About the Course
| Requirements | Schedule | Print Version

Required Texts (available at the University bookstore)

Clare, Eli. 1999. Exile and Pride: Queerness, Disability, and Liberation.
Cliff, Michelle. 1993. Free Enterprise.

Hobson, Janell and R. Dianne Bartlow, guest eds. 2008. Meridians Journal ("Women, Hip-Hop, and Popular Music").
M.I.A. 2007. Kala. (Audio CD).
Trinh, T. Minh-ha. 1990. Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism.
Wong, Elizabeth. 1996. Kimchee and Chitlins: A Serious Comedy about Getting Along.

Additional readings are available on Blackboard.

Requirements: Activities | Assignments | Grades | Expectations


  1. Class Participation - You are expected to contribute regularly to class discussions (both in the classroom and on our Blackboard and Blog online classroom sites), to listen effectively to lectures and to others, and to bring reading materials to class. Due to the contents of this course concerning gender, sexuality, and racial issues, sensitivity and respect for all are a must. Below is a sliding scale on which you can earn points toward participation (maximum 20 points):
    • 20 points = regular and substantial contributions to class and Blackboard discussions, demonstrating both completion and comprehension of reading assignments; accumulation of less than 2 unexcused absences, with no latenesses or classroom disruptions.
    • 15 points = sporadic contributions to class and Blackboard discussions, often demonstrating completion of reading assignments, with improvement needed to show comprehension; accumulation of 2-3 unexcused absences, few latenesses or classroom disruptions.
    • 10 points = lack of contribution to class and Blackboard discussions, failure to demonstrate completion and comprehension of reading assignments; accumulation of 3-5 unexcused absences, with regular latenesses and classroom disruptions.
    • 5 points = accumulation of 5-7 unexcused absences or regularly late and disruptive in the classroom; lack of contribution to class and Blackboard discussions, failure to complete reading assignments.
    • 0 points = If you accumulate more than 7 unexcused absences, you will receive no class participation points and will fail the course.
  2. Class Blog: I have created a public blog for our course to introduce you to the web 2.0 world of the blogosphere and to experiment with writing for an audience. Each week, students are given an opportunity to sign up and blog about a narrative or theme introduced in said narrative. On Blackboard, you will be given a sign-up sheet, as well as the login and password to participate on our classroom blog. For the most part, each student in this course will post at least one blog entry this semester. The blog post is expected to be a critical writing piece that reflects on the intellectual merit of the topic assigned and that explores elements of the course theme of "feminist narratives and racial politics" within a more contemporary "real world" context. While the blog post is primarily a written text, the blog itself is digital and allows you to incorporate multimedia elements, such as hyperlinks, embedded videos and audio, and images. Any media used in a blog post must be cited, and references to other blogs and websites must be made through a hyperlink. In the event that you are not writing an original blog post, you are expected to post a comment to your classmates' blog entries, since the nature of blogging is conversational. You are required to post comments to such blog entries at least 3 times a month. When you have posted your own blog entry, you are expected to keep track of comments that are posted and to reply to each substantive comment. I will grade these blog posts in terms of both content and the ensuing blog discussion, but I will not be a participant. I will instead draw from these discussions to shape our in-class discussions. If the online discussion from your blog post gets off track, it is your responsibility to refocus it. You are responsible for maintaining the quality of the blog discussion you lead. Every posting to a blog post should add something substantive to that discussion. If no one leaves comments to your blog post, find out why and do something about it! The public space of blogging also means that the discussion is open not only to your classmates but to anyone who comes across our classroom blog.

