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Women Through Cultures and Centuries

Gender 2000-01
  Spring 2017
A-321  MWF  11:00-11:50
Professor Kimberly M. Radek
Building A, Room 314, IVCC
     Oglesby Campus    

Office Hours:   9-11 AM MW;
          9:00-9:30 AM  and 12:15-12:45 T

(815) 224-0395

E-mail:   kimberly_radekhall@ivcc.edu

Course Objectives

This course examines the historical development of gender norms, identities and roles as they have been shaped and changed by cultural, historical, and political factors, and it will help you increase your understanding of the significance that gender plays in societies.  You will learn about the history and contributions of women in the arts and sciences, and you will be able to think critically on these issues and place yourself, as a male or female, within these contexts.

General Education Credit

This class earns general education credit and transfers to IAI participating schools as an H9 900 course.  In addition, it will help you to attain the following eight goals, deemed central to IVCC's general education program:

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 an 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, spirit.

8. To connect learning to life.

Required Texts

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid's Tale. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1985.
Kimmel, Michael S. The Gendered Society. 6th Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Pipher, Mary.  Reviving Ophelia.  New York: Ballantine Books, 1994.
Style Book. Oglesby, IL: IVCC, 2010.
Xanedu Readings Packet available in the IVCC Bookstore.

Desired Attitudes Toward the Course

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 improve their written and oral communication skills so that each student may be more confident in his or her own unique personal voice and see the authority in his or her own personal experience. Above all students will be responsible for treating their instructors and each other with honesty, caring, respect, and fairness. Not treating others--whether classmates or instructors--in this manner will result in, first, a warning summons to the instructor's office hours and, then, withdrawal or failure from the course.


You are expected to attend class regularly.  As part of this course, you will be participating in periodic classroom assessment activities; therefore, attendance is an extremely important factor in determining your success in the class. You may submit late work; however, be aware that I grade late work at my own discretion and convenience. If you miss class, then you should contact a classmate for notes or see me for any assignment instructions.  Please do not expect me to give you a private encore lecture. 

You will not be automatically withdrawn from this course if you stop attending; you must see or e-mail me by noon on April 8th to process that paperwork if you wish for me to do so. Of course, you may withdraw yourself from the course anytime before the final withdrawal date using WebAdvisor, as well.  Please keep in mind, as well, that withdrawing from the course could affect your financial aid, so you may want to consult with a financial aid advisor before withdrawing from this class. 

Note:  School-sponsored field trips will be considered excused, but only if you notify your seminar director in advance of the trip.  Your work—papers, journal writings, etc.—must be turned in in advance of the trip.

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

Breakdown of Grades/Assessment Measures:

Papers and Presentations:   20%     
Unit One Examination:   15%
Unit Two Examination:   15%
Unit Three Examination:   15%
Unit Four Examination:   15%
Class Participation:   20%

Papers and Presentations: I have implemented a point system with regard to the papers and presentations expected of each student. In Blackboard, you will find  information on the types of assignments that can be done to accrue toward satisfying this portion of the class, with the basic stipulation that each student must write a paper and present orally on a topic related to class at some point during the semester.  The papers will be evaluated on content and writing style, as is described in the college's Style Book. (If you know or suspect that your writing skills need improvement, please consider taking your draft to the Writing Center, which is free for students, for assistance. Additionally, if you do visit the Writing Center and ask the tutor to fill out a form to send to me, then I will give you some extra credit for your efforts.) The presentation will be judged on formality, professionalism, content, the discussion it elicits, and appearance.   More specific instruction on the paper and the presentation will be available later.

The Examinations: Unit examinations will have an objective multiple choice portion which will cover assigned readings and lecture material.  Each will also have an essay portion which may also include assigned readings and lecture material but will include seminar material, as well.  Exams must be taken during the assigned times; exceptions will be made on an individual basis only in response to dire situations. 

Class Participation: Class attendance is required for this course and will enhance your understanding of readings and lecture material.  Areas evaluated include your participation in discussion, as well quizzes, journal or other writing assignments, and presentations.  Extra credit may be given within this category for attending educational, community, or service events relevant to topics covered in lecture.  Additionally, preparation for class, participation during class discussion, and punctuality contribute to these categories of evaluation.


Expected Student Outcomes

The student will learn to communicate with others using the latest technologies, including communicating with instructor via e-mail and utilizing webpages for assignments and instruction.

The student will synthesize lecture, discussion, and text materials to come to a more solid world view on the impact gender has on peoples' lives and to see that human history--and its social movements--are an ever-changing process.

The student will read texts with understanding and appreciation, reacting to and analyzing what he or she has read, and the student will listen actively to lectures, asking questions for clarification on ideas or issues, if needed.

The student will be able to summarize or explain how women are/were treated in various cultures through various periods of history.

The student will work collaboratively and cooperatively with peers and the instructors in writing about and responding to texts, lectures, or comments made by class members.

The student 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.

The student will gain an appreciation of his/her own inherent individual worth, his/her place in the world, and the necessity for tolerance of difference and diversity and communication among different gender, racial, and social status groups.

Skills Necessary for Successful Completion

1.  Keep current on reading and writing assignments.

2.  Discuss how the issues being covered in class affect or concern you.

3.  Relate concepts that you learn in class to your life.

4.  Successful completion of papers, homework, presentations, journal entries, and exams, etc..


You may be eligible for academic accommodations if you have a documented physical, psychiatric, or cognitive disability. If you have such a disability--or suspect that you might--and need more information regarding possible accommodations, please contact Tina Hardy at 224-0284 or stop by office C-211.


