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This is the syllabus for 
Illinois Valley Community College's Division of Humanities, Fine Arts, and Social Sciences's 

Women in Ancient Cultures

Gender 2001
Section 100: Online

Summer 2018, June 13th - August 3rd

Kimberly M. Radek-Hall, Professor



Office: A-314, Phone: (815) 224-0395
Office hours:
Online, via e-mail
E-Mail: kimberly_radekhall@ivcc.edu

The Peplos Kore, Grecian Statue 
of Parian Marble, Circa 530 BCE



You will need critical reading and writing skills to successfully complete this course, hence you must have completed English 1001 or its equivalent. 

  General Education

This course transfers to other Illinois schools as part of the Illinois Articulation Initiative's iTransfer General Education program, fulfilling the requirements for an HF907 D class. Likewise, it will satisfy the following IVCC general education goals:

  1. To apply analytical and problem solving skills to personal, social, and professional issues and situations.
  2. To communicate successfully, both orally and in writing, to a variety of audiences.
  3. To construct a critical awareness of and appreciation for diversity.
  4. To understand and use technology effectively and to understand its impact on the individual and society.
  5. To develop interpersonal capacity.
  6. To recognize what it means to act ethically and responsibly as an individual and as a member of society.
  7. To recognize what it means to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle in terms of mind, body, and spirit.
  8. To connect learning to life.


  Course Objectives

This course is designed to give students an understanding of the foundation of both western civilization and patriarchy, especially as they apply to the status and relationships of men and women today. Students will learn of archeological finds, including architecture, art, literature—both belles letters and otherwise—and human remains and also of social, philosophical, and historical theories that explain or attempt to explain the ideologies of ancient societies. 

Specifically, by the end of the course students should demonstrate the ability to:

Objective 1 Identify significant events, people, ideas and historical trends that have shaped our Western culture socially, culturally and politically. 

Objective 2:  Examine the development of gender norms, identities, and roles as they are shaped by historical, political, and social factors, such as the representation of women in writings or art, whether philosophical, literary, etc.

Objective 3:  Analyze various artifacts for what they say or may say about gender and gender roles.

Objective 4:  Examine historical, social, and philosophical ideals and concepts through written and oral expression

Objective 5:  Understand and appreciate the cultural diversity of Western civilization for its relevance to modern society and for its historical importance.

Objective 6:  Describe various perspectives of ancient history

Objective 7:  Find and use scholarly historical sources

Objective 8:  Express the way culture and ideology impact one’s gender development, and vice versa.

Objective 9:  Consider their own lives, as either males or females, and their own writing and thoughts, as the product of either males or females, in light of these historical perspectives, and be empowered to think critically on topics such as cultural and political values and norms.

Required Texts for Purchase

Bruhns, Karen Olsen, and Karen E. Stothert.  Women in Ancient America.  Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1999. 

Davis-Kimball, Jeannine with Mona Behan.  Warrior Women: An Archeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines. New York: Warner Books, Inc., 2002.

Selected readings, as assigned, mostly from a Xanedu packet, available in the IVCC Bookstore, and online. (Online readings are underlined on the schedule below).

Recommended Text

Style Book. 2010.

Grading Scale (%)

    A: 100-90     B: 89-80     C: 79-70     D: 69-60     F: 59-0

Breakdown of Grades 

Participation: 20%             
Examination #1: 20%
Examination #2: 20%
Reaction Papers (2): 20%             
Research Applications Paper: 20%           

The Venus of Willendorf, Carved Statue
of Oolitic Limestone, Circa
. 24,000 BCE
Photo by Mattias Kabel, about.com

Participation: You will be evaluated on your contributions to the class discussion. Likewise, quizzes and extra credit (if any) contribute to your participation grade. In the Discussion board portion of Blackboard, please respond directly to the posted questions, quoting from the texts to support your points in responses of at least 200 words each, and then also respond, substantially and politely, to at least two of your classmates' comments in each unit using at least 100 words for each response. Think of these discussion responses as mini-papers to show that you did read the texts. Responding thoroughly to more than two classmates can allow you to earn extra credit.