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  1. transcending silence... Project: The Women's Studies undergraduate e-journal, transcending silence..., which is a unique, fully online journal highlighting both research and creative projects by undergraduate students, is seeking submissions for the Spring 2009 issue. For the purposes of this class, you will be expected to create a submission for this issue. There are two requirements for this project:
    • Follow the Submission Guidelines of the e-journal: The e-journal welcomes both research essays and creative projects (fiction, video, audio, art, etc.), so you may choose the genre for this project. The e-journal also requires that you follow certain formats for your chosen project and to submit both a hard and digital copy of your project, along with an abstract, personal statement, and a cover letter with your personal information.
    • Adapt the Project to Our Course Theme: Whatever your chosen genre for this project, the content must reflect a feminist narrative that addresses intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. The project must also be a response to a particular narrative (or narrative theme) explored in this course. In other words, this project should serve as a counter-narrative to a specific narrative discussed in class. Your project could be an exploration of a historical or current event, a fictional character, a narrative structure, or an adaptation into a different genre, etc.
    You will have an opportunity to revise this project. The rough draft of the project is due in class on Tuesday, November 11. The final draft is to be submitted in the drop box on my office door (Social Science 344) by Monday, December 15, no later than 12:30 pm. To encourage peer review, you are expected to post drafts of your project on Blackboard, where indicated, so that your classmates can evaluate your work and provide feedback. Once this semester is ended, you have a choice to submit your project to the e-journal on your own (submissions will be accepted January 30, 2009 and March 20, 2009), but I will be forwarding on to the editorial board projects that earn a B+ or higher (more than 25 points earned).
  2. Multimedia Project: This assignment is an opportunity for the entire class to collaborate on a counter-narrative in response to one of our required texts, the novel Free Enterprise by Michelle Cliff. First published in 1993, this historical fiction has struggled to remain in print and is often overlooked in curricula that focus on writings by women of color. In devoting a website to this novel, our class will be able to highlight and keep alive, through the multimedia opportunities made available by web 2.0, a multifaceted and complex work of fiction. Each student will work on this project in groups and will be expected to select a certain multimedia presentation to explore certain elements in the novel (i.e. creating a 5-10 minute You Tube video, an image slide show or photo essay, a 5-10 minute audio lecture, spoken word, or original music, or original digital artwork). The multimedia should be accompanied by a 200-250-word (or paragraph-length) overview about the project, and a quote or passage from the novel that connects with the project. Group Proposals are due in class on Tuesday, October 21. A storyboard for the project is due in class on Tuesday, October 28. We will spend the week of November 18 working on the multimedia project in class, with the final version due on a rewritable CD in class on Tuesday, November 25. Detailed instructions for this project are available on Blackboard.
  3. Assignment Checklist/Self-Evaluation – designed to help you keep track of your performance in this course, due last day of class, on Thursday, December 4; see last page of print syllabus. You stand to lose 5 points from your final grade if you fail to turn this in.

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Class Participation 20


Class Blog 20 ongoing
transcending silence... project 30 Proposal (Oct. 2)
Rough Draft (Nov. 11)
Final Draft (Dec. 15)
Multimedia Project 30 Group Proposal (Oct. 21) Storyboard (Oct. 28)
In-class workshop (Nov. 18-20)
Final Version (Nov. 25)

Grading Scale:
A = 100-93
A- = 92-90
B+ = 89-87
B = 86-83
B- = 82-80
C+ = 79-77
C = 76-73
C- = 72-70
D = 69-65
E = Below 65

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You are allowed up to 3 unexcused absences. Excused absences and make-up assignments are only granted in cases of emergency and grave illnesses. If you miss more than your allotted three unexcused absences, you stand to lose significant points from your class participation grade (see the above scale). Please be judicious in how you use your allotted absences and how you monitor your presence in the classroom. Please turn off cellphones (or keep on vibrator alert in cases of "emergency" calls) before class begins.

Late assignments will result in a 5-point reduction for each day late. After two days late, you will receive a “0” for that assignment.

Plagiarism is a university offense and will result in failing grades. First time offense will result in a “0” for your assignment. Second offense will result in a failing grade for the course.

Understand what it means: plagiarism results when someone uses the ideas or writings of another and presents these ideas or writings as her or his own. Examples include:

  1. Buying a paper from a research service or term paper mill.
  2. Turning in a paper from a “free term paper” website.
  3. Turning in a paper someone else has written for you.
  4. Copying materials from a source without proper citation.
  5. Using proper citation but leaving out quotation marks.
  6. Paraphrasing materials from a source without appropriate citation.

When citing sources, it is best to present ideas using your own original words. If you fully understand a source, you will be able to completely describe its themes and ideas in your own words and from your own perspective. However, if you copy a passage that someone else wrote and only change a few words around, it becomes plagiarism.

When quoting directly from sources, it is best to use direct quotes only if the phrasing is apt and powerfully stated; be sure to include proper citation. If the quote is not revelatory or eloquent but simply provides some useful information, then it is best to explain the information completely in your own words while providing proper citation.

Since you will be engaged in digital media production and will possibly work with various media sources, you will need to familiarize yourself with copyright policies on “fair use” of others' creative works. Copyright “fair use” laws allow you to reproduce copyrighted work only if your use of such work is “transformative” of the original or if it contains a small portion of it. It is often difficult to determine the nature of such transformations and portions, so when in doubt, it is safest to seek permission from the copyright owner for free use (if your work is for educational rather than commercial purposes, as is the case for your assignments) or to pay a licensing fee. For more information, please visit Stanford University's website on copyright fair use laws:

To access royalty free music in the public domain, please visit:


You have two opportunities to earn extra credit toward your final grade. You can earn bonus two (2) points for each tutorial that you attend at the Interactive Media Center, which offers free tutorials on various digital media programs that you can use to complete either of your class projects, including workshops on imovie, flash, Photoshop, etc. In the event that your own schedule cannot accommodate the dates listed, please contact the IMC directors, Regina Convoy and Roger Lipera, who can schedule you in for a tutorial at alternative times. The IMC is located in the basement of the main library. You can also earn bonus points by participating in the annual Women's Studies Student Conference, held December 4-5. You may choose to present your transcending silence... project at this conference. You can earn 2 points if you submit an abstract (200 words) describing your project to [email protected] by October 31. You can earn an additional 1 point if you are accepted into the conference and 2 more points if you present at the event, for a total of 5 points.