Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

WMST 310: *Women And Society

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  Course Description

Analysis of the social and cultural forces that shape women's position in society; explanations and critical analysis of the gendered nature of our reality. Cross listed as SOCI/WMST 310.

Prerequisite: None

Proctored Exams: Midterm


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  Andersen. Margaret L. (2016). Thinking about Women (10th ed). Pearson.  eText
  •  Braithwaite, Ann. (2017). Everyday Women's and Gender Studies (1st Ed.). Routledge.  eText

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

The objective of this course is to learn and apply the major sociological and feminist theories to the study of gender. A historical analysis of the women’s movements in the U.S. and the world is taught, and the current status of feminist theory is analyzed.

We will identify the gendered nature of social institutions such as education, economic, legal, and media. Understanding how gender is constructed through the intersection with other differences among women, such as race, ethnicity, and class is foundational to understanding sexism and inequality.

You will engage in current research in the fields of gender studies, and learn to critically interrogate the concepts of sex, gender, and sexuality as social, political, and historical constructions. 

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. To apply the major sociological and feminist theories to the study of gender.
  2. To describe and explain the history of and current status of feminist movements in the U.S. and the world.
  3. To identify the influence of gender on women’s lived realities within major social institutions.
  4. To explain the notion of intersectionality and apply it to the analysis of individual lives.
  5. To engage with current research in the fields of gender studies.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 450-500 90-100%
B 400-449 80-89%
C 350-399 70-79%
D 300-349 60-69%
F 0-299 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (17) 100 20%
Papers (3) 200 40%
Midterm Exam 100 20%
Final Exam 100 20%
Total 500 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion 4 Wednesday
Discussion 1 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 2 6 Friday/Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 4 6 Friday/Sunday
Paper 1 50 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 6 6 Friday/Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 6 Friday/Sunday
Midterm Exam 100 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10 6 Friday/Sunday
Paper 2 50 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 12 6 Friday/Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 14 6 Friday/Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 6 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 16 6 Friday/Saturday
Paper 3 100 Friday
Final Exam 100 Saturday
Total Points: 500

  Assignment Overview


There are two discussion topics each week. Initial posts for each topic due on Wednesdays and Fridays, and responses to classmates’ posts in both weekly topics due on Sundays (except in Week 8, when responses are due on Saturday.) All original posts should be 2-3 paragraphs in length or approximately 500 words. The two required responses to classmates’ postings for each discussion must be approximately one paragraph in length. 

You must post an initial response to the discussion prompt before you will be able to see your classmates' posts. See the assignment expectations in the Content area for more details about expectations and grading criteria.


You will write three papers in this course. The first and second papers are worth 50 points each. The third paper is worth 100 points. Each paper will be graded on the basis of analytical and critical thinking skills, completeness, correct spelling, correct formatting and citations, and neatness. The papers amount to 40% of your final grade.

Requirements for first and second papers: Single spaced, 12 pt. font, normal margins, 2 pages required, APA format required (cite authors in textbook for the theoretical perspectives you discuss throughout paper with year, include full references at the end of the paper. You do not need a title page or abstract for these papers.) Due Sunday 11:59 p.m. CT of Week 2 (first paper) and 5 (second paper).

Requirements for third paper: Double spaced, 12 pt. font, normal margins, 9 pages minimum required (this includes the title, abstract and reference page), APA formatting required (this includes title, abstract, and reference page). Due Friday 11:59 p.m. CT of Week 8.

Thesis statement required in bold. You are expected to do library research, which can include but must go beyond the texts used for this class. You must use at least six academic sources, including books or journal articles.  If you use popular press articles (such as Time magazine) or online sources other than academic journals you found online, these are not included as part of your six academic sources. You can use them as supplements, but you must have at least six academic sources in addition to such supplemental sources.


This course includes a midterm and a final exam, each worth 100 points. Together, at 200 points, the exams comprise 40% of your final grade.  Only the Midterm is proctored. The final exam can be taken at home or office.

You must submit the “Student Proctor Information Submission Form” to the Proctor Information Dropbox by the end of Week 2. This form and additional information about Proctoring is located in the Content area of the course. Each Columbia College site has its own hours and methods for handling proctoring.

Each exam consists of 13 multiple-choice questions (25 points) and 5 short essay questions worth 15 points each for a total of 100 points. Both exams are taken online in the D2L course environment. The Midterm exam (with an approved proctor) is taken between Tuesday and Sunday of Week 4 and the Final Exam is taken between Tuesday and Saturday of Week 8.

