Hunt Syllabus Fall 2011

     Intro to Women’s Studies 

     Prof. Theresa Hunt


Conklin 108                                                                                                                                                                  

Rutgers-Newark  Fall 2011  

Office hrs: W/F by appt. 973-353-5279x649


Course Description  Women’s Studies is a field of inquiry that examines the perspectives, experiences, and stories of women in a multidisciplinary and cross-cultural context. This course will introduce you to basic concepts and theories of Women’s Studies, drawing on a variety of disciplines and analyzing past and current discussions of gender, power and equity.


Required Texts


Available at NJ Books:


1) Conde, Maryse. I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0345384202.

2) Seager, Joni. The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World, 4th Edition. New York: Penguin.   

    ISBN 0143114514

3) Wilson, Sengupta & Evans. Defending Our Dreams: Global Feminist Voices For a New

    Generation. New York: Zed Books, 2005. ISBN 1842777270


Other readings will be available via “Course Documents” option in BlackBoard.


Learning Outcomes at the completion of the course, students will have a proficient understanding of


  • how the interdisciplinary nature of Women’s Studies uses a variety of topics, methods, values, perspectives and tools of analysis to understand women’s lives
  • various philosophies of social construction and feminist theory, and the ways in which they have been used to understand gender and gender inequity
  • how specific historical, geopolitical and economic circumstances construct and perpetuate gender inequities, both within the United States and internationally
  • how women have organized under “feminism” and “women’s movements” to combat gender inequality, poverty, human trafficking and lack of reproductive and sexual health and rights and other issues
  • the tensions and organizational dynamics of historical and contemporary feminist movements


Course Assignments & Policies


This course consists of three core components: lectures, exams, and recitations.



Most of this course is comprised of lectures that will incorporate some time for discussion or class participation. Core concepts of feminist theory and women’s studies as a social science will be introduced during lectures. References to assigned readings and supplemental materials, such as films, documentaries, statistical or researched reports on women’s issues, etc. will also be addressed.



Two closed-book exams will be given (November 2 and December 21) dividing the course into three main sections. The last exam will be given according to the registrar’s scheduled exam period in December, but is not a cumulative (“final”) exam.


Exams consist of three components: multiple choice, identifications, and short answer. Material will be drawn from class readings and lectures. A portion of each class prior to the exam will consist of an exam review.  



Five class meetings will be devoted to recitation sessions. These will be carried out online, using Blackboard’s Discussion Board feature. 30% of the final course grade is comprised of performance in recitation sessions.


How recitation sessions work:


On the dates designated in the course schedule, class time will be used for posting to the Discussion Board. Students must post once in response to the thread that has been initiated by the professor during class time, and once within the week as a follow up, preferably to another student’s post. To clarify: students must post twice to the discussion board to receive credit, first during class time and second within the week following the recitation session.


What recitation sessions consist of:

Recitation sessions are designed to supplement class lectures, review core concepts and readings, and provide an opportunity for students to participate in the class via online discussion. The class has been divided into 8 groups of approximately 10 students each, as posted under “Recitation Groups” in “Course Information” on Blackboard.


On a recitation day, students should locate the correct forum under “Discussion Board” (i.e. Group 1, Group 2, etc.), find the introductory thread posted by the professor, and respond accordingly and as directed. An effective response will address the starter thread concisely but thoroughly, offering reference to the course readings or lectures. An ineffective response is one that is vague, general, or limited to a sentence or two (“I agree with you”) without demonstrating any comprehension of the class material.


An important note on course policies: Plagiarism, which means presenting someone else’s words, thoughts, or ideas (in whole or in part) as your own, and cheating during examinations in any form will not be tolerated. Rutgers enforces strict academic integrity policies, and any cheating or plagiarized material will result in a failing grade for this class, academic probation, and possible suspension or expulsion from the university.



Assessment Formula


Exam I                        20%

Exam II           30%

Recitations      50%



Course Schedule

Subject to change as needed


Gender, Sex, & Feminism


9/7                    Course introduction and overview


Readings, available in Course Documents:

1. Lorber: “Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender”

                  (in Paradoxes of Gender, Yale UP 1994)

2. Blum: “The Gender Blur”

                  (Utne Reader, September/October 1998)

3. Glenn: “The Social Construction and Institutionalization of Gender and Race”        

                 (in Ferree, Revisioning Gender, Sage 1999)

4. AAUW: “Why So Few? Women in STEM” (2010)




9/12                   The Politics of Patriarchy: Marginalization and Subordination


Readings, available in Course Documents, The Penguin Atlas of Women & Defending Our Dreams

              1. Seager: “States Against Discrimination”, “The State of Women” and “In Their Place”  


2.  Beauvoir: excerpt from “Woman as Other” (in The Second Sex, Knopf 2009)

3.  Kimmel: “A Degendered Society?” (in The Gendered Society 2000)

4.  Peacock: “We Exist! Voices of Male Feminism”  (187-200 in Defending our Dreams)


9/14                   Gender & Roles in Historical Contexts


            Readings, available in Course Documents

  1. Allen: “The Patriarchalization of Native American Women” (in The Sacred Hoop, Beacon 1992)
  2. Stone: excerpt from When God Was a Woman (Mariner 1978)
  3. Robertson: “Africa into the Americas? Slavery, Women, the Family and the Gendered Division of Labor” (in More than Chattel, Indiana UP 1996)


