WS 101 M/W- Cora Agatucci

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Instructor: Cora Agatucci
Winter 1998

Office: Deschutes 14; Office Hours: see Winter 1998 schedule & by appointment
Office Phone & Voicemail: (541) 383-7522
Mailbox - Deschutes 12, Humanities Dept. Office
Electronic mail addresses
or internally addressed to Cora Agatucci via COCC First Class
Visit Cora’s WS Links and WS Timelines (hyperlinked!)

Required Text: WS 101 Packet (available for purchase in the COCC Bookstore)

Also Required (see WS 101 Course Plan for dates):
1. Engaged attendance, note-taking, and participation at at least 80% of the scheduled formal presentations by Cora and
WS 101 guest COCC presenters. Much of the "content" of this class derives from these presentations, and these in-class learning opportunities cannot be replicated or "made up" later.
2. Additional readings (handouts or library reserve), as assigned by guest presenters, to be announced at least one week in advance of scheduled presentation.
3. Resources to duplicate/zerox selected preliminary and final drafts of WS 101 writing assignments.

Prerequisites: None. Students with college entry-level reading, thinking, listening, and writing skills should be prepared to succeed in this course. This is an introductory course in women's or gender studies: no previous coursework is required, although such background is, of course, valuable.

Course Description and Learning Objectives

1. What is Women’s and Gender Studies? This is a question you should be able to answer by the end of WS 101, and it’s not easy to answer in a single sentence (or three). Understandably, given that "women" means at least half of humankind, and given that "gender" identities, roles and relations take in all of us (every culture has such gender systems), the "field" of women’s and gender studies cannot be confined to a single definition, academic discipline or method of inquiry (or a single culture). One defining feature of Women's and Gender Studies is its interdisciplinary nature: to create knowledge and understanding of women and gender, scholars and students work in, draw upon and cross many academic fields of study for topics, methods, values, perspectives, and tools of inquiry and analysis. To introduce WS 101 students to the wide scope and diverse methods of the field, to understand what each has to contribute to our overall understanding and knowledge of women and gender, and to inquire more closely into how work in this relatively new field is reshaping knowledge in various academic disciplines, COCC faculty and scholars representing many academic fields and professional and personal perspectives—and we’re only tasting a small sampling!--will make guest presentations in their areas of expertise and experience in WS 101 this term. (Not all of these speakers, by the way, would identify themselves as "feminists.").

Students will be encouraged to think and write about these questions as they participate in, analyze, and reflect on successive WS 101 presentations. After a sequence of presentations, "Review" sessions are scheduled in the WS 101 course plan. These sessions will give us a chance to engage in learning activities that analyze, compare and contrast, and evaluate what these different presentations and perspectives contribute to women’s and gender studies, and then try to synthesize how they work together (or against each other) to complete and/or complicate our growing understanding and knowledge of the field. Informal and formal writing assignments will give students further opportunities to consider these questions.

(Note: Most courses you take are not organized as interdisciplinary explorations of a subject. Ws 101 offers a unique educational experience. Thus, in addition to introducing you to women’s and gender studies, WS 101 may help you make better sense of the bigger educational picture--the ways that the other courses you take, the disciplines and professions they represent, the knowledge they create and the methods they use, each contribute valuable pieces to that that "bigger picture," and help us know ourselves and our world more completely.)

2. What is a feminist and feminism? This is another question WS 101 students should be able to answer after finishing this course. WS 101 students do not have to be "feminists" do profit from or do well in this course. However, first things first… we’ll need to clear the learning arena of stereotypes and misconceptions and inquire into this question seriously. Before asking, am I a feminist, let’s define what your notion of "feminist" is and compare it to others’ definitions. More accurately, while we can identify a few core ideas and goals probably common to all who call themselves "feminists," there are many varieties of feminism, and sometimes sharp disagreement among these feminisms.

WS 101 will introduce some varieties of U.S./Western feminism, and some of their key theories, concepts, perspectives, and goals. To "contextualize" feminisms, we will trace their historical development in political-social activism known today as the "Woman’s Movement," some of the women (and men) who created the "movement[s]," and investigate feminisms’ roles in establishing Women’s Studies programs and courses (like this one) within the U.S. and other world educational establishments. If we have a stronger understanding and appreciation today of the status, accomplishments, lives, and perspectives of the world’s women today and in the past, it is largely due to these "feminists," courses and programs, and feminist scholarship in many academic fields, as well as other professional and private arenas.

In connection with our study of the interdisciplinary nature of women’s and gender studies, WS 101 will also consider this key question:

We will investigate this question, as well as selected public private, and academic issues raised by the Women’s Movement and feminist theories and critiques.

3. What are the multicultural and global dimensions of feminism and of women's and gender studies? As we investigate the diversity of ideas within feminism and interdisciplinary studies of women and gender, we will also address the diversity of identities among women in the world, past and present, seek to understand and appreciate those differences, and guide students in trying to locate themselves within that diversity. Some WS 101 presentations will address these topics directly, attempting to give students a better understanding and appreciation of multicultural and international women and gender systems—complicated by intersecting oppressions of gender, race/ethnicity, class, and culture, arising out of different cultural/historical contexts and social realities. And these multicultural and global perspectives are sometimes very different and sharply critical of those we consider "mainstream" for the U.S., arising out of different cultural and historical contexts.