Two hours are allowed to complete each exam. The midterm is comprised of questions from topics covered in Weeks 1-4 and the final is comprised of questions from topics covered in Weeks 5-8.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.


Thinking About Women: Chapters 1, 2, and 11 section 7

Introduction Discussion

Please introduce yourself.  Give us more than your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interests, background in sociology, and any other information that can help us get to know you. Be sure to tell us what interested you in this course. 

Activity: Tell two people you are taking a Women’s Studies class and note their reactions. Share with the group and add your thoughts.

Discussion 1
  • After reading section 11.7 in the Thinking About Women text, describe the history of the women’s movement in the U.S.  Examine and explain the waves of feminism, is there a fourth wave approaching?  What would it consist of or be defined by?
  • Looking at the research of Janice McCabe, consider why people might state “I’m not a feminist, but…” What influences a person’s feminism?  How do you define the term? 
Discussion 2

What do sociologists mean when they speak of the social construction of gender? What is the distinction between sex and gender? Explain the complexity of this distinction. What difference does culture make? 


Everyday Women’s and Gender Studies: Chapter 3, including the readings “Privilege” by Carbado and “Access to the Sky” by Huff.

Discussion 3

What does it mean to say that norms reflected in social structures lead to patterns of exclusion? What is an example of this? How does Carbado argue that privilege plays a role in this process? Describe something from his list that helped you consider privilege in a different way. 

Discussion 4

According to Huff, what do airlines and other transportation companies tend to assume about the bodies of their passengers? How do social stigmas about bodies and identities function in discussions about rights? What is “minoritizing rhetoric”? Provide and explain an example.

Paper 1

Describe symbolic interaction theory. Research West and Zimmerman’s original study on “doing gender” as referenced in the chapter (available in Columbia College online library). Describe the concept of “doing gender.” What three analytical distinctions do they claim are important toward understanding what it means to be a gendered being in society? As a conclusion, describe three ways you “do gender” every day.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
  • Thinking About Women: Chapter 13.4 “Multiracial Feminism: An Intersectional Analysis”
  • Everyday Women’s and Gender Studies: Chapter 2, including the readings “Racialized and Colonized Bodies” by DeMello and “Guys are Just Homophobic” by Pascoe.
Discussion 5

What is intersectional theory? What is multiracial feminism? Locate yourself in this conversation. What are your salient identities and how has the intersection of these provided you with certain resources and experiences? Have you experienced forms of discrimination, oppression or privilege? Give examples.

Discussion 6

What does DeMello mean by “race emerged as a concept”? When, where and why did this happen? Describe the eroticization of racialized bodies and provide a historical example. In what ways does the racialization that colonialism launched still play out around us today?

  • Thinking About Women: Chapter 5
  • Everyday Women’s and Gender Studies: Chapter 5's reading “The Globalization of Care Work” by Parrenas.
Discussion 7

What counts as work? How does gender ideology shape what we consider work? What is the relationship between expectations of gender, women’s domestic household labor, and the kinds of work women tend to do in the workforce?

Discussion 8

Apply the family-based and family-wage economy to your own experience growing up.  Which best describes your family life? This part should be the bulk of your post. Then briefly describe your mother, or other maternal figure, or the person who most closely raised you as a child and find out about her/his work history. If they worked outside the home, who took care of you while they worked? If you can interview them, ask them to describe what their experience was like.

Midterm Exam

The midterm exam, worth 100 points, must be taken with a proctor between Tuesday and Sunday of Week 4. You must submit the “Student Proctor Information Submission Form” to the Proctor Information Dropbox by the end of Week 2. This form and additional information about Proctoring is located in the Content area of the course. Each Columbia College site has its own hours and methods for handling proctoring.

The exam consists of 13 multiple-choice (25 points) and 5 short essay questions worth 15 points each for a total of 100 points. You will be allowed two hours to complete the exam. The midterm is comprised of questions from topics covered in Weeks 1-4.

  • Thinking About Women: Chapter 9
  • Everyday Women’s and Gender Studies: Chapter 5's reading “Awful Acts and the Trouble with Normal” by Meiners.
Discussion 9

How does blaming victims of sexual and physical abuse contribute to the enforcement of gender norms established in a patriarchal culture? What challenges do women face when they choose to prosecute a rapist?  What about men who choose to prosecute?  How are gender roles and the social construction of gender replicated in the U.S. court system?  

Discussion 10

Based on this week’s readings, how do women’s fear of violent crime socialize them?  What do women do to avoid sexual assault or harassment? Compare this to what men do to avoid sexual assault or harassment.

