserv by no later than midnight on Sunday each week and post at least two substantive questions or issues you want to discuss that week. The listserv is an extension of the course and supports our "seminaring" and collaborative work. Messages sent to the listserve at WGS311-7@sonoma.edu will automatically be sent to all those registered in the course, including Barbara.

    In order to send and receive messages from the course listserve, by 2/7 please send a plain text e-mail (not HTML) message to listserv@sonoma.edu. Leave the subject line blank. The message should read: "subscribe WGS311-7" on the first line and just the word "end" (without quotation marks) on the second line. Send the message. You should get an e-mail confirmation within an hour. If you have problems, please contact the IT Help Desk at 664-4357.

  • A final in-class exercise which allows you to synthesize what your have learned from the second half of the course and provides feedback on how successfully the course objectives were met.

Website for the course:

Using the course's website will be an important part of our learning process. The website includes the course syllabus, required readings, guidelines for papers, and other relevant information including links to websites on issues related to the course. Ability to access the website during the semester is required.

 

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Syllabus
Assignments
Guidelines and Articles
Links and Annotated Bibliographies