G ST 201 Introduction to Gender Studies

G ST 201 IS Sec 1, University of Mississippi
[See UM Catalog for Description]

3 credit hours

Instructor Information:

Nancy L. Provolt

Instructor name:
Nancy L. Provolt, M.A.

Areas of specialization:

  • Women and the Environment (EcoFeminism)
  • Women and Activism
  • Women and Poverty
  • Women and Culture; A Global Analysis
  • Entrepreneurship for Women: A Global Analysis
  • Women in Non-Profit and For-Profit Corporation; A Multidimensional Approach
  • Entrepreneurship for Women: A Global Analysis
  • Women and the American Experience
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • American Studies and Innovation
  • Ethics and Health

Contact Information:

If you have questions concerning the content of the course, you may contact the instructor directly using the Email Your Instructor link in the Lessons or Content page. NOTE: Whenever sending email, please be sure to indicate your course title and number in the subject line. You can expect a response within 72 hours, although it may be longer on weekends. Many instructors reply within 24 hours.

For lesson or test administration issues, please contact the iStudy department:

The University of Mississippi
Division of Outreach and Continuing Education
P. O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677

Phone: (662) 915-7313, toll-free (877) 915-7313
Fax: (662) 915-8826
E-mail: istudy@olemiss.edu

Course Description

This is an introductory course to familiarize you with the concepts and questions of the interdisciplinary research assignments of women’s and gender studies. We will be examining various social, economic, and cultural systems that shape our experiences of gender in the contemporary United States. Over the course of the fourteen lessons, you will read selected material, watch videos, and participate in online writing assignments – all focusing on women and gender.

The course begins with a brief history of feminism, then with a discussion of major concepts of women’s & gender studies. After these introductory units, the course units center on particulars such as sexuality, family, wage labor, and violence. Throughout the course, we will be interested in historical dimensions of present-day situations; and we will also be concerned with the ways gender interacts with other systems of oppression, such as race and class. Please note that this is a Gender Studies course and we will be examining these issues from a feminist perspective.

Textbook Information:

Textbook information will be provided upon enrollment in your iStudy course.

Course Objectives:

If you complete this course successfully, you will:

  • Be able to communicate an understanding of the concepts and methods of inquiry within the humanities: Assignments in this course will introduce you to the humanities concept of the “constructed-ness” of culture, as well as a number of humanities approaches to knowledge.
  • Be able to evaluate primary and secondary materials: Reading assignments in this course include academic studies (secondary material) as well as autobiographical and creative writing (primary material).
  • Be able to analyze texts, recognizing diversity of cultural and historical contexts and recognize that social/cultural systems develop out of adaptation to environments and historical circumstances: Readings and course activities will introduce you to the historical and cultural complexity of gender in the United States, and to the ways gender has changed over time.
  • Understand the ways in which race, ethnicity and gender are socially constructed: Readings and course activities will increase your understanding of the “constructed-ness” of the seemingly “natural” categories of race and gender.
  • Understand that different cultures may hold different views on the same issues: Readings and course activities will introduce you to beliefs and viewpoints of some minority cultures in the United States.
  • Be able to evaluate information and assertions in terms of relevance, bias, stereotyping, manipulation, and completeness: Readings and course activities call attention to mis-information and inaccurate assertions about gender and race, and point out the politics behind bias and stereotyping.

Course Outline:

This course consists of 14 instructional modules, 2 proctored examinations, and a final project.

You MUST take the syllabus quiz within 2 weeks of enrolling or you will be dropped from the course. NOTE: you must pass the Syllabus and Orientation Quiz for the course materials to appear on the Lessons page.



Reading Assignments

Due for Grades

Pacing guide to complete the course in a semester

Start Here

Syllabus and Orientation

You MUST complete the syllabus quiz as soon as you have access to your Blackboard course. This is mandatory to verify your attendance. NOTE: you must pass the Syllabus and Orientation Quiz for the course materials to appear on the Lessons page.

