What is gender? What roles does it play in our lives as individuals and as members of a larger culture? Where
does gender come from, and what forces shape it? How is it connected to other cultural categories such as
race, class, sexuality, and nationality? Where does gender appear—in the media, in the law, in social
interactions, in our bodies, and elsewhere? How does it define us, empower us, and limit us?
In this course, we will take a close look at gender and gender roles in American culture by asking (but not
necessarily answering) these and other questions. We will use gender as the topic of our course because it is
relatively simple (after all, everybody has one) and yet also extremely complex in terms of its impact upon
people’s lives and identities, feelings and behaviors. While gender will be the topic of our semester-long
discussion, our focus will also be on developing the reading and writing skills you will need to be successful
in college. As a result, you should be prepared to do a considerable amount of work in this class, reading
carefully and taking notes on each reading assigned, and revising each paper you will write several times over
the course of the semester. The aim of this course is not to advance any one position on gender roles and
gendered behaviors. Instead, we will be using the subject of gender as an exercise in critical thinking, and I
encourage and expect you to challenge some of the positions expressed in the texts we will read. By the end
of the course you will be expected to apply the ideas you have learned from the readings, to discuss critically
the concepts studied, and to write about gender issues in a clear and thoughtful manner.
Required Texts (available at the University Bookstore):
, edited by Rachael Groner and John O’Hara
Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man
, by Norah Vincent
A Pocket Style Manual (Sixth Edition)
by Diana Hacker. New York: Bedford St. Martins, 2010.
two or more durable, two-pocket folders, one portable stapler
The policies below set out the rules and guidelines for how this course will run. Understanding and
following these policies will help you to succeed in class and to learn as much as possible over the semester.
If you have any questions about the course policies (or anything else), please don’t hesitate to ask me in