Approved by University Studies Sub-committee.  A2C2 action pending.

University Studies Course Approval

Unity and Diversity: Multicultural Perspectives

 

 

 

Department or Program Women’s Studies
Course Number 220
Semester Hours 3
Frequency of Offering every semester (1 section of 25 students)
Course Title Power, Privilege and Gender
Catalog Description This course explores the social construction of differences and the processes, institutions, and conditions that lead to power and privilege in modern American society. Issues of race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, age and ability, among others, are considered.
This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2: Yes
This is a new course proposal: No
Proposal Category: Unity and Diversity: Multicultural Perspectives
Departmental Contact: Tamara Berg
Email Address: tberg@winona.edu

 

 

The proposed course is designed to satisfy the requirements in Unity and Diversity: Multicultural Perspectives.

 

Catalogue Description

This course explores the social construction of differences and the processes, institutions, and conditions that lead to power and privilege in modern American society. Issues of race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, age and ability, among others, are considered.

 

General Course Information

This course is a University Studies Course in the Unity and Diversity Core that satisfies 3 credits of the Multicultural Perspectives University Studies requirement.

How do human beings in contemporary cultures contend with difference? Differences in race, class, gender, and sexual orientation surround us in our daily lives. In what ways do we benefit from those differences? In what ways are we limited by them? How do categories of difference relate to power and privilege? Through directed readings, novels, films, and discussion, this class examines the meaning of difference. Students will become familiar with several central categories of difference—race, class, gender, and sexual orientation (among others)—and begin to develop critical analyses of these categories in their own lives and in the wider cultures which overlap in our contemporary world.

Race, class, gender, and sexual orientation are significant variables by which human societies make distinctions among their members. Such distinctions often lead to an inequitable distribution of political power, social well-being, and the resources available to individual members of the society. In this course we seek to increase our awareness and understanding of the inequities in our society and the consequences those inequities have for us as individuals as well as for the different communities and individuals within our society.

Rationale for Unity and Diversity: Multicultural Perspectives University Studies Course Designation

Multicultural Perspectives University Studies Course Objective (a). Students will demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures. bulletThis course offers students a conceptual framework by which to understand the social construction of difference in our society. Students examine and analyze how categories of difference are created and how they are experienced. Students also examine an analyze the meanings assigned to difference by law, politics, and public policy; the economy; science; popular culture; and language. bulletCategories of difference, so often taken for granted, are systematically examined and questioned throughout this course. Students read from a wide selection of critical essays, personal narratives, and fiction to critically examine the meaning of difference as manifest in different cultures, including sub-cultures within the U.S. (i.e., Native American tribes, self-identified ethnic groups, and the GLBT community). bulletStudents demonstrate knowledge these issues through discussion, journaling, written examination, an oral interview project, and presentation of collaborative research projects focusing on the ways in which different forms of media construct the meaning of difference in our society.

 

Multicultural Perspectives University Studies Course Objective (b). Students will understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences. bulletStudents read broadly of the social construction of difference as well as the varying experiences of difference as it operates in conceptions of race, sex and gender, social class, and sexual orientation. For example, the circumstances of African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans differ in may ways, just as the experiences of racial minorities differ from those of sexual orientation minorities. Nonetheless, similar processes are at work when we "see" differences of color, gender, class and sexual orientation. The impacts of these statues on people’s lives also have important commonalties, which also are explored and analyzed. bulletStudents explore the ways in which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences through varied readings, journaling, an oral interview project and presentation of collaborative research projects focusing on the ways in which different forms of media construct the meaning of difference in our society.

