WGS 3050 Syllabus


In this course we will look at several feminist theories and their antecedents. Language and culture, as precursors to conceptions of the social and political, are also basic to our inquiries in this course. Rather than trying to find the One True Feminism, we will consider what is offered by the various approaches taken by feminist political theorists and activists.


Learning Goals: Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • summarize the major characteristics of several feminist theories,
  • explain the historical context for each of these theories, and
  • apply the theories studied to issues, events, and artifacts.

Activities in support of learning

  • Two Oral Presentations  on primary texts (10 points each). 
    • Presentation should include:
      • a handout to be distributed to class members (summary statements, citations of sources)
      • a 5 minute oral presentation
      • responses to questions
  • One Oral Presentation applying a feminist theory to: 
    • the news
    • fairy tales
    • literature
    • advertisements
    • YouTube, or film. (10 points each)
      • Presentation should include:
        • include a handout to be distributed to class members (summary statements, citations of sources)
        • a 10 minute oral presentation
        • responses to questions
          • Oral Presentation Evaluation
            •  Clarity of presentation ( including handout summarizing text(s) and providing relevant information to class members)
            • Delivery: Was the speaker natural, enthusiastic; did they speak clearly; were appropriate gestures, posture, expressions used?
            • Discussion: Were questions answered accurately, clearly, effectively?
            • Adherence to time limit
  • One 4-page paper (15 points) - in response to Essays on Sex Equality
  • Two 4-page papers (15 points each) -- in response to questions about each of two feminist theories.

Paper Evaluation

An “A” paper will contain at least the following elements:
- demonstration of clear understanding of the course material covered in the paper
- a clearly articulated thesis statement that directly addresses the specific question you are answering
- convincing supporting arguments, including textual support
- demonstration of independent/original thought
- effective organization
- near-perfect mechanics, including spelling and punctuation

Sources may be cited using the in-text, or parenthetical citation style, e.g. (Tong, p.112). A bibliography is not necessary unless you utilize material not assigned in the syllabus

  • Class participation statement (20 points) --Please note that class participation requires not only attending class, but attending class prepared to participate in discussions on the material assigned for each day and then actually participating in those discussions. Feminist theory, as we shall see throughout the semester, is participatory. Students will assess their participation this semester in short written statement--which includes description of their work in class and outside of class about feminist theories.

Grading scale:

93 - 100% = A; 90 - 92% = A-
87 - 89% = B+; 83 - 86% = B; 80 - 82% = B-
77 - 79% = C+; 73 - 76% = C; 70 - 72% = C-
67 - 69% = D+; 63 - 66% = D; 60 - 62% = D-
0 - 59% = E