4. Where are you coming from? Where are others’ coming from? What can we learn from our differences, as well as our similarities? How can we work together to deal more constructively with gender (and other) differences? Other important course goals are to create a learning environment where multiple perspectives (of students, teacher, speakers, and, in absentia, some of the rest of humankind) are encouraged and valued, and to lay a solid groundwork for learning to respect and deal (more) constructively with gender (and other) differences. I rely in part on students’ agreement that these are goals worth striving for, guided by critical and "connected" thinking and writing exercises designed to "contextualize" our own and others’ viewpoints, with help from Lynn Cannon Weber’s "Ground Rules" (see WS 101 packet) and the practices of other "feminist," inter-cultural, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning strategies. We are all "persons of gender" as we are also persons of various individual histories, classes, ages, races, ethnicities, religions, sexual preferences, politics, regional and educational backgrounds, etc. These differences are sometimes very significant and should not be erased by overgeneralizing about all "women" or "men" if we truly seek a more complete and accurate understanding of others and ourselves. (For example, it is crucial to realize that all "men" have not been privileged, nor have all "women" always disadvantaged by gender systems of power, and the roles, expectations, and power relations that they create.) And to inquire openly and fairly into the many—especially "gendered"—differences, as well as common ground, among us, among humankind, we must clear the ground of misinformation and stereotypes if we hope to understand others, especially groups different from ourselves. Such learning begins at home. Our multiple and intersecting identities shape the ways we know, learn, and teach WS 101 subjects, as well as other academic studies.

Transfer Credits and "W" Credit

B List Humanities Credit: WS 101 is fully transferrable and may be applied toward fulfillment of the a B-list Humanities requirement for an associate’s degree.

"W" Writing In Context (WIC) Course Credit: In addition to basic requirements in writing (e.g., Wr 121, 122, 123), many four-year colleges and universities are instituting lower division requirements for coursework requiring writing assignments in discipline-specific contexts. Therefore, COCC has instituted a Writing in Context (of another discipline)--or ""W" or "WIC"--designation for approved COCC courses across the curriculum with a significant writing component to help COCC transfer students meet such requirements in future. WS 101 is one of those approved courses. WS 101 and 102 use both formal and informal writing to help students learn the subject matter, to promote self-reflection and discovery, to develop students’ ability to think and write within and across the various disciplines which study women and gender, and to strengthen students’ college-level communication skills. (See "Course Grading and Assignments" below).

Course Grading and Assignments

30% - Participation Credit & four (4) Dialogues: as noted earlier, students must earn credit for attendance and active engagement at at least 80% of the scheduled WS 101 presentations for a grade of "C" or higher in this category; the 4 dialogues, informal writing of at least one page each, will be evaluated on a Credit/No Credit basis.

30% - Three (3) graded Study Guides (@ 10%), 2-3 pages each ,on assigned Ws 101 presentations, produced individually and by small groups, with duplicate copies as required (see WS 101 Course Plan); directions and evaluation criteria will be discussed in more detail in class.

30% - Two (2) graded Discussion Papers (@ 15%), 4-5 pages each, on course themes briefly described in the WS 101 WS 101 Course Plan; with detailed directions, topic choices, and evaluation criteria to be discussed in class.

10% - Final Reflection Paper, an end of term Course Review and Self-Evaluation, will be due at, or may be written during the scheduled WS 101 Final Exam meeting (see WS 101 Course Plan).

Late-Make Up Policies

  1. Missed In-class presentations cannot be replicated or made up. However, a limited number of "extra" participation credit options may be offered in consultation with Cora.
  2. Credit/No Credit Dialogues may be turned in late with no penalty
  3. One (1) late Study Guide (group or individual) will be accepted late with no penalty, but the student(s) will be responsible for duplicating copies for the rest of the class. Any additional late Study Guides will be penalized one letter grade.
  4. One (1) late Discussion Paper will be accepted late with no penalty. A second late Discussion Paper will be penalized one letter grade.
  5. Final Reflection Paper will not be accepted late, and must be turned in during or before the scheduled WS 101 Final Exam meeting.

links to useful websources for writers & researchers,
see Cora during her office hours (see Winter 1998 Schedule),
or try the Jefferson Writing Lab (tutoring hours posted & announced in class)

Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychological, vision, hearing) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the instructor (Cora) and Steve O’Brien (COCC counselor who handles disability services, located in the Boyle Education Center [BEC]) at the beginning of the term or as soon as possible.

If unforeseen problems emerge during the quarter that may seriously hurt your progress or performance in this course, please see me right away. Together we can perhaps reach a solution or compromise that will enable you to continue and complete course requirements successfully.

I look forward to working with and learning from you this term!


In answer to a recent student question, please note: WS 101 is not just for women!
Male as well as female students are invited to enroll. The issues we address are relevant to everyone.

Learn some hyperlinked "herstory" from WS Timelines,
or explore more internet resources...
WS Links

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