DAY Class: GSWS 002-001 Gender and Society Fall 2012 Requirements

Click here for MS Word version of Syllabus GSWS 002-001 fall 2012

Instructor Information
Dr. Shannon B. Lundeen
Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program
411 Cohen Hall
bshannon [at]

Class Meetings
TR 3-4:20 200 College Hall

TA Information:
Kaitlin Gravitt: kgravitt [at]
Graham Rengert: grengert [at]

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the ways in which sex, gender, and sexuality mark our bodies, influence our perceptions of self and others, organize families and work life, delimit opportunities for individuals and groups of people, as well as impact the terms of local and transnational economic exchange. We will explore the ways in which sex, gender, and sexuality work with other markers of difference and social status such as race, age, nationality, and ability to further demarcate possibilities, freedoms, choices, and opportunities available to people.

The course is divided into three units. The first unit explores the history of “gender” and its construction and examines the relationship between sex, sexuality, and gender. The second unit looks at how bodies and sexual desire are represented in various media forms and how we, as consumers, measure the in/accuracies of such representations. In this unit we will ask: What does it mean to represent the gendered and sexual self? To what extent can we alter the production or consumption of such representations of the gendered and/or sexually desirous body? The last unit turns to labor and health and here we will investigate how work, health, and healthcare are affected by, and in turn shape, our understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality.

There will be some “larger” concepts and questions that we will turn to in relation to our readings and we will use a class blog to host some of these discussions. The larger questions we will be concerned with throughout this course include (but are not limited to): What is inequity? What is justice? What is freedom? Is there such a thing as free choice? What is fairness? What is oppression? What is privilege? What is discrimination? For what are you responsible? For/To what will you or must you re/act?

Required Course Materials & Access to Servers and Websites

1) Colapinto, John. As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who was Raised as a Girl. New York: Harper Collins, 2000. AVAILABLE AT PENN BOOK CENTER (34th and Sansom Streets). Unless you are financially unable to, please purchase this book at the Penn Book Center. I encourage you to support our local independent bookstores as much as possible.

2) Readings on Class Blog/Website: You will be responsible for printing out and bringing to class those articles that are assigned and posted on this website. You will also be responsible for keeping in your possession any material handed out in class. You may access the readings here. This page is password protected. To retrieve the password log into your BB account, select our course, select “Readings for Course” from the menu bar on the left. Here you will find the link to the electronic readings as well as the password required to access them.

3) Blackboard: You will need to use Blackboard to do the following things for this course: submit papers and media analysis project assignments, communicate with your MAP group, retrieve your grades, and gain access to any PowerPoints that I present in class. Please be sure that Blackboard has an accurate email address on file for you as I often send important emails to students via Blackboard. Log in to your UPenn Blackboard account with your Pennkey here.

4) SAS Media Server: you will receive instructions in class on how to access and upload video content to . You will need your Pennkey to access this server.

Course Requirements

Participation: 10%                                                                                                                        Reading Quizzes and Blog Posts: 30%                                                                                   Analyze/Respond Papers (2): 30% (1 = 12% and 2 = 18%)                                                  Media Analysis Project: 30% (50% of this grade will be based on individual performance and 50% will be based on group performance)

On discussion, participation, and attendance (10%):

This class is a community in which we can develop our critical thinking skills. In order to be able to think critically about what we have read, we must first understand what we have read and be able to accurately explain the text’s main points and its logic. Some of the material is demanding and requires patience and often repeated readings. Prepare yourself by taking notes as you read (as well as in class). I expect you to come to class having read and thought about the assigned reading so that you are prepared to participate in discussion—any lectures in class will not take the place of, nor give a comprehensive summary of, the text assigned. I expect you to complete all of the reading assignments. The emphasis on writing and discussion will help you to develop your oral and written communication skills as well as your ability to understand complex arguments.

I will keep a record of your attendance in class. Poor attendance will not only be reflected in my record of your presence in class, but in your participation grade as well as in your quiz scores as you cannot make up a quiz unless you have a medical or family emergency and a note from a medical doctor or family guardian backing it up, and give such documentation to me in the class directly following the one that you missed. No exceptions will be considered. Unless your absence is due to a documented medical or family emergency, you are responsible for turning in (electronically, if need be) an assignment BEFORE the start of the class on the day it is due. You will be given one, no-questions-asked excused absence per semester. This absence will not negatively impact your grade as long as it is not on the day of a quiz, written assignment, or group presentation. You get one of these for the whole semester, including add/drop days at the beginning of the course. Each subsequent unexcused absence will result in the lowering of your participation grade by one-half of a letter grade. However, IF YOU HAVE FOUR OR MORE UNEXCUSED ABSENCES YOU WILL FAIL THE COURSE.

Excused absences include observance of religious holidays, participation in athletic events, job or graduate school interviews for seniors (2 maximum per student for interview-related absences). For ANY/ALL of these types of absences to be considered excused, you must inform me of your absence no later than the class prior to your absence. Emailing me the day before or telling me after the class you missed will result in your absence being unexcused.

