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GWS 350 OL - Winter 2012

Instructor Information

Instructional Materials

Online "Text"

Ms. Magazine in the Classroom.

We will be using the online edition of Ms. Magazine for this class. You can register and sign up for it through the link below.


For a $15 subscription, you receive unlimited online access for 6 months to Ms., two years of back issues and The Best of 30 Years of Ms. Reporting and The Best of 30 Years of Ms. Fiction & Poetry.

How to purchase Ms. Magazine Digital: Go to the link below, http://msintheclassroom.net/

Click on "STUDENT REGISTRATION" to register online and use a credit card or PayPal to purchase your individual Ms. in the Classroom 6 month digital subscription.

For technical assistance, email the Ms. Help Desk at micsupport@msmagazine.com.


Additional Materials

I have put the readings for this class online as PDF or Word Documents, or online links. Those links are available through moodle.

Schedule - Important Dates

The full schedule for the class is found within Moodle. Listed below are important due dates to keep in mind.

Assignments DUE

Due Dates for Major Assignments. Please refer to the Class Schedule for more details.

  1. Introductory Posts: Due December 23rd.
  2. QL #1: Due Dec 26th
  3. QL #2: Due Dec 28th
  4. Forum #1: Due Dec 30th
  5. QL #3: Due Jan 3rd
  6. Auto Ethnography Paper: Due Jan 3rd
  7. Prop 8/FAIR Act Forum: Due Jan 4th
  8. Forum #2: Due Jan 6th
  9. Anti-War Paper Due Jan 9th
  10. Forum #3: Due Jan 9th
  11. QL #4: Due Jan 13th
  12. Online Exam: Jan 16th
  13. Final Projects and Individual Papers: Due Jan 17th
  14. Comments on Final Projects Forum: Due Jan 18th


The exam will be based on all the readings assigned for this class as well as on all in-class discussions and materials presented. The exam will be in varied format: multiple choice, short answer questions and long essays.


Class Policies

Class Participation

Class participation is crucial to “getting” the concepts put forth in this class. The content of this course is not “merely” theoretical or political, but rather, it involves our personal lives—our relationships, our careers, our families. The course is designed to “denaturalize” social categories that are political, which does not mean that they are not extremely personal. Having one’s social privilege/ marginality marked, as this course aims to do, is not always a comfortable process to undergo. Yet it is productive. In order to facilitate a “safe” environment — particularly for those students who are taking risks in exploring the forces that marginalize and/or privilege them—students are expected to contribute in meaningful, sensitive, and self-reflexive ways to online class forums, etc.


Due to the theoretical and critical issues we will deal with in this course being complex, it is important that students stay current on the reading. Reading should be done in advance of assignments and students should be prepared to contribute well thought-out and relevant content to the discussion. Respect for every student’s experience and opinion will be expected. Please do the readings before posting to the Forums as they are essential for meaningful discussions to occur. This also contributes to your participation grade.

Late Work

Turn in papers and projects on the date they are due, unless you have a legitimate university-approved reason (such as a medical emergency). Late work will loose points and may not be accepted if it is submitted more than one week after the due date.

Academic Honesty and Plagiarism

All assignments must be the student’s own original work. Please cite sources in your papers and familiarize yourself with CSUN guidelines on academic honesty. Plagiarism and cheating are grounds for university action and will not be tolerated. It is the responsibility of the instructor to report any cases of plagiarism to the administration and can result in an “F” on the assignment, in the class.

Email Policy:

I am accessible via email to you. However, I would also encourage you to first read the class materials thoroughly. If you need further clarification on a point, try and email/chat with at least 2 other classmates, before emailing me. I find that a vast majority of emailed questions I receive are actually answered in the materials I have posted, but sometimes students don't take the time to read them. In cases like that, I will just redirect you to the materials. At the same time, please realize that I am happy to answer questions.

Final Project Blog & Indv. Paper

A key requirement of this Final Blog Project is incorporating a current issue you pick up from Ms. Magazine. Use at least 3 articles from the online magazine in your Final Paper. You can work together with one or two classmates if you like on the blog (i.e. work collaboratively)... but the paper MUST be individual.

You can collectively post an online presentation as a group and individually write a 4-6 page paper in which you incorporate at least three reading sources from Ms. and three outside scholarly sources.

The blog or webpage you design can be simple but informative. Possible Blog pages you could try: livejournal.com, blogger.com, or edublog.com OR any other blog site of your choice. Search the web and find one that works for you.


You have different options for this project. Make sure that for any topic you choose... you consider at least two of the four dimensions (gender, race, class, sexuality) studied in this class and how they intersect with each other.

  1. Do a “cultural study” of any popular text. Choose a cultural text, such as a music video, a song, a movie trailer, or a commercial. Analyze and critique the ways in which race, gender, class, and sexual orientation get played out within the text in ways that challenge and/or reinscribe dominant social norms.
  2. Research the “War on Terror” from a gendered, racial and/or class perspective. What are some of the issues of power in this “war.” How do we understand the historical and political circumstances that have brought us to this juncture, “who counts and who doesn’t?” {Roy}.
  3. Do a race/class/nation-based analysis of any current event (such as the current recession, wikileaks, Tea Party politics, repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," etc.).
  4. Research Prop 8/FAIR Act- and the various issues surrounding either of these legislative issues. Prop 8 has been framed as a civil rights issue by those who support gay marriage, and as a religious issue by those who oppose it. Similarly the debate over the FAIR Act centers on historical accuracy and representation vs. "protecting our children"/ "propaganda," etc. You are free to take your own approach, but make sure to do so in a way that is respectful, as well as one that builds strong arguments based on credible evidence.
  5. Research a topic of your choice that focuses on the intersections of at least two power dimensions discussed in this class [gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, etc.]. This last possibility has been kept intentionally very broad to allow you to research and explore further any topic or issue that has engaged you the most.

