Int 101, Understanding Self and Others: Talking about Gender (Fall 2016) Class meeting times

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INT 101, Understanding Self and Others:

Talking about Gender (Fall 2016)

Class meeting times: MF 9-9:50, W 9-10:50

Class meeting room: Willingham 202

Professor: Dr. Elizabeth Harper (email:; call and text: 919-442-8490)

Office: Groover 118

Office Hours: Monday 10:00-10:50 and Tuesdays 1-3 in my office; Thursdays 1-3 in Jittery Joe’s, and by appointment

Even before we are born, gender shapes how others see us. And as we grow into adults, we take in many different messages about what men and women are like and how they should behave. In this class, we will examine the ways in which our ideas of gender shape our own sense of ourselves and our relationships with others. We will use the tools of academic inquiry to help make sense of everyday experiences like conversations and social situations as well as more overarching cultural patterns in our marketing, educational system, and family life. Our chief tool will be the tool of writing, which we will use to explore our own ideas, to interact with the ideas of others, and to articulate thoughtful responses to the questions we are exploring.

Required texts: Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing (abbreviated on schedule as TSIS)

The Little Bear Handbook

Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys (abbreviated on schedule as RC)

Rachel Simmons, The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence (abbreviated on schedule as CGG)

Deborah Tannen, You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation (abbreviated on schedule as YJDU)

Readings posted on Blackboard (denoted with the abbreviation BB)

Student Learning Outcomes for This Course:

Students will understand selfhood in relationