Organizing for the Remainder of the Semester

Anne Dalke's picture

I thought we did a great job, the week before break, re-thinking the various dimensions of our interactive co-learning and co-teaching. What we didn't complete, however, was our discussion about just what content we'll be handling in the evolving form of our classroom. So, nudging us along...

I've just put up a draft syllabus for the remainder of the semester, trying to draw together the multiple different directions in which we all want to go (including ourselves, our words, global and local sex work, conservative feminism, non-white U.S. feminism, the construction of masculinity, transgender and women's colleges....). I've also put up links to each of the texts, films, and sites, so you can check out the individual suggestions.

When you return from break on Sunday night, please post here your thoughts about this proposal --> both what looks good to you, and what you think is problematic. We need to reach a decision so we can all order our texts (I'll need to know, especially and soon, whether you want me to get them through the Bookshop...)

Comments

melal's picture

I like our draft syllabus.

I like our draft syllabus. Though I always hoped that we could include some more content of global feminism, I think that we will have chance to instill it when we talk about what we have now on the syllabus, since it is easy to draw connections between all of the topics mentioned. I am particularly interested in Half the Sky part. We used to talk about the class issue within feminism, I think by taking look at women struggling in developing areas in the world such as Africa and Asia, we can broaden the breadth of our discussion and our understanding about correlations between feminism and economics. Of course it is true that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. But meantime, we cannot deny that the unleashing process also make materialism an obvious concern. Women turned to be more materialistic when they consider their marriages, which I think are is not a sign of feminism.

MC's picture

Thoughts on Syllabus

I too agree with the concern about how many movies we have, especially having them so clumped together. While movies allow for the opportunity to multitask a specific chunk of time still has to be set aside for them, and that can be difficult to coordinate. Readings feel far more flexible to me, but print is also a medium that I personally can consume in far greater quantities than film, so this might be a personal bias and not relevant to the class. I feel like we should cut either The Undefeated or Game Change out-- maybe Game Change since The Undefeated is on Netflix Instant, but on the other hand The Undefeated is also 2 hours long which might actually make it less convenient than Game Change. They are both probably very good to watch together, but the solid chunk of movies makes me very uncomfortable.

May interested parties start things that resemble supplemental material lists/suggestions for days? I think that would give us a venue to discuss more specific topics than we might miss in class, and also just be very interesting.

Otherwise the syllabus seems acceptable. The transitions are, as mentioned already, fairly smooth. Let's roll.

dchin's picture

The rest of the syllabus

The rest of the syllabus looks wonderful. Although we didn't get to include all of the topics that the class is interested in, I think that what we have now, especially given how easy it is to draw connections between all of the topics mentioned, will allow room to informally incorporate everyone's interests. I find myself surprisingly excited to discuss "Game Change". I can't say that I've made an effort to look beyond the mocking media portrayals of Sarah Palin so I anticipate a fruitful discussion of her presence in the 2008 election. Thinking about how much I haven't thought about her reminds me of a an icebreaker we did early in the semester.We had to describe the person sitting next to us, and at the end, it seemed that everyone had stuck to a 'safe'-no-chance-of-being-offensive description. So the question came up, and I think it's relevant in discussing women in the public sphere, of how do women look at each other? When women judge other women, is it less/more/just as problematic as when men are employing the gaze?

dchin's picture

The rest of the syllabus

The rest of the syllabus looks wonderful. Although we didn't get to include all of the topics that the class is interested in, I think that what we have now, especially given how easy it is to draw connections between all of the topics mentioned, will allow room to informally incorporate everyone's interests. I find myself surprisingly excited to discuss "Game Change". I can't say that I've made an effort to look beyond the mocking media portrayals of Sarah Palin so I anticipate a fruitful discussion of her presence in the 2008 election. Thinking about how much I haven't thought about her reminds me of a an icebreaker we did early in the semester.We had to describe the person sitting next to us, and at the end, it seemed that everyone had stuck to a 'safe'-no-chance-of-being-offensive description. So the question came up, and I think it's relevant in discussing women in the public sphere, of how do women look at each other? When women judge other women, is it less/more/just as problematic as when men are employing the gaze?

rayj's picture

yes!