Course Information Overview

Montage of feminist images

Course Description

“Intersections Of Gender, Race, Class And Sexuality” examines race, class, gender as social constructions that are negotiated within specific historical and material locations.

We will study the connections between images in popular culture, history, and social practices in our daily lives. From this perspective we will explore how the social roles we perform and consume every day produce and sustain uneven social relations between and among differently situated people and groups. Of particular interest is the way in which gender intersects with other social categories such as race, class, sexuality, and national origin in our daily lives and popular images. By studying these intersections from the perspective of women living them, we move marginalized women from their typically marginal position to the center of the curriculum.

The central aim of the course is to understand gender not as a singular category, but to see the ways in which gender intersects with other axes of power within specific historical contexts to interrogate the complexities of the social forces that shape our lives in contradictory ways. For instance, how does class privilege relate to gender oppression? How does gender privilege intersect with racial oppression? Upon which axes of power are you privileged and/or marginalized? How are we empowered and/or marginalized by social systems that go beyond our immediate lives and yet influence them so deeply? These considerations take place within the material and historical contexts that shape the possibilities of experience that social groups may have.

The course is designed to enable students to become critically reflexive about the cultural representations that we consume and daily practices we perform in which gender, race, class, sexuality, and nation are constituted. Readings, class activities, and homework assignments aim to enable students to analyze and write about gendered identity formation and the political significance of social categories. One desired outcome of the course is to increase students’ sensitivity towards societal issues relating to discrimination, exploitation, and domination.

We will have a special focus on the Anti-War movement and Prop 8… particularly as they relate to intersections of gender, race, class & sexuality.


Assignment Points
Participation & Attendance 30
Online Forums (20 points each)  60
Prop 8/FAIR Act Forum 20
Quote Links (10 points each) 40
Auto-Ethnography Paper... focus on race 30
Anti-War Response Paper 30
Exam 50
Final Project + Paper 40

Divide your "total points" by 3 to get your percentage points.

Grading Scale - By Percentage
 97-100 A+  87-89 B+  77-79 C+  67-69 D+
 93-96 A  83-86 B  73-76 C  63-66 D
 90-92 A-  80-82 B-  70-72 C-  60-62 D-
       00-59 F



This portion of your grade will come from your participation in the online forums, quote links and other classroom activities over the term. It is important to make meaningful contributions that demonstrate your engagement with the material, rather than making comments that are not based on the readings.

Online Forums

The content of this course is not merely theoretical or political, but rather, it involves our personal lives, our relationships, our careers, our families. Readings should be done well in advance to class. You should be prepared to contribute well thought-out and relevant content to the discussion questions posted online. You will be expected to demonstrate your preparation by posting to Forums on particular days (refer to class schedule), when we do not meet for synchronous chats and by responding to classmates posts online to have a dialogue about the readings.

For each of the Forums... do 2 "original posts" on 2 of the readings... picking from the questions that I have composed for that day. These original posts should be 2-3 paragraphs in length. Then, do 2 "response posts" to 2 other readings from that day... here you are responding to the original posts your classmates have written... which could be the start of a dialogue between you. Your response posts should be at least a small paragraph in length. (You will not get credit for responses that basically stop with one sentence that says things like, "I agree with you." or "I like your reading of the article.") Your responses should be thoughtful and should somehow build on your classmates posts, or tease out another aspect of the reading for them to consider.

Quote Links

On certain days when we meet online, I have assigned "Quote Links." You can access these Quote Links (QL's) in Moodle. Please pick three different readings from that day's assignment. Find ONE quote per reading that really resonates with you. Share the quote you have picked, and a short reflection on why that quote resonated with you.

In order to get points for the quotes, the short reflection surrounding the quote must be thoughtful and insightful. Phrase your reflection in ways that demonstrate that you have done the reading and thought about the issues surrounding the quote you have picked.

BOTH Forums and Quote Links (QL's) can be found on Moodle.


Auto-Ethnography Paper

This project asks you to think about the ways in which your everyday life is personally affected by race and privilege (you may bring in other aspects like gender, class and sexuality... but the focus of this paper should center on race and privilege). You will write one short paper (4-5 pages double-spaced). There are three components to the paper that I will be evaluating: description, definition, and analysis. Guidelines are:

  1. Write one to three paragraphs describing an event in your life that was pivotal in your identity formation with regard to race and privilege. Perhaps it was especially confusing at the time, but now you have a better sense of it through the readings in this class.
  2. Write one to three paragraphs in which you outline, clarify, and define a concept from the readings that you will later apply to the event. You should draw directly on the readings for this portion of the paper, citing specific texts including the author's name and page number
  3. Write your analysis of the event for the ways in which race operated in that situation. Use the readings (bring in at least 2 readings we have done in the class) and develop your thesis statement with thoughtfulness and complexity.
Anti-War Paper

You will do one response paper for this class on the Anti-War section of the course. For this paper, choose two of the readings from that section to focus on and write a response paper in which you: 1) identify a key concept that links the authors and 2) analyze the authors' arguments theoretically and in-depth. If you wish, you may discuss your critical or emotional response to the reading, however the main focus of the paper should be building your argument (based on readings). (3-4 pages, double-spaced).


The exam will be based on all the readings assigned for this class as well as on all in-class discussions and materials presented. The exam will be in varied format: multiple choice, short answer questions and long essays.