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ANT 405 Anthropology of Gender (14515) Dr. Dorothy D. Wills
Cal Poly Pomona University Winter, 2014
Instructor: Dorothy D. Wills, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, Dept. of Geography and Anthropology.
Class meetings: MWF 10:30-11:35, 5:143.Office hours: MW 8:00-9:00, Tues. 9:00-12:00, or by appointment, located in Bldg. 5-145, phone 869-3582, or department office 869-3569.
Web page: www.csupomona.edu/~ddwills
ANT 405 Anthropology of Gender (4) Interdisciplinary cross-cultural examination of gender. Includes anthropology of men and women; role and status; culture and personality; expression and behavior; past and future trends in relationships. Student research and presentations. 4 hours seminar. Pre-requisites: Lower division GE Areas A, two courses from C, and two courses from D. Some anthropology preferred.
Required Background or Experience
Lower division GE Areas A, two courses from C, and two courses from D.
Expected Learning Outcomes
This course synthesizes the humanistic and social scientific perspectives on gender cross-culturally. It draws from history, ethnography, literature, psychology, critical theory, and other fields. It takes into consideration both expressions of men’s and women’s own points of view in different cultures, as well as studies carried out by outsiders. Thus, students grow in appreciation of diverse forms of experience and expression and in analytical reasoning ability.
Students will be able to:
1) Build a new perspective on the varied contributions of women and men of different social groups and different sexual orientations in different cultures around the world and through history, whether in the arts, social movements, public action, domestic maintenance, or invention and production,
2) Analyze and question the continuity between traditional/historical and contemporary patterns of role and status for the sexes/genders, for groups based on sexual orientation, and for life cycle categories such as age groups,
3) Evaluate the gender-related problems of minority groups in various cultures, including gender identity issues, their individual problems of accommodation to norms established by dominant groups, and the political and cultural processes that produce change,
4) Design a field or library research project relating to an aspect of gender or sexuality,
5) Critique the nature- (biology-)based and environment-based arguments surrounding the issues of sexuality, relationship dynamics, dominance (aggression) and hierarchy, taboo behavior, reproduction, and child-rearing norms related to gender,
6) Critically assess artistic, periodical and popular materials on sex and gender.
7) Integrate and evaluate both humanistic and social scientific approaches to the understanding of human society and culture, through the lens of gender, and
8) Synthesize factual and interpretive material from lower division general education courses, and propose solutions to problematical issues.
Text and Readings
Students will read the text, case studies, short stories, and other materials placed on the course web site or Blackboard in common. They will also read a literary work, additional scholarly book(s), and Internet materials outside of class individually in order to complete assignments.
Brettell, Caroline B. and Carolyn F. Sargent, eds., Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall (latest ed.).
Note: Part of the course will be on line. My plan is to meet most Mondays and Wednesdays, and few Fridays. The days we don’t meet you will have activities on Blackboard. This plan could change, but we will discuss it in class on the first day. That means at least some materials will be on Blackboard. This syllabus is to be regarded as a flexible document, but I will not change it without consultation, except as a matter of getting ahead or behind. Dates, assignments, topics, and activities could conceivably change, as we progress through the quarter. You are expected to attend class when class is held, and to participate in Blackboard activities on the given dates. The topics listed for each week are things I hope to address in class, but they are also in the readings, and we may get to them in a different order than expected.
Week 1 – Jan. 6 - 10. Overview and introduction. What is an anthropological perspective on gende? Some topics:
Mammals, primates, and humans.
Mating and reproduction.
Status and sex.
Socialization of offspring.
Student Learning Goal: Review biological and evolutionary context. Understand anthropological approach.
Assignment: Field and reading log (to be explained). Reading: Preface, Intro and Section I.
Week 2 – Jan. 13 - 17. Connections and definitions of gender, sex, sexuality, reproduction. What evidence do we have from archaeology? Some topics:
Is anatomy destiny?
Normativeness and deviance: labelling theory.
The concepts of role, status, relative rights.
Student Learning Goal: Critique the language, terminology, meanings, and functions. Explore the past.
Assignment: Select topic for research paper and prepare to discuss your choice next week. Friday meeting on-line for discussion on Blackboard. Maintain log.
Reading: Sections II and III.
Week 3 – Jan. 22 - 24. Women and men in different types of societies. Economic determinism and materialist theories. Some topics:
Possible case studies: !Kung foragers.
Student Learning Goal: Begin to synthesize historical and cultural factors and variations through research and literature review.