Syllabus Quiz

Week 1


An Introduction to Women and the American Experience

  • Women’s Studies: Perspectives and Practices” (WV, pp. 1-14)
  • Baumgardner & Richards, “A Day Without Feminism” (34)
  • Rich, “Claiming an Education” (28)
  • Hooks, “Feminist Politics: Where We Stand” (37)
  • New York Radical Women, “No More Miss America” (33)
  • Declaration of Sentiments, 1848 (BB=Blackboard unit readings folder)
  • “The New Feminism, Ladies Home Journal, 1970” (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 1


The Social Construction of Difference in American Society

  • “Lorber, "The Social Construction of Gender " (BB)
  • Oudshoorn, "Sex and the Body" (BB)
  • Kessler, "The Medical Construction of Gender" (BB)
  • Lopez, "The Social Construction of Race" (BB)
  • Dalmage, “Tripping on the Color Line” (BB)
  • Dennis the Menace cartoon (BB)
  • U.S. Census Bureau categories, 1860-2000 (BB)

Journal Entry, Written Assignment

Week 2


Understanding the Root of Sexism, Hierarchy and Patriarchy in America

  • “Systems of Privilege and Inequality” (WV)
  • Collins, "Toward a New Vision: Race, Class, and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection" (72)
  • May, "Intersecitionality" (79)
  • Yeskel, “Opening Pandora’s Box” (95)
  • McIntosh, "White Privilege and Male Privilege" (86)
  • Langston, "Tired of Playing Monopoly?" (BB)
  • Wendell, “The Social Construction of Disability” (101)
  • Combahee River Collective Statement (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 3


Learning Gender in America

  • “Learning Gender” (WV, pp. 116-135)
  • Fausto-Sterling, “The Five Sexes, Revisited” (136)
  • Wong, “When I Was Growing Up” (159)
  • Fine, “Unraveling Hardwiring” (129)
  • Blackwood, “Trans Identities and Contingent Masculinities: Being Tomboys in Everyday Practice” (150)
  • Kimmel, "What are Little Boys Made Of?" (BB)
  • Kimmel, "Masculinity as Homophobia" (BB)
  • "Tough Guise," part 1 (a film) (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 4


Inscribing Gender on the Body

  • “Inscribing Gender on the Body” (WV, pp. 181-204)
  • Brumberg, "Breast Buds and the 'Training Bra'" (205)
  • Steinen, "If Men Could Menstruate" (209)
  • Grossman, “Beating Anorexia and Beating Feminism” (211)
  • Weitz, “What We Do For Love" (221)
  • Miya-Jervis, “Hold That Nose” (231)
  • Saltzberb & Chrisler, "Beauty IS the Beast" (BB)
  • Staples, "Just Walk on By" (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 5


Research assignment 1

Research assignment exploring ideals of female or male bodies. Complete this assignment before moving to the next unit.

Do not begin the next lesson until the research assignment has been submitted.

Week 5


Gender and Sexuality in America

  • Shaw, Lee, “Sex, Power and Intimacy” (313-333)
  • Valenti, “The Cult of Virginity” (334)
  • Bass, “Gate C22” (339)
  • Rupp, “A World of Difference” (339)
  • Smith, “Dismantling Hierarchy, Queering Society” (354)
  • Allen, “Some Like Indians Endure” (346)
  • Stoltenberg, "How Men Have (a) Sex" (BB)
  • Messner, "100% Straight" (BB)
  • Koedt, "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm" (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 6


Reproductive Politics in America

  • Shaw, et. al. “Health and Reproductive Justice” (362-394)
  • Edwards, “The Gender Gap in Pain” (395)
  • Gaines, “Southern Discomfort” (396)
  • Koerth-Baker, et. Al. “Freedom to Choose?” (424)
  • Woods, “A Global Health Imperative” (400)
  • Davis, "Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive Rights” (BB)
  • Roberts, "The Future of Reproductive Choice for Poor Women of Color" (BB)
  • Nsiah-Jefferson, "Reproductive Laws, Women of Color and Low-income Women" (BB)
  • Center for Reproductive Rights, "Governments Worldwide Put Emergency Contraception Into Women’s Hands” (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 7

Mid Course Exam

Proctored Exam

Be sure to complete all previous assignments before taking this exam. Complete this test before moving on to the next unit.
The midterm covers units 1-7.

To be scheduled
and completed
before proceeding

End of Week 7


If you are a semester student, you must reach the midpoint of your course by the date specified in your information.
If you are a Flex UM student, you CANNOT WITHDRAW from this course after the exam has been submitted.

All lesson assignments or exams needed to reach the midpoint of the course

The exact date semester students are required to reach the midpoint is specified in your information.