Tentative Course Schedule

Ongoing Reading Assignments:  Read two chapters of Pipher's Reviving Ophelia every week. Starting January 13th you will have an Ophelia quiz every week, usually on Friday, on those chapters. Starting after mid-term, read two sections of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale each week, for those quizzes which will be given approximately once a week.  The first quiz will cover the first two sections in the book. The last quiz (the eighth) will cover all remaining material from the book, including the historical notes. Note that one week will have two quizzes or one quiz with an extra section, as the book is slightly longer than the remaining weeks.

Reading assignments listed on this schedule for which texts are not listed above can be found in the Xanedu packet, are web page links, or will be distributed in class. Some of the web links go to class lecture notes, which are often in PowerPoint.  To view these, you will need to either have PowerPoint or download the free PowerPoint viewer from Microsoft's website.

Unit One: The Science and Politics of Gender
Week 1
Explanation of Syllabus, Course Philosophy, and Pre-Test
Gender Characteristics
Introduction to Women's Studies, including Important Terms and Concepts 
Read Kimmel, Preface and Chapter One
Terminology Lecture on screen or to print

Quiz #1 on Reviving Ophelia
Week 2 Important Terms and Concepts
Read Carol Tavris's "The Mismeasure of Woman"  
Women's Studies and Political Ideologies 
Political Lecture on screen or to print
Kimmel, Chapter One: Key Points Lecture on screen or to print

Assignment: Political Assessment
Due to me by Wednesday, January 25th

Women's Studies and Political Ideologies 
Political Lecture on screen or to print

"Sex Cells: The Biology of Sex"
Read from Shettles's How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby (Xanedu packet) and Martin's "The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles" and Read Kimmel, Chapter Two
Part I of Lecture on screen or to print

Quiz #2 on Reviving Ophelia

Note: Instructions for accessing "The Egg and the Sperm" can be found in Blackboard under Course Documents


Week 3

"Sex Cells: The Biology of Sex," continued
Part II of Lecture on screen or to print

"Sex Cells: The Biology of Sex and Its Implications for Gender History and Relations" (Part III of Lecture on screen or to print

Kimmel, Chapter Two: Key Points Lecture on screen or to print

Introduction to Social Construction Theory
Lecture notes on screen or to print

Quiz #3 on Reviving Ophelia

Week 4 Lecture: Kimmel, Chapters One and Two
Chapter Two: Key Points Lecture on screen or to print

Read Kimmel, Chapters Three - Five

Lecture: Kimmel, Chapter Three on screen or to print

Lecture: Kimmel, Chapters F
our and Five on screen or to print
Social Construction of Gender

Quiz #4 on Reviving Ophelia

Week 5

Lecture: Kimmel, Chapters Four and Five on screen or to print
Social Construction of Gender

Quiz #5 on
Reviving Ophelia

Examination #1: February 10th

Unit Two: Women, Gender, and Ancient History
Week 6 Introduction to Feminist Ideologies
Lecture notes on screen or to print

Women's Studies and Ancient History  
Lecture notes on screen or to print
Read Lesko's "Women of Egypt and the Ancient Near East" 

Women's Studies and Ancient History  
Lecture notes on screen or to print
Read Lesko's "Women of Egypt and the Ancient Near East" 

Quiz #6 on Reviving Ophelia


Week 7


Women's Studies and Ancient History  
Lecture notes on screen or to print
Read Lesko's "Women of Egypt and the Ancient Near East" 

Biblical Scholarship  on screen or to print 
Read "The Book of Genesis" and from Ginzberg's The Legends of the Jews

Quiz #7
Reviving Ophelia
Notes on Ophelia on screen or to print
Discussion of Reviving Ophelia

Week 8   Women in Classical Antiquity on screen or to print
Read Arthur's "From Medusa to Cleopatra: Women in the Ancient World;" Mythography's "Athena," pages 1 and 2, "Arachne," and "Medusa;" and Bullfinch's re-telling of "Cupid and Psyche" (or from here)

Examination #2 on March 3rd

Unit Three:  Religion and Modern Culture
Week 9 Gender and Religion on screen or to print
Read Kimmel's article "Gender, Class, and Terrorism"
Read "Islam's Shame"

Quiz #1 on The Handmaid's Tale
Week 10 Gender and Religion on screen or to print, continued
Listen to NPR discussion of Muslim women wearing the veil at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6416784

Gender and the Neo-Cons: The Politics of Faith and Science
Read Kimmel, Chapters Six and Seven
Quiz #2 on The Handmaid's Tale
Week 11 Gender and Religion on screen or to print, continued
Gender and the Neo-Cons: The Politics of Faith and Science
Discussion of Reviving Ophelia

Read Kimmel, Chapters Nine and Ten
Quiz #3 on The Handmaid's Tale

Examination #3 on March 22nd

Unit Four: 
Popular Culture
Week 12  Women's Status in America
Read Kimmel, Chapters Nine-Thirteen

"Sex Sells: Women in Media"
Gender in Media   Film Approach
Women and Sexuality
Quiz #4 on The Handmaid's Tale

Note: Last opportunity to withdraw from this class is 8 April
Week 13 "Sex Sells: Women in Media"
Gender in Media   Film Approach
Women and Sexuality
Gender in Media  Comic Approach
        on screen or to print

Gender, Body Image, and the Beauty Ideal
Gender in Media   Advertising Approach
Women and Sexuality
Quiz #5 on The Handmaid's Tale
Week 14

Men and Women in the New Millennium
        on screen or to print

Read: Kimmel, Epilogue
Quizzes #6 and #7 on The Handmaid's Tale
Discussion of The Handmaid's Tale

Week 15 Papers/Presentations
Quiz #8 on The Handmaid's Tale
M 12/12 Examination #4 on May 8th from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Note: Some portions of the final may be given online or in class earlier.

Textures by Eos Development



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This page was last updated on 11 January 2017.
Copyright by Kimberly M. Radek, 2006.