On reading quizzes and blog posts (30%):
Reading quizzes are meant to test whether or not you read the material; they will be unannounced. Quizzes will be distributed at the start of class and will be collected promptly, five minutes after distribution. Thus, the unannounced quizzes will encourage you to arrive to class on time and read the assigned material before coming to class. The lowest quiz score will be dropped.

In a place noted on the assignment schedule, you will be invited to create one “big question” reflection in relation to particular readings on our class blog. This will be graded on a scale of 0-4 (see below for more detail on the grading scale for big question posts). You need to comment on someone else’s post two times throughout the semester. You will be invited to do so for a particular set of posts once on the assignment schedule; the time and date of your second required comment will be determined by you. Comments will be graded on a scale of 0-2 (see below for more detail on the grading scale for comments). You will also be required to post a critique of an advertisement/ commercial and include the photo, video, or link to the ad/commercial in your post. You will be given more explicit instructions for this assignment in class. At any time throughout the semester, you may post something categorized as a “spark post” in which you prompt discussion among your peers relative to the topics and themes of our course. Spark posts are not required.

Required posts & comments:
-One big question reflection post (see assignment and reading schedule for your due date)
-One ad critique post (see assignment and reading schedule for the due date)
-Two comments on others’ posts (see assignment and reading schedule for the due date of one required comment; date of the other is TBD by you)

Non-required posts & comments: When any of your non-required posts merit at least a “3” and when your non-required comments merit a “2,” such additional participation on our class blog will boost your overall participation grade for the course.

-Spark posts
-More than one big question reflection
-More than one ad critique
-More than two comments

For all posts/comments: You must follow the expectations and guidelines for particular types of posts.

Grading Scales[1]for Posts and Comments

Grading Scale for Student Blog Posts:

4 Exceptional: The submission is focused and coherently integrates examples (examples may include descriptions of experience, links, photos, or videos) with explanations or analysis. The entry demonstrates awareness of its own limitations or implications, and it considers multiple perspectives when appropriate. The entry reflects in-depth engagement with the topic.

3 Satisfactory: The submission is reasonably focused, and explanations or analysis are mostly based on examples or other evidence. Fewer connections are made between ideas, and though new insights are offered, they are not fully developed. The entry reflects moderate engagement with the topic.

2 Underdeveloped: The submission is mostly description or summary, without consideration of alternative perspectives, and few connections are made between ideas. The entry reflects passing engagement with the topic.

1 Limited: The submission is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, or only consists of a photo, a video, or a link, and displays little evidence of student engagement with the topic.

0 No Credit: The submission is missing or consists of one or two disconnected sentences.

Grading Scale for “Comments”:

2 Comment is fully fleshed out and explains why you like/agree with/disagree with the post on which you are commenting. Comment demonstrates engagement with the content of the original post and challenges particular points and/or strengthens particular elements of the original post.

1 Comment reflects support of or challenges the original post but does not offer sufficient explanation for support/disagreement.

 0 Did not post a comment.

On Analyze/Respond Papers (Paper 1 = 12%; Paper 2 = 18%; Total = 30%)

I will assign these three times throughout the semester. You must write the first paper that is assigned and then you may choose to write either the second or the third paper that is assigned. You may not turn in three papers. There will be a few times throughout the semester that I will offer extra credit to boost your 1st or 2nd paper grade. Each time, I will ask you to apply a particular question set to two or three texts from the Unit we just completed. It will be your job to a) write about how the authors answer or respond to this particular set of questions in their texts and b) discuss how the authors’ treatments of the question influence your response to this particular set of questions. The paper must be typed in Times New Roman size 12 font, double-spaced, and 3-4 pages in length. More detailed instructions will be given at the time the papers are assigned. Please note that you must submit these papers as Microsoft Word documents on Blackboard before class on the day they are due. If you have any trouble uploading your paper to BB, please send a copy to both Kaitlin and Graham before class on the day the paper is due.

On the Media Analysis Project (30%)
You will create media with an original message by creating a five-minute video. The goal of this project is to apply what you’ve learned about the relationship between gender and sexuality in order to critique a particular item/set of items in the media and to offer us something new that directly challenges what your group is critiquing. “Media” is to be broadly interpreted: you may use film, television (e.g., commercials, sitcoms, news broadcasts), print advertisement, etc. You may use current media or historical media. You will be assigned to a group for this project early on in the semester. Your video can be original footage, it can be a mash-up of previously recorded videos, it can be a recording of an original performance, of voice-overs and still images, of PowerPoint slides, etc. You must have a video version of your final project that can be made available for public consumption on YouTube or on the Weigle Information Commons’ server as you must intend to reach a wide audience with this project/creation. Your video draft and final video must be uploaded to the SAS Media Server (if you upload it on to YouTube you still must load a copy on the SAS Media server). You will be given instructions on how to do this in class.

