Class Participation (20 points)
Participation includes your regular attendance and contributions to classroom discussions and the webct discussion board. Attendance will be taken through name cards, created the first day of class. You are allowed 3 unexcused absences ; however, if you go over this number, you stand to lose 2 points for each additional absence from your final grade. Excused absences will only be granted in cases of documented illness and emergencies. Five bonus points toward your final grade for perfect attendance!! Perfect attendance means that you have never missed a single class (whether this is excused or not – including for illnesses and emergencies), nor have you ever arrived late nor left early for any reason. If you attend every single session, from the beginning of class time to the end, and if you are respectful in class, contribute to discussions and never disrupt class (being insulting, rude, walking out of class without saying “excuse me,” or NOT turning off cell phones, pagers, and beepers), then and only then will you receive bonus points for perfect attendance.
Writer's Notebook (10 points)
A notebook of your choice, used for Freewrite/reflection writing assignments in class. You will also be expected over the weekends to reflect on the episodes that air on PBS' Wide Angle series (Thursday nights, 10 pm) and analyze the ways that the topics in each episode are covered (if at all) in mainstream news programs (i.e. – CNN, Fox News, etc.) or addressed in alternative news sources (you may need to search the Internet for possible news sites that provide more information than what is covered in mainstream media). You will be expected to share your findings and reflections weekly on webct in the Wide Angle discussion folder. You will need to turn in writer's notebooks on Tuesday, December 7.
Pop Quizzes (20 points)
Scheduled throughout the semester and unannounced; you will have as many or as few quizzes, depending on how regularly everyone in class keeps up with their reading assignments.
Social Justice Activism: Local/Global Resources (10 pts).
Contribute paragraph-length (6-8 sentences) reports on the goals, objectives, and activities of 1.) a local organization in Albany (including campus-based groups) or elsewhere in New York state that deals with feminist or social justice concerns and 2.) a global or transnational group that mirrors the concerns of the local group (i.e., Women against War, locally-based Albany group, parallels the internationally-based Women in Black ): one paragraph for each organization. Declare your local and global choices via webct (no later than September 30). Students may not cover the same groups, so once a student declares coverage of certain groups, those organizations are off limits to others (sign-up is first come, first served). To prepare for your reports, attend at least one local meeting or event, read various literature produced by these groups, etc. In your reports, be sure to provide contact information and a link to the organizations' websites, if these exist. Local groups may even guide you in learning about their global/transnational counterparts. You will need to submit these on webct (in the indicated folder) by Tuesday, October 26, 1:00 pm . These reports will be included on our class website, on a resources page.
Living Feminism: A Virtual Feminist Cookbook ( 20 points)
In addition to collaborating on an activist resources page, we will collectively assemble a “virtual feminist cookbook” as each student contributes a recipe (you will be expected to prepare a dish based on this recipe for a “potluck celebration” in class) and a narrative (2-4 pages, typed and double-spaced), which describes the “politics of food” – either in terms of the global/transnational/historical exchange of ingredients in the dish and/or in terms of the preparation and reception of a meal as an act of everyday feminist resistance . You will need to construct a web page featuring this recipe and narrative (create an original title for this page and list resources with information on this subject). You may be as creative as you wish with the narrative, but the larger politics of food distribution and social justice, as well as cultural heritage and gender roles in the preparation of food, must be addressed. The web page should feature the recipe's ingredients and preparation instructions in a table, offset from the narrative; the background color must be white, the written text black (although you may change the table background color if you so choose). You may design the web page simply by saving your word file in html format; or you may use a web design program (such as the Netscape Composer program, available on Netscape Navigator, or the Dreamweaver program, which offers a free tutorial and 30-day free trial of the software at http://www.macromedia.com ). The Interactive Media Center in the main library also provides free tutorials for students on the use of this program. You will need to turn in both a hard copy of the recipe/narrative and an html version on disk/CD by Tuesday, November 23. Only those projects that receive an A- or higher will be published on our class website. You must choose one of the following categories for your recipe – appetizer/snack, soup/salad, meal, dessert, drink – by October 14.
Student Conference Project (20 points)
In collaboration with my graduate seminar on Feminist Theory (WSS 565), which will organize a student conference around graduate student paper/project presentations, you will be expected to participate by contributing creative projects, based on our own class theme, to be presented to the conference audience. We will hold in class exercises the week of October 19 to engage feminist theory in the realm of creative writing and collaboration. These sessions will also serve as launching off points from which student groups can begin collaborating on the conference project. As a class, you will be divided into three groups (collectives), which will collaborate on one of the following creative works:
- Exhibit Collective. This collective will work on the creation of an art/media exhibit, or a collaboration of an art piece (i.e., mural or installation) to be exhibited at the student conference on Friday, December 3, in Humanities 354, 11:30 am-6 pm , with a preview before class on Tuesday, November 30. The exhibit may be a creative display of a variety of materials/items/art pieces deemed “feminist,” a “make-shift” altar/memorial, or a collage of three-dimensional objects to create a collaborative installation. The collective is expected to meet outside of class time on this project. Also, prepare an exhibition catalog or brochure to be distributed to the audience (3 BONUS POINTS on project grade if presented on an original website!).
- Food Collective . Expanding on our cookbook project, this collective will work creatively on organizing a luncheon for the student conference, which may feature dishes from student recipes. The luncheon should also reflect issues of feminist food politics in a way that conference participants and audience members grasp the themes, that recognizes food preparations and presentations as genuine works of art, and that also celebrates communal nourishment, even within an academic setting. The collective is expected to meet outside of class time to plan this conference luncheon. Also, prepare a brochure/flyer, promoting our class virtual cookbook and presenting “food for thought” issues about the menu, to be distributed to the audience (3 BONUS POINTS on project grade if presented on an original website!).
- Performance Collective . This collective will work on the creation of a performance that espouses “feminist” ideas or presents a “creative response” to any of the texts studied in this course. The performance could be an “open mike”/audience participation spoken-word collaboration, a variety show, a dance performance, a music performance, a multimedia performance, an absurd/comedy or avant-garde theater, a series of skits/vignettes/character-sketches, or a reading collective (combined sharing of each member's poetry, spoken word, etc.). You must give a Dress Rehearsal in class on Thursday, December 2. The public performance will take place on Friday, December 3, in Humanities B39, 7:30 pm . The performance must clock in between 60-75 minutes (no more, no less). So, please time it during rehearsals. The collective is expected to meet outside of class time. Also, prepare a performance program to be distributed to the audience (3 BONUS POINTS on project grade if presented on an original website!).
*Alert! For shy students especially: Not all members of this collective need to perform . You may decide that some of you can serve as directors, stage managers, or crew members (i.e., set design, lighting, costume, music, backstage performers, etc.).
**You must sign up for one of these collectives by Thursday, September 30, and the collective will turn in a 1 or 2 page Conference Project Overview (typed and double-spaced) by Tuesday, November 16.