9/19                  Gender & roles in historical contexts II


            Readings, available in Course Documents

  1. Woolf, “Shakespeare’s Sister” & “Professions for Women”
  2. Gliman: excerpts from Women and Economics (Maynard & Small 1898)
  3. Schreiner, “Sex Parasitism” (in Woman and Labour, Gutenberg Project)






9/26                 Feminisms & Women’s Movements I


              Readings, available in Course Documents

  1. Stanton, “Address to the NY Legislature” (1854)
  2. Truth, “Ain’t I a Woman?”  (Delivered 1851. Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio)


9/28                   Feminisms & Women’s Movements II


               Readings, available in Course Documents

            1. Steinem, “If Men Could Menstruate”

2. Davis, “The Approaching Obsolescence of Housework: A Working-Class Perspective”

3. Chisholm, “For the Equal Rights Amendment” (Delivered 10 Aug 1970, Washington,



10/3        TBD



10/5                   Feminisms & Women’s Movements III


               Readings, available in Course Documents, The Penguin Atlas & Defending Our


            1. Baumgardner & Richards: “What is Feminism?”

2. Martin:  “I’m Not A Feminist (and there is no “But”)” (in The Guardian 10 April, 


3. Mohanty, “Under Western Eyes” (in boundary 2 12(3), 1984)

4. Seager: “Feminisms” (104-105 in The Penguin Atlas)

5. Pritchett, “Will Dualism Tear us Apart?” (8-19 in Defending Our Dreams)



10/10                Women & Religion I


                Readings, available in Course Documents

  1. Mott, “Not Christianity, but Priestcraft”
  2. Ahmed, “Veil of Ignorance” (Foreign Policy, May/June 2011)
  3. Islam, “Headscarf Ban Misses the Point” (YaleGlobal, 2004)
  4. Maier, “Lifting the Veil in the Middle East” (New York Times, June 19 2006)



10/12               Women & Religion II


                Readings, available in Course Documents

  1. Madek, “Killing Dishonor: Effective Eradication of Honor Killing” (Suffolk Transnational Law Review 53, 2005
  2. Bilefsky: “Soul Searching in Turkey After a Gay Man is Killed” (NY Times November 25, 2009)


10/14                RECITATION 2


10/19               Gender, Bodies & Politics I

            Readings, available in Course Documents & The Penguin Atlas

  1. Wolf, “The Beauty Myth” (in The Beauty Myth, Morrow & Co. 1991)
  2. Morrison, excerpt from The Bluest Eye (Vintage 1970)
  3. Lin, “In the Eye of the Beholder? Eyelid Surgery and Young Asian-American Women” (Alternet 2001)
  4. Seager, “Beauty” (52-53)


10/24             Gender, Bodies & Politics I, continued

             Readings, available in The Penguin Atlas & Defending Our Dreams

  1. Seager, “Birthrights” (The Penguin Atlas 32-43)
  2. Ahmed, “Challenging Discourse, Effecting Change” (Defending Our Dreams 20-33)



10/26             RECITATION 3



10/31          Gender, Bodies & Politics II

             Readings, available in Course Documents & The Penguin Atlas

            1. Dugger, “Maternal Deaths Focus Harsh Light on Uganda” (NY Times July 29, 2011)

  1. Rosenfield et. al., “Making Motherhood Safe in Developing Countries” (New England Journal of Medicine 356, 2007)
  2. Washington, “The Black Stork” (in Medical Apartheid, Anchor 2007)



11/2               EXAM 1


11/7               Women & State Systems I: Law, Rights & Protection

            Readings, available in Course Documents, The Penguin Atlas & Defending Our


  1. Seager, “Global Sex Trafficking” (56-57), “Domestic Violence” (28-29), “Rape” (58-59)

2.GJC Campaign in Support for Full Medical Care to Girls and Women Raped in Armed Conflict

  1. Joshi, “You’ll Know What We are Talking About When You Grow Older” (79-94 in Defending Our Dreams)
  2. Sanford, “From Genocide to Feminicide: Impunity and Human Rights in 21st C Guatemala” (Journal of Human Rights 7, 2008)


11/9              Women & State Systems II: Rights & Representation

            Readings, available in Course Documents & The Penguin Atlas

  1. Seager, “The Vote” (94-95) & “Women in Government” (96-97)
  2. Quindlen, “We’re Missing Some Senators” (Newsweek March 21, 2005)
  3. Sjoberg, “Agency, Militarized Femininity and Enemy Others: Observations from the War in Iraq”. (International Feminist Journal of Politics)


11/14     Women & State Systems III: Rights & Representation

            Readings, available in Defending Our Dreams

  1. Afrin & Schwartz, “A Human Rights Instrument that Works for Women” (150-163)
  2. Scampini, “Reflections on the World Social Forum” (125-135)


11/16       RECITATION 4


11/21           Representations of Women, Feminism, & Women’s Movements

Conde, I, Tituba, Black Witch of  Salem: Book I



11/28      Representations of Women, Feminism, & Women’s Movements   II


  1. Conde, I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem Book II        
  2. Gonzalez, “Feminine Whispers” (Defending Our Dreams 179-186)
  3. Maoulidi, “Moving the Personal to the Political” (Defending Our Dreams 216-223)


11/30     Continued Discussion;

        1. Vohra, “Separation Anxiety” (Defending Our Dreams 201-211)


12/5    TBD




12/12 Exam review


Final Exam: Wednesday, 12/21       3-6 PM