Possible mediums for your final projects include:

  • Performance (drama, comedy, etc. video recorded and may be performed live on student presentations day as long as the performance does not exceed 5 minutes)
  • Video (can be original footage, a mash-up, a combination of stills and video w/ narration, etc.)
  • Song/Musical creation (3-5 minutes in length or two shorter songs, must have a “music video” version of this)
  • Public Service Announcement/Education Campaign (5 minute max)
  • Ad campaign (print -5 different ads for the same product/idea; or commercial – 5 minute video total, can be divided into 2-3 shorter commercials)
  • Artwork (difficult to quantify any sort of “length” so please consult with Prof. Lundeen on a group by group basis) the video production of this should document the process of its creation and include your reasoning throughout its development.

In any of the mediums above, the following elements must be evident to your audience:

  • Identification of the conventional narrative or representation you are challenging
  • Analysis of media object(s) and its corresponding conventional narrative/representation
  • Thesis or main argument that is supported through your critique
  • Critique of the object(s) and the narrative/representation
  • Creation and/or Contribution that offers an alternative or disruptive narrative
  • Invitation/Provocation/Incitation to your audience to “buy in” to your alternative or disruptive narrative and/or to “do something” as a result of your video.

The evaluation of this project will involve individual and group components. This project entails seven requirements: 1) Written reflection on the process of choosing a media object; 2) Group project proposal and individual contribution proposals; 3) Video draft; 4) Self-critique of video draft 5) Peer review of another group’s video draft 6) Video 7) Corresponding Essay (optional)

The due dates and grade weights are as follows:

  • Thu, Oct 4th: Reflection on media object(s) choice (5% individual grade) uploaded to BB.
  • Thu, Oct 18th:  Group and Individual Project Proposals (5% individual grade; 5% group grade) hard copies of the proposals should be turned in at the start of class.
  • Sun, Nov 11th: Video Draft (15% group grade) uploaded to SAS media server.
  • Sun, Nov 18th: Self Critique of Draft (10% individual grade) uploaded to BB.
  • Sun, Nov 18th: Peer Review of Video Draft (email the designated group member and copy Dr. Lundeen on the email): (10% individual grade)
  • Fri, Dec 12th: By 11:30 a.m. Final Video uploaded to SAS Media server (and YouTube if possible); 12-2pm Public Viewing – invite your friends and family!  (30% group grade)
  • Fri, Dec 12th: Optional Accompanying Essay – each student submitsone in class and on BB before the start of class(20% individual grade; if this is not turned in, the video will count for 50% of your total MAP grade instead of 30%.)

You will be given more specific instructions before each requirement is due.


Class Decorum
You are expected to attend every class session and arrive promptly at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since the primary format of the class will be discussion, you are expected to be respectful of each person’s opinion which, among other things, involves listening to your fellow classmates while they hold the floor in a discussion.  If you choose to engage in any form of disruptive behavior during our class time you will be asked to excuse yourself from the class. All cell phones and personal electronic devices must be turned to silent or vibrate upon entering the classroom and you must put them out of your sight and touch. I do not allow the use of laptop computers in the classroom except when I explicitly invite you to use them. Unless you have a disability that prevents you from doing so, you must take notes by hand.

All Academic Dishonesty offenses are reported to the University’s Office of Student Conduct.  What is plagiarism? Plagiarism occurs when you use another’s words, ideas, assertions, data or figures and do not acknowledge that you have done so.  In simple terms, plagiarism is a form of theft. If you use the words, ideas or phrasing of another person or from published material, you must:

·         Use quotation marks around the words and cite the source.
·         Alternatively, you may paraphrase or summarize acceptably and cite the source.

If you use charts, graphs, data sets or numerical information obtained from another person or from published material, you must also cite the source. Whether you quote directly or paraphrase the information, you must acknowledge your sources by citing them. In this way, you have the right to use another’s words by giving that person credit for the work he or she has done. You must provide accurate source attribution in your essays, your blog posts, and your videos for this class.

An act of plagiarism will result in a failing grade for that assignment and depending upon the degree of severity, may result in a failing grade for the course. For the University of Pennsylvania’s Code of Academic Integrity go to:

For the University of Pennsylvania’s policy on violations of academic integrity go to:

For more resources on how and when to cite sources, visit:

This class is registered on Blackboard. You may log into your Blackboard account here. You will be able to use Blackboard to access grades, upload assignments, view power point presentations and communicate with your group members about your media analysis project.

Information to Students with Disabilities
The University of Pennsylvania welcomes students with disabilities and provides reasonable accommodations to those who self-identify in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Academic accommodations, auxiliary services , and technology are made available to students who meet established documentation guidelines.  Policies and procedures have been developed to provide students with as much independence as possible, to promote self-advocacy, and to provide students with disabilities the same exceptional opportunities available to all Penn students. Student Disabilities Services and the Office of Learning Resources are located at Stouffer Commons, 3702 Spruce Street, Suite 300. (The entrance is on Woodland Walk.) Phone: 215-573-9235 (voice); 215-746-6320 (TDD); web address is:

[1] This rubric is based on Professor Mark Sample’s grading rubric for assessing students’ weekly posts on his class blogs. It has been adapted slightly to suit the needs of this class.

What do you have to say about this?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s