 

 

Multicultural Perspectives University Studies Course Objective (c). Students will understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interactions between individuals and/or groups. bulletRace, class, gender, and sexual orientation are significant variables by which human societies make distinctions among their members. Such distinctions often lead to an inequitable distribution of political power, social well-being, and the resources available to individual members of the society. This course challenges students to increase their awareness and understanding of the inequities in our society and the consequences those inequities have for themselves as individuals as well as for the different communities and individuals within our society. bulletStudents read a variety of theoretical essays and first-person narratives focussed on the social construction of power and privilege in our society, including but not limited to readings that address gender identity, sexuality, race, class, violence, human relationships, norms and ideals of beauty, science and ways of knowing, and the global economy. Students analyze, compare and critique theoretical readings in a variety of formats: discussion, journaling, exams and quizzes, an oral interview project, and collaborative group projects.

 

 

 

 

 

UNIVERSITY STUDIES COURSE PROPOSAL SAMPLE SYLLABUS

 

WS220

Power, Privilege and Gender—3 s.h.

General Course Information

This course is a University Studies Course in the Unity and Diversity Core that satisfies 3 credits of the Multicultural Perspectives University Studies requirement. The outcomes listed for the University Studies Social Science Requirement specify that the course include requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to...

  1. demonstrate knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifest in different cultures;
  2. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences;
  3. understand the extent to which cultural differences influence the interactions between individuals and/or groups.

 

 

Requirements and learning activities that facilitate these outcomes are highlighted in bold underline script throughout this syllabus.

Course Description

How do human beings in contemporary cultures contend with difference? Differences in race, class, gender, and sexual orientation surround us in our daily lives. In what ways do we benefit from those differences? In what ways are we limited by them? How do categories of difference relate to power and privilege? Through directed readings, novels, films, and discussion, this class examines the meaning of difference.(b, c) Students will become familiar with several central categories of difference—race, class, gender, and sexual orientation (among others)—and begin to develop critical analyses of these categories in their own lives and in the wider cultures which overlap in our contemporary world.

Race, class, gender, and sexual orientation are significant variables by which human societies make distinctions among their members. Such distinctions often lead to an inequitable distribution of political power, social well-being, and the resources available to individual members of the society. In this course we seek to increase our awareness and understanding of the inequities in our society and the consequences those inequities have for us as individuals as well as for the different communities and individuals within our society.

Course Requirements

 

Class Participation: While lecture presentations take up a portion of most of our class meetings, the lecture style will be an interactive one in which students participate. The primary teaching and learning method for this course is discussion, both as a class and in small groups. Participation in discussion constitutes a major portion of your grade and is an excellent way for me to follow the development of your thinking and learning in this course. The three aspects of your daily contributions to class discussions are: bulletDaily preparation for class. This means not only completing the scheduled reading assignment for that day, but also writing down an outline or general notes that will facilitate your contribution to class discussions.(a,b,c) I strongly suggest that you record your immediate questions as a way to prepare for these discussions. You will maintain a learning log in which you will record your outlines, responses and questions regarding the required reading (see details below). bulletActive daily contributions to class discussion.(a,b,c) This means sharing your questions, thoughts, and interpretations with others. Remember that everyone is in the same position as you. Making that first leap and speaking your thoughts is a big hurdle but the semester’s discussions will flourish for you after that. If you choose not to participate in discussion on a regular basis, the highest grade you can earn for this course (assuming all other work is of highest quality) is a "B." bulletConsistent contributions to small group discussions.(a,b,c) We will meet in small groups at least once every week. You will have the opportunity to develop your listening skills, organize the group’s thoughts into coherent notes, and really hear a diverse range of perspectives. Remember to listen and hear with respect even when encountering views that oppose or even threaten your own perspective.

 

Learning Log (a,b,c): The purpose of the learning journal is threefold: first, to help you prepare to actively participate in the class discussion; second, to force you to articulate in your own words significant concepts and ideas; and third, to hold you accountable for doing the daily assignments. You should plan to complete a journal for each class period. Each journal entry should have two parts:

    1. a brief summary of the reading assignments, e.g.,
bulletdefinitions of key terms; bulletsummary of major themes of points (do not just list themes discussed; rather, summarize the point made about each theme; bulletwhat is the author’s point of view? bulletformulate points of confusion/questions for class discussion; bulletnote significant passages.