Paper 2

Describe how studies of crime and gender begin with social conditions. Then use this to evaluate why men are more likely to commit crimes than women. How does the social construction of masculinity factor into deviant behavior? What role do gender social norms play in men’s acts of violence? In the concluding two paragraphs, describe what the text describes as the role of masculinity in school shootings. What are your thoughts on this the role of masculinity and this issue?

  • Thinking About Women: Chapter 4
  • Everyday Women’s and Gender Studies: Chapter 4 readings “Widening the Dialogue to Narrow the Gap” by Wilson and “The Body, Disability, and Sexuality” by Gerschick.
Discussion 11

After reading about the history of sexuality in the US in the Thinking About Women text, apply contemporary examples to the sexual politics of race, class and gender.  How has the history of sexual attitudes continued to prevail in contemporary society? How are the “master’s tools” mentioned by Audre Lorde applicable to the debates centered on women’s reproductive rights?  

Discussion 12

Based on Wilson’s essay, what does she mean by a “full ecology of human well-being?” How is “health” associated only with particular kinds of bodies? Pulling from the Thinking About Women text, describe the reaction previous generations have had to LGBT people.  How has this evolved with the current generation?  What social factors contributed to this evolution? How might this factor into Wilson’s discussion on public health?

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
  • Thinking About Women: Chapter 3
  • Everyday Women’s and Gender Studies: Chapter 6 including the readings “Interracial Romance: The Logic of Acceptance and Domination” by Nemoto and “Cyberrace” by Nakamura.
Discussion 13

In what ways is pop culture beneficial to the study of gender?  How has it helped make concepts like feminism and gender studies more mainstream? Provide an example of someone who is popular in mainstream cultural entertainment (sports, music, film, television, and internet) and who has helped feminism or gender issues? Provide a link to their work – such as a music video, film or television clip, or artwork etc. and explain why they are promoting change.

Discussion 14

Drawing from both Nemoto’s and Nakamura’s essays, how are racism, sexism and homophobia represented (or not) in the popular culture we consume? To what extent can we be held accountable for who and what we desire? What is “identity tourism”? Do you think this is problematic?

  • Thinking About Women: Chapter 11
  • Everyday Women’s and Gender Studies: Chapter 5 reading “Where is Home?” by Abdulhadi, Now What: The (Anti) Conclusion reading “Lessons from Idle No More” by Couthard, and Chapter 4 reading “’National Security’ and the Violation of Women” by Falcon.
Discussion 15

After reading Falcon’s essay, describe the ways in which migrant women are in danger at the US-Mexico border and why. In the essay, Cynthia Enloe describes the conditions for and types of militarized border rape. What type do the cases in this research fit? Reflecting on this issue, do you think mainstream news media perpetuates or helps this problem? Why?

Discussion 16

What are some examples of the power elite influencing special interest groups in order to enforce patriarchal goals?  

  • Find examples of the power elite as it relates to gender, race, and class.  
  • How is this complicated by the influence of the state?
Paper 3

The final research paper should analyze and assess a social movement that is currently unfolding and working toward social justice pertaining to women’s rights and/or gender equality in some way.  

There are three parts to this paper:

  1. Research this group and their current mission and goals, past accomplishments and current membership levels. Why or how did this group get started? Who are its significant leaders? Is it effective? What level of media presence does it have? Briefly describe your findings (in approximately 2-3 pages). 
  2. Review journal articles that discuss the issues that this group is focusing on. Using research-based findings, provide a feminist or sociological analysis on one of the main issues. The analysis should include, but is not limited to (in approximately 4-6 pages): 
    • The scope of the problem and where it is happening
    • The possible gendered causes and explanations for this social problem (brief history)
    • How this issue intersects with race/class/sexuality/disability/ethnicity etc.
    • Who is the problem perpetuated by? Why? 
  3. Conclude the research paper with your personal thoughts on the effectiveness of the group’s tactics to make change. Please keep personal opinions and reflections only to this section. The rest of the paper should be based on research and all work needs to be cited (1-2 paragraphs maximum).
Final Exam

The final exam is worth 100 points. It is NOT proctored; it can be taken at home or office between Tuesday and Saturday of Week 8.

The exam consists of 13 multiple-choice (25 points) and 5 short essay questions worth 15 points each for a total of 100 points. You will have 2 hours to complete the exam. The final is comprised of questions from topics covered in Weeks 5-8.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late assignments are accepted in this class. No late discussion posts are accepted in this class.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.