Family Systems

  • “Family Systems, Family Lives” (WV)
  • Goldman, "Marriage and Love” (452)
  • Miya-Jervis, "Who Wants to Marry a Feminist?” (454)
  • Warner, “Family Way” (456)
  • Angelou, “Our Grandmothers” (112)
  • Kahf, “My Grandmother” (468)
  • Schwartzapfel, “Lullabies Behind Bars” (466)
  • Shulman, "A Marriage Agreement" (BB)
  • Lehrer, "Family and Women's Lives" (BB)
  • Crittendon, "How to Bring Up Children Without Putting Women Down" (BB)
  • Collins, "Bloodmothers, Othermothers, and Women-centered Networks" (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 8


Gender and Wage Labor

  • “Women’s Work Inside and Outside the Home” (WV, pp. 470-478– boxed inserts are part of the assignment)
  • Hesse-Biber & Carter, “A Brief History of Working Women" (503)
  • Heath, “Will Marriage Equality Lead to Equal Sharing of the Housework?” (500)
  • Chang, “Color me Nontoxic” (522)
  • Bose & Whaley, "Sex Segregation in the Labor Force" (BB)
  • Crittenden, "The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued" (BB)
  • Sandler, "In Case of Sexual Harassment" (BB)
  • National Committee for Pay Equity, "Questions and Answers on Pay Equity" (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 9


Gender and Poverty In America

  • “Ehrenreich, “Maid To Order: The Politics of Other Women’s Work” (517)
  • Coontz, “The Triumph of the Working Mother” (515)
  • Levintova, “Virtuous Valentine? Think Again” (524)
  • Richter, “Sex Work as a Test Case for African Feminism” (530)
  • Glenn, "Women and Labor Migration" (BB)
  • Salzinger, "A Maid by Any Other Name (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 10


Gender-based Violence, Women and Rights

  • “Resisting Violence Against Women” (WV, pp.537-564)
  • Smith, “Beyond the Politics of Inclusion" (565)
  • Davis "Betrayed by the Angel: What happens When Violence Knocks and Politeness Answers” (571)
  • Lockwood, “She Said” (568)
  • Chinapen, “Sex Trafficking in the U.S.” (568)
  • Atherton-Zeman, “How Some Men Harass Women Online” (574)
  • Bridges, "Lisa's Ritual Age 10" (577)
  • St. George, “Textual Harassment” (540)
  • Hobday, et. Al. “Anti-LGBTQ Violence: Three Essays” (577)
  • Carter, “Preventing Sexual Assault” (BB)
  • Baldor, “Sex Abuse Continues at Military Academies” (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 11


Research assignment 2

Research assignment that investigates how feminist magazines confront culture. Complete this assignment before moving to the next unit.

Do not begin the next lesson until the research assignment has been submitted.

Week 11


Confronting and Creating Culture

  • “Women Confronting and Creating Culture” (WV, pp. 250-275)
  • Dickinson, “The Wife” (278)
  • Lorde, “Poetry is Not a Luxury” (281)
  • Merchant, “Wonder” (722)
  • De Leon, “If Women Ran Hip Hop” (287)
  • Weiner, “Beyonce: Feminist Icon” (296)
  • Radsch, “Cyberactivism and the Role of Women in the Arab Uprisings” (298)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 12


Gender and Religion

  • “Religion and Spirituality ” (WV, pp. 635-649)
  • Stanton, "Introduction to THE WOMAN'S BIBLE" (650)
  • Brown, "Fundamentalism and the Control of Women" (651)
  • Marcos, “Decolonizing Religious Beliefs” (660)
  • Almirzanah, “The Prophet’s Daughters” (666)
  • Plaskow, "Standing Again at Sinai" (670)
  • Ostriker, "Everywoman Her Own Theology" (673)
  • Riswold, “Feminist Questions of Christianity” (673)
  • Miller, “The Non-Religious Patriarchy” (682)
  • Haught "God Say Yes to Me” (651)
  • Madigan, "After Fleeing Polygamist Community, an Opportunity for Influence" (BB)

Reading Quiz, Journal Entry

Week 13


Final Project

You must submit your final project before you can schedule and take your final exam. Until you submit the project, the final exam folder will not appear.

Final Project

Week 14

Final Exam

Proctored Exam

Be sure to complete all previous assignments before taking this exam. Any assignments not completed before the exam is taken will receive a grade of zero. All course work must be graded before you will be eligible to take the Final Exam.
The final mainly covers lessons 8-13, but the essays may span the whole course.

To be scheduled
and completed
to finalize credit

Week 15


94 - 100% = A
90 - 94% = A-
87 - 90% = B+
84 - 87% = B
80 - 84% = B-
77 - 79% = C+
74 - 77% = C
70 - 74% = C-
64 - 69% = D
Below 64% = F


You must submit the lessons required to take the course exam(s). Lessons required but not submitted will receive a grade of zero. For the final exam, all coursework must be submitted and graded.