This all looks great, the draft syllabus. I am especially excited about Kate Bornstein and the stuff on masculinity/feminism that kind of situation, bringing that to the table! 

pejordan's picture

I think the selections

I think the selections represent very well the topics that we wanted to explore. My particular favorites are bell hooks and "Half the Sky"--I think those selections will help us to hear some feminist voices that we haven't encountered yet. I really like the Gender Workbook and think it will help shape our discussions for the remainder of the semester. As far as the concerns over the movies, I don't think it will be too much of a problem to watch both "Game Change" and "The Undefeated" for the same class; I think since the movies have the same subject it would be good to discuss them together. The one thing I see as potentially problematic is only spending one day on sex work, just because it seemed to be something that many people wanted to look at. I would consider choosing either sex work or "controversial" women (Sarah Palin) to spend Days 21 and 22 on, but that poses problems as well because we have so much that we want to discuss.

meowwalex's picture

I agree, both the sex work

I agree, both the sex work topic and "controversial" feminists have stood out to me as topics that I definitely want to explore. However, we are running out of time and that is terribly sad because there are so many other things that I want to learn. I think that what we have here is a good representation of many of the topics that everyone explained they would like to include in our syllabus, but of course there are certain suggestions we will have to leave out in the interest of time :-( I wish this class was a whole semester long, I know we would have plenty to talk about :)

meowwalex's picture

I agree, both the sex work

I agree, both the sex work topic and "controversial" feminists have stood out to me as topics that I definitely want to explore. However, we are running out of time and that is terribly sad because there are so many other things that I want to learn. I think that what we have here is a good representation of many of the topics that everyone explained they would like to include in our syllabus, but of course there are certain suggestions we will have to leave out in the interest of time :-( I wish this class was a whole semester long, I know we would have plenty to talk about :)

epeck's picture

I want to give input on this,

I want to give input on this, but basically agree with what aybala50 and Amophrast said...overall I really like this syllabus.  I am especially looking forward to My Gender Workbook - it seems that a large portion of the class (myself included) has never  studied gender/sexuality/feminist issues, so this looks like a really great and broad (but not simplistic by any means) overview.  I also am interested in the week about masculinity, although I was wondering what role the book will play in our discussion.  I looked it up but wasn't positive about how it fit in, besides being a book about a man or dealing with ideas about masculinity.  Is there a more specific reason this book was chosen?  

aybala50's picture

Excited for what's to come

I love the idea of reading Kate Bornstein's My Gender Workbook as a beginning to our continued exploration of feminism. I feel like it is a great start and an informative beginning to the continuation of our journey. After researching the Half the Sky Movement I would love to learn more about it and think it will create great discussions in class. We will have the opportunity to discuss women, women's role in feminism, and a feminist's role in change. What is our duty? Our responsibility? 

I love the idea of watching more documentaries/movies, but going along with Amophrast's concern, do we have enough time to watch two movies for the 5th? Also, including April 3rd's assignment of Live Nude Girls Unite, we would be watching 3 movies in a row. Is this too much? Is there a want/reason to split these up to be sepearated by some readings?  

As a side note, Live Nude Girls Unite as well as The Undefeated are on Instant Watch on Netflix.

The rest of the materials for the course feel like they have a good flow to them. I feel like the current material on the syllabus transition well for each week. I am particularly looking forward to Horowitz's work on the beginnings of women's colleges.

Overall, I like this syllabus a lot and am looking forward to what discussions may arise from it!  

Amophrast's picture

April 5th - two movies? Will

April 5th - two movies? Will we have time for this? might want to consider setting up unofficial screening times via serendip or email

Something that strikes me about The Smartest Kid on Earth is that fact that the physical book seems to do a lot for the story (according to the Amazon description), and I think it's far enough along (~a month) that we could all hopefully acquire or borrow a book.

I'm a bit sad we can't squeeze in Jack Halberstam before the 13th, but I don't think any of us could have planned for that.

In general, I like the order and flow of material--things seem to transition pretty well.

I also got a delightful children's book today that I want to bring to class! It's from Giovanni's Room (queer bookstore in Philly) and it's called Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude. It is super fantastic in that it is written in a Stein-esque way, and seems very true to their life, or at least what we got to see in The Book of Salt. Even Basket the poodle is in it!
My favorite line: "You see Miss Gertrude is a genius. And a genius is a genius. So what if no one understands a word she writes. Some day they might."

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