 

    1. an analysis of the readings and class activities, e.g.,
bulletwhat evidence supports the argument? What evidence refutes it? What evidence complicates it? bulletwhat is the author’s context and how does that shape your interpretation? How does your context shape your interpretation? bulletwhat does the reading say about what’s going on in our world today or in your own life? bulletdo class materials illuminate other materials (e.g., a newspaper article, a movie, something read of another class, a conversation with a friend? bulletreconsideration of other journal entries.

 

Please set aside a small spiral notebook (it doesn’t need to be more than 60 or 70 pages) for this purpose. Please do not use your class notebook for your journal as I may need to keep it for a week at a time. I will collect journals three times unannounced during the semester. If you are absent on a day the journal is collected (or if your don’t have your journal with you), you will receive an "F" for that portion of the journal. (See Attendance section below.)

 

Take-Home Midterm Exam: (a,b,c) There will be a take-home midterm exam composed of short answer and essay questions distributed in class. Your typed, double-spaced completed midterm will be due at the beginning of the next class.

 

Quizzes: (a,b,c) There will be several scheduled and un-scheduled in-class quizzes over the course of the semester. These quizzes will test your reading comprehension as well as your ability to respond and think critically about the key issues of this course.

 

Group Presentations: (a,b,c) You will have the opportunity to work with 2 or 3 of your classmates to examine the issue of difference through an analysis of class, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Beginning by choosing one form of media—television, film, print news—your group will ask and investigate a guiding question about difference. Then, using a question sheet that I’ll provide for you, you will conduct your own research and report your findings back to the class during one of our last two class sessions. You will be required to link your findings to at least two readings from our course. (See Final Project Handout.)

 

Interview Transcript and Analysis: (a,b,c) Your final assignment for the class entails interviewing a person whose identity is different from yours, creating a transcript of that interview, and analyzing the interview in terms of the ideas of the course. bulletInterviewees: Identify a person, preferably not a classmate in WS220, who differs from you in terms of the attributes of at least two variables we have discussed (race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc.) and arrange to interview this person BEFORE or during fall break (in other words, your interview should take place on or before November 26, 2000). bulletExplain this assignment to the person you are interviewing and ask their permission to interview them. Length of interview: 30 to 50 minutes. bulletQuestions to ask: We will work together to brainstorm questions to guide your interview and we will construct an interview guide in class on Thursday, November 9. bulletTranscript: Ask permission to tape record the interview. If permission is granted, create a word-for-word transcript of your questions and the answers you receive. If permission is not granted, jot as many notes as possible during the interview; after the interview, sit down immediately to write out as many additional details as you can remember. bulletAnalysis: How does the interview transcript support or challenge course materials? Include a 3 to 5 page analysis along with your transcript. bulletConfidentiality: Assure your interviewee that the interview is confidential; that is, you will not reveal their identity to anyone without their permission. Ask your interviewee if he of she would like you to create a pseudonym of use in the transcript, analysis, and the class discussion of the interview.

 

*** Interview transcript and analysis will be due on or before the date of the final exam

Grading Grading Scale

Class Participation 20% 92%-100% = A

Learning Log 20% 82%-91% = B

Final Presentation 15% 72%-81% = C

Take-Home Midterm Exam 15% 62%-71% = D

Interview Assignment 15% <62% =F

Quizzes 15%

 

Attendance

Attendance is crucial for a discussion-based course. If you need to miss a class, it is your responsibility to communicate with me in advance. Without such communication, the day’s assignments, discussion, and any exams or journals collected will get an "F".

 

 

 

Course Schedule

The following readings must be completed before the class meeting date listed. Our primary textbook, The Meaning of Difference, will be referred to as "MOD" below. Start dates and due dates for reading the two fictional works are listed.

8/29 Introduction

What is power? What is difference? What is sameness (identity)? What is privilege? How are you different?