The Examinations: You will be tested over the material covered in class lecture material, discussions, and assigned readings. The examinations may include short answer, multiple choice, and passage identification questions but will be largely comprised of essay questions. These exams will show that you have read these texts critically and analytically, identifying common themes and gender issues in them, and can write clearly about them.

The Papers: All submitted drafts should be done on a computer. They must be double-spaced and should and follow standard MLA format. You should upload them in Blackboard as a Microsoft Word (as a .doc or .docx) or rich text file (.rtf) or Adobe .pdf) document--no other formats will (can) be accepted.
    In the reaction papers you will react to a work of literature or a critical essay that we've covered in class, explaining how its messages relates to you, whether you find it an enjoyable, truthful, and/or useful read, whether you think it is a good or great work of literature or criticism, whether you think it is feminist in nature, and what the implications of its content are on modern people's lives, quoting from the work to support the points you make about it..
    Your research applications paper will combine a gender analysis with artifact and literary analysis, and should be comparative and persuasive. You will select an option from the topic list. You should review the options and pick one early in the semester, as they represent a comprehensive understanding of all of the course work. 

All of these papers should, of course, have clearly stated thesis statements in their first paragraphs. Your reaction papers are due at the end of the unit from which you've chosen their subjects, and your research applications paper is due at the end of Unit 11.  Papers will be evaluated on audience, grammar, organization, presentation, spelling, and style in addition to the content.

  Expected Student Behaviors

     Students will read texts with understanding and appreciation, reacting to and analyzing what he or she has read, by the date(s) they are to be discussed.

     Students will actively read lectures, reading assignments, and discussions, taking notes and asking/submitting questions for clarification on ideas or issues, if needed.

     Students will participate in discussion, offering his or her insights about the literature or asking the class or instructor for clarification on material he or she does not completely understand.

     Students will integrate and cite accurately information of other writers, using other writers' opinions, beliefs, and/or observations to support his or her own opinions, beliefs, and/or observations.

     Students will synthesize lecture, discussion, and text materials to come to a more solid world view on the impact writing and gender have and have had upon history and literature and the impact history and literature have and have had upon writing.

       Students will respect each other's personal beliefs and be committed to helping each other learn more about the course information and themselves. Students will help each other become more confident in his or her own unique personal voice and see the authority in his or her own personal experience. 


You are expected to take assessments regularly and according to the class schedule at the end of this document.  You may submit late work; however, be aware that I grade late work at my own discretion and convenience. 


The College's policy on plagiarism applies in this class; I will question you if your work does not appear to be your own. Keep all notes, outlines, drafts, and finished assignments so that you can demonstrate that writing you have submitted is your own work, should any question of plagiarism arise. IVCC's policy on plagiarism is part of the student code of conduct, which can be found in your catalogue.

Withdrawal Policy

If you decide to withdraw from the class, for whatever reason, you must send me an e-mail asking me to withdraw you from the course by noon on July 25th (or submit a withdrawal through WebAdvisor by noon on July 26th). In other words, I do not automatically withdraw you if you just stop attending and/or submitting homework.  Please keep in mind that withdrawal from a course can affect financial aid.  Students who receive financial aid should see an advisor in the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing from a course.

If you need support or assistance because of a disability, you may be eligible for academic accommodations through the Disability Services office.  Stop by office C-211 or call (815) 224-0284 for more information.

Tentative Class Schedule and the World Map

Section One

Unit 1

June 14th - June 16th

Introduction to Course and Texts

Gender as a Topic of Study: Necessary Terminology

Read Carol Tavris's "The Mismeasure of Woman" and Barbara Ehrenreich's "The Real Truth about the Female" from the Xanedu packet.

Understanding Archeology

Read Warrior Women, chapters one and two 

Quiz 1  
Discussion Unit 1

Do you have a reaction paper to submit? 
Two are due by the end of the course.

Unit 2

June 18th - June 20th

Read "Prehistory: Women's Prominence in Early Societies" and "Earth Mother"
from the Xanedu packet.