Assignment: Select literary work for report and prepare to discuss your choice next week. Friday meeting on-line for discussion on Blackboard. Maintain log.
Reading: Section IV.
Week 4 – Jan. 27 – 31. Agricultural nations. What is modernity? Cultural variations on gender. Some topics:
Possible case studies: the Navajo and Mojave
Student Learning Goal: Relate form of civilization to environmental and economic factors.
Assignment: Friday meeting on-line for discussion on Blackboard. Check-in with logs. Choose topic for report on gender and belief system.
Reading: Section V.
Week 5 – Feb. 3 – Feb. 7. Complex society and divided gender. Discuss religion and gender topic. Philosophy and writing of otherness. Some topics:
Possible case studies: The hijras of India.
West African societies.
Contemporary United States.
Student Learning Goal: Expand vision of modern cross-cultural experience.
Assignment: Friday meeting on-line for discussion on Blackboard.
Reading: Section VI.
Week 6 – Feb. 10 - 12. The cultural construction of personhood and identity. Topics:
Socialization patterns across cultures.
Ritual and religious ideology.
The public/domestic division.
Culture and personality.
Symbolic biological events; puberty, menopause.
Student Learning Goal: Compare and contrast longitudinal (life cycle) and ritual data across cultures. Explore the artistic contributions of women and men.
Assignment: Friday is a holiday.
Reading: Sections VII and VIII.
Week 7 – Feb. 17 - 21. Kinship, marriage, parenthood, and other roles and contracts. Overview of belief systems. Book report due. Some topics:
Differential rights and obligations of men and women.
Community, church, and family authority.
Student Learning Goal: Frame gender and sex in legal, ritual and political perspectives.
Assignment: Prepare to discuss field and reading logs. We will attend the speaker event on Friday.
Reading: Section IX.
Week 8 – Feb. 24 – 28. Kinship and marriage. Communication, gender, and sex. Belief system report due. Some topics:
Women's and men's language and art.
Obscenity and pornography.
Non-linguistic signification, e.g., veiling, eating customs.
Homosexuality, transgender phenomena, sexual behavior.
Student Learning Goal: Analyze interactional and social data.
Assignment: Prepare to discuss book of report (either on-line or in class).
Reading: Section X.
Week 9 – Mar. 3 – Mar. 7. Colonialism and development. Globalization and gender roles. Some topics:
Modern political movements.
Assignment: Prepare brief presentation on research project for on-line presentation Friday.
Reading: Section XI.
Student Learning Goal: Relate gender theory and activism to other post-modern theory and social movements.
Week 10 – Mar. 10 - 14. Inequality. Review main concepts and data from course. Discuss research experiences. Research paper due. Some topics:
Gender and nature.
Gender and hierarchy.
The archeological record: ancient society.
Patterns of work, opportunity, the distribution of resources. Privileged persons and classes.
Student Learning Goal: Prepare for social transformation. What does it mean to me?
Assignment: Final discussions and synthesis of course activities and materials.
NO FINAL EXAM.
The course consists of:
1. Lecture/discussion/student presentation of theoretical background, case studies, readings.
2. Use of films, slides, web-based materials, etc., to supplement readings.
3. In- and outside-class writing projects for discussion.
4. Research outside class, resulting in research paper and reports.
5. Small group discussion and research, sometimes utilizing Blackboard.
6. Compilation of a comprehensive reference notebook.
7. Maintaining a journal (which includes the above notes).
Students will maintain a log or journal, in which they record observations and conclusions, attempting to integrate ideas from the course into their own analysis of their social world. The logs can be used for notes on reading. Suggestions will be made in class on organization and format. Peer comment will be utilized where appropriate. You will also use the log to enter bibliographic references you encounter during the research process, to check with the professor. Students will do three projects, which may be in the form of written reports or multimedia presentations: a critical review and summary of a book by an international literary figure whose subject matter is pertinent to the gender analysis we have engaged in, a report on gender from the perspective of a specific belief system, and a research paper addressing a cross-cultural gender issue, whether from a social scientific or literary/philosophical perspective. Students are expected to demonstrate in class discussion and writing exercises (whether in person or on-line) a command of the conceptual material and an independence from ethno-, hetero- or gender-centric ideas about men and women, intersexed individuals, and transgender persons.
Log . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10%
Religion report . . . . . . . . . . . 20%
Book report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20%
Research project . . . . . . . . . . 30%
Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20%
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