The goals of the course are to develop research skills through various research projects and interpret objectively the role of women throughout history from post-American Civil War to the modern era. This course will look at women through the lens of their social and political roles, while analyzing through different several lenses of intersectionality such as race, socioeconomic status, and religious belief. Students will also be analyzing the social impacts, such as gender roles, stereotypes, and the progress women have made in modern society. As a semester-long elective, the course is meant to be an introductory course, which allows students to lightly cover a broad variety of topics; however, the focus on research and analytical skills will require students to dive deep into their topic of interest as their final project. Furthermore, students will develop effective debate and persuasive skills will be exercised in various activities such as weekly questions, discussion prompts, and difficult persuasive essays chosen by the students. These skills will be developed collaboratively in class as students discuss materials such as videos and articles. The materials will focus on a theme for the week, which allows students focus on a topic; however, many of the discussions will be student-led and will stem from questions and ideas they develop from the materials provided. The elective will be largely directed by student interest, making discussion and projects enjoyable and interesting to the students. In the end, this element of choice will allow students to develop their own understanding about women studies.
Throughout the unit students will meet in a live class session through videoconferencing. The live sessions will take place on Fridays and last for two full hours. Students and the teacher will use audio and video to connect in real-time and discuss course content. Students will also work asynchronously throughout each week on assignments embedded in our learning management system.
Unit 1: Definition of Feminism
This two-week introductory unit will introduce the definition of feminism and the purpose of women’s study before the students dissect the different facets of the weekly topics. This first unit allows students to discuss their pre-conceived notions about feminism and compare them to several definitions given through various sources. These sources range in opinion as the topic of “feminism” is broad, but they allow students to develop their own ideas of what feminism means and how the concept of feminism has been changed or subverted. Throughout the first couple of weeks, students will find articles pertaining to feminism and add them to a Padlet. Students will argue and discuss the articles given through comments and discussions provided and reflect on their pre-conceived notions of feminism. During their live sessions on Friday, students will bring all the ideas discussed and discovered during the week through the articles provided and articles found by the students through a group discussion Finally, at the end, they will reflect on their journey in journals entries and see if their opinions about feminism have developed, changed, or stayed the same.
Unit 2: The Beginning: First and Second Wave
The next three weeks focuses on early history of feminism, known as the first and second wave. Starting with a discussion of roles of women prior to feminism, this unit is intended to set the tone of what it was like to be a women pre-19th amendment. After the tone is set, the students will embark on a historical adventure reading and immersing themselves through the early movements. Students will first analyze and discuss several readings about the Seneca Falls Convention, which sparked the feminist movement to the beginning of the 19th amendment, and the proposal of the Equal Rights Amendment. Throughout the unit the students will engage on a discussion board to discuss key questions about each individual reading. During the live sessions on Fridays, students will come together and bring all the ideas discussed and discovered during the week through the articles provided and any additional articles found by the students, and try to piece the bigger picture together be comparing all the articles as a class. Students will tackle the main ideas of what caused the movement, the consequences of the marches, and the impact of the 14th and 19th Amendments in class. Finally, at the end of the unit, the students will reflect on their journey through journal entries to see if their opinions have developed, changed, or stayed the same.
Unit 3: To Modern Time: Third and Fourth Wave
The next four weeks, students will continue learning the history of the feminist movements with the third and fourth wave of feminism. Starting with information from the 1990s, students will read and analyze videos and articles about women in the workplace, the wage gap, the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Students will take the time to compare the impact the first and second wave had on third and fourth. Furthermore, students will be asked to interpret many of the laws enacted federally, which impact women in different aspects such as work, the media, military, and the government. Students will also to be asked to define and understand the concept of intersectionality. This understanding will allow students to discuss compounding problems faced by women such as race, religion, age, and socioeconomic status. Since this unit is relevant to many of the students, they will be given a lot of time to reflect and discuss the readings and topics assigned both continuing in their journals and class discussion boards. On Fridays, students will come together and bring all the ideas discussed and discovered during the week through the articles provided and any additional articles found by the students. The group discussions will also ask students about comparing the third and fourth wave to each other, to the first two movements, and how it currently impacts their lives.
Unit 4: Exploring Modern Times
This four-week unit will use the film “Girl Rising” (2013) to explore intersectionality through the experiences of young women around the world. The film shares the narratives of 10 young women around the world, ranging from Haiti to Nepal, and discuss the hardships of not only being a girl, but also the other problems they have faced that stem from being female. The intersectional issues the girls face range from being poor, to living in a historically strong patriarchy due to religion and government, to being sold as a modern-day slave and being forced to work away from their family. Throughout this unit, students will be asked to apply intersectionality to what they have learned about feminist movements. Furthermore, students will look at many of these lenses of the film and compare and contrast the modern-day problems faced by women and girls and reflect on how much culture has changed or not changed. During the live sessions on Fridays, students will come together and bring all the ideas discussed and discovered during the week through the articles provided and any additional articles found by the students. Finally, at the end of the unit, they will reflect on their journey through journal entries to see if their opinions have developed, changed, or stayed the same.