Read Warrior Women, chapter three

Quiz 2  
Discussion Unit 2

You may also read about Catal Huyuk at the Ancient Wisdom website.

Do you have a reaction paper to submit? 
Two are due by the end of the course.

Unit 3

June 21st - 27th

The Early History of Women in/ and Patriarchy

Women in Ancient Egypt

Women in Mesopotamia

Read Barbara Lesko's "Women of Ancient Egypt and Western Asia" through page 38 and Davis-Kimball's "Sauro-Sarmatian Nomadic Women: New Gender Identities" (which follows Lesko's essay) from the Xanedu packet and "Ancient Nomads, Warriors, and Priestesses" .

Read Literature of the Period: Enheduanna and Inib-Sarri and Eristi-Aya

Read Warrior Women, chapters four through six

Women in Ancient Israel and Biblical Criticism

Read Barbara Lesko's "Women of Ancient Egypt and Western Asia" from the Xanedu packet and the excerpt from Genesis or online at gospelcom.netNote:  You will likely need to select an English version . . .

Read "Woman" from Louis Ginzberg's The Legends of the Jews: Take this link to the contents page of volume one The Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg. Then take the link to "Woman" in chapter two. 
      You will then find the apocryphal writings of
          the ancient Hebrews and learn that Eve was
          not Adam's first wife and that the creation
          of Eve was not so simple as you might have

Read Phyllis Trible's "Eve and Adam: Genesis 2-3 Reread"
from the Xanedu packet

Quiz 3  
Discussion Unit 3

Do you have a reaction paper to submit? 
Two are due by the end of the course.

Unit 4

June 28th -  July 13th

Read "From Medusa to Cleopatra: Women in the Ancient World" from the Xanedu packet.

Images of Women in Classical Greece and Rome

Read Plato and Aristotle   

Read Warrior Women, chapter seven

Read Greek and Roman Myths
     Prometheus and Pandora
     Juno and Her Rivals
     Cupid and Psyche

Read Selected Poems by Sappho and biographical information about her

For further reading, see Professor Witcombe's lectures on the Minoan Snake Goddesses

Images of Women in Early Christianity

Christian Interpretations of the Creation Stories

Read Paul and Augustine

Quiz 4  
Discussion Unit 4

Do you have a reaction paper to submit? 
Two are due by the end of the course.

Examination One  

Section Two  

Unit 5

July 14th - 20th

Note: If you wish to withdraw from this class, please let me know by e-mail before noon on the 25th.

Read "The First Women in America" and "Women in the Archaic" from Women in Ancient America and Ancient America

Read Warrior Women, chapter eight

Quiz 5
Discussion Unit 5 

Do you have a reaction paper to submit? 
Two are due by the end of the course.

Unit 6

July 21st - July 27th

Note: If you wish to withdraw from this class, please let me know by e-mail before noon on the 25th.

Read and study American Archeological Periods and the links from it, as detailed in Blackboard.

Read Warrior Women, chapters nine and ten

Read "Gender Parallelism in Local Communities" and "Gender Parallelism in the Imperial Order" in the Xanedu coursepack.

Quiz 6
Discussion Unit 6

Do you have a reaction paper to submit? 
Two are due by the end of the course.

Unit 7

July 28th - 30th


Women in the Ancient World

Read Warrior Women, chapter eleven 

Quiz 7
Discussion Unit 7

Do you have a reaction paper to submit? 
Two are due by the end of the course.

Research applications paper due

Unit 8

August 1st -3rd

Women in the Modern World

Read Linda Hogan's "Walking" and Susan Faludi's "Speak for Yourself."

Read Warrior Women, chapters twelve and thirteen

Quiz 8 
Discussion Unit 8

Do you have a reaction paper to submit? 
Two are due by the end of the course.

Please take Examination Two before 11:59 PM on August 3rd.


The Instructor's Homepage | IVCC Homepage 

Contact Kimberly M. Radek-Hall, the instructor of Women in Ancient Cultures, at Kimberly_RadekHall@ivcc.edu

This page was last updated on 12 June 2018 .
Copyright Kimberly M. Radek, 2003.


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