Introduction to Women’s Studies

J. Daniels, Instructor


This course is designed to provide legal, social, and historical context to the study of women and men in the pursuit of a more equal world. Focusing on the national as well as the global, this course takes an interdisciplinary approach in pulling together various artifacts and texts to fully investigate women’s and men’s experiences, identities, and cultures and how they help construct concepts of what is gender, sex, sexuality, and what these things mean in our society.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Articulate an understanding of heteronormativity
  • Understand the varying positions of women in national and international context
  • Thoughtfully interact with academic materials in various mediums

Attendance and Academic Integrity

The University and its instructors requires regular class attendance of all students. Repeated unexcused absences will lower a student’s grade by one letter, continuing as absences accumulate. Of course, life happens, and for that, there is the Self-Reporting Absence Application. Please use this to report your absences. This does not mean that your absence has been excused, just that you have reported it. Please see me for a conversation about the excusing of absences.

In order for the University to be a place that fosters communication, knowledge, and outstanding intellectual work, students and instructors must hold themselves to high standards of academic integrity. To that end, please see the University’s Academic Integrity Policy.

Assignments and Office Hours

This is not a lecture course. Students are expected to thoughtfully read the pieces assigned, articulate their understanding of the material in class, and complete assignments on time. Should you have questions about the material, the assignments, or your progress in the course, please contact me via email ( or schedule a meeting. Your success in the class depends upon communication – with me, your classmates, and the material. So please, talk!

Deadlines and Late Work

The written assignments are time sensitive, especially the Online Readings. Turn in all written assignments on the due date. Unless prior approval of the instructor has been obtained or in the case of documented emergencies, late assignments will not be accepted and/or will receive a significant penalty.

Safe Spaces and Language

This class is a safe space: there is no toleration of anti-LGBTQ violence or harassment. However, this lack of toleration carries over into matters of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or educational level. For this to be a safe space for all students, the classroom needs to be recognized as a space of education: the process by which an individual learns and retains knowledge through training, practice, or guidance. To this end, we are all learners, and communication greatly helps in the pursuit of education.


140 points – Class Participation/Attendance (5 per) – 30%

50 points – Quizzes (5 total at 10 points each) – 20%

50 points – Online Responses (15 total at 10 points each) – 20%

110 points – Final Paper ( 5 to 7 pages total) – 30%


350 points 100%

Sample Grade – Assumes student attended all classes/did not exceed number of unexcused absences

90pts Class Participation/Attendance

30pts Quizzes

45pts Online Responses

95pts Final Paper


260pts – 74% – C

Please see the various rubrics/self-assessment sheets at ( to track your progress throughout the course, find better understanding of how you’ll be graded, and generally keep up with course requirements.

Schedule of Readings/Assignments

September 7th – Introduction to class

September 12th/14th – The Trouble With Waves

“Is It Time to Jump Ship? Historians Rethink the Waves Metaphor” by Kathleen Laughlin et al

September 19th/21st – Women and Faith

“Whether Woman Should Have Been Made in the First Production of Things” by St. Thomas Aquinas and “The Church and Second Sex” by Mary Daly

September 26th/28th – Women and Organizing

Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 and The Global Women’s Human Rights Movement

October 3rd/5th – Women Internationally Part 1

“Empathy Among Women on a Global Scale” by Mahnaz Afkhami  and The Combahee River Collective

October 10th/12th – Women Internationally Part 2

“The Strength of My Rebellion” by Gloria Anzaldua and “Problematics of Transnational Feminism for Asian American Women” by Eliza Noh

October 17th/19th – Women and Disability

“Women, Disability, and Feminism” by Barbara Davis and “When Being Deaf is Centered: d/Deaf Women of Color’s Experiences With Racial/Ethnic and d/Deaf Identities in College” by L. Stapleton

October 24th/26th – Women and Poverty

“The Feminization of Poverty” by Diana Pearce and “Sense of Coherence and Depressive Symptoms among Low Income Women in the Negev Israel” by N. Daoud, O. Braun-Lewensohn, M. Eriksson, and S.Sagy

October 31st/November 2nd – Women and Queerness

“Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens” by Cathy Cohen and “The Lesbian Perspective” by Julia Penelope

November 7th/9th – Women and Technology

November 14th/16th – Women and History

November 21st/23rd – Paper Workshop

November 28th/30th – Women and the Military

December 5th/7th – Women and Gaming

December 12/14th – Women and Incarceration

December 19th/21st – Recap/Paper Workshop