 

 

8/31 Constructing Difference

MOD "Framework Essay" pp. 1-33

Begin reading The Bluest Eye

9/5 What is Race?

MOD "What is Race?" pp. 34-48

MOD "Driving While Black" pp. 240-243

MOD "Of Race and Risk" pp.254-256

MOD Boxed Insert: "Play Some Rolling Stones" p. 254

9/7 What is Race?

MOD "Asian American Panethnicity" pp. 70-80

MOD "The Accidental Asian" pp. 212-223

MOD "Can Asian-Americans Turn the Media Tide? pp. 223-224

Group Project Choices Discussion

9/12 What is Race?

MOD "La Raza and the Melting Pot" pp. 62-69

MOD "Whiteness as an ‘Unmarked’ Cultural Category" pp. 81-87

MOD "Diversity and Its Discontents" pp. 224-230

 

Personal accounts, pp. 42, 61, and 80

 

 

9/14 Language and Race

MOD "Talking Past Each Other" pp. 231-240

MOD "Racism in the English Language" pp. 451-459

9/19 What is Sex? What is Gender?

MOD "Gender Stereotypes and Roles" pp. 101-115

MOD "Wears Jump Suit,. Sensible Shoes. Uses Husband’s Last Name. Pp. 256-259

 

Personal account, p. 116

9/21 What is Sex? What is Gender?

MOD "The Berdache Tradition" pp. 92-100

MOD "Gender Bending" pp. 259-261

 

Personal accounts, pp. 430 and 431

9/26 Language and Gender

MOD "Backlash" pp. 413-429

MOD "Gender Stereotyping in the English Language" pp. 459-464

9/28 NO CLASS

10/3 What is Social Class?

MOD "How Much Class Mobility Exists in the U.S.?" pp. 117-129

MOD "The Underclass" pp. 130-142

10/5 What is Social Class?

MOD "A Question of Class" pp. 262-272

 

Personal account, p. 272

10/10 The Bluest Eye

Discussion

10/12 The Bluest Eye

Quiz

10/17 Privilege

MOD "Framework Essay" pp. 165-188

 

Personal account, p. 230

Begin reading The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

 

 

Take-Home Midterm Exam distributed

 

 

10/19 Privilege

MOD "Why are Droves of Unqualified, Unprepared Kids…" pp. 273-278

MOD "The Shape of the River" pp. 332-337

Personal account, p. 240

Take-Home Midterm Exam due

10/24 What is Sexual Orientation?

MOD "The Invention of Heterosexuality" pp. 143-146

MOD "Homosexuality: A Social Phenomenon" pp. 146-155

 

10/26 What is Sexual Orientation?

MOD "The Development of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Identities" pp. 156-163

Personal accounts, pp. 163 and 408

10/31 What is Sexual Orientation?

MOD "To Be and Be Seen" pp. 466-471

11/2 What is Disability?

MOD "Can You See the Rainbow? The Roots of Denial" pp. 194-201

Personal account, p. 210

11/7 What is Disability?

MOD "Disability Beyond Stigma" pp. 201-209

MOD "Disability Definitions" pp. 408-412

 

11/9 Economics

MOD "The Gender Gap" pp. 372-380

MOD "The Possessive Investment in Whiteness" pp. 351-362

11/14 Native American Meanings of Difference

MOD "Federal Indian Identification Policy" pp. 49-60

MOD "What Americans Don’t Know About Indians" pp. 441-445

 

Media Project Data Sheets Due (copies to me); group meetings

11/16 The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Discussion

 

11/21 The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Quiz

11/23 NO CLASS

11/28 Science and the Meaning of Difference

MOD "Framework Essay" pp. 279-293

MOD "The DNA Mystique" pp. 381-393

MOD " Media, Science and Sexual Identity" pp. 399-407

11/30 Group Presentations

12/5 Group Presentations

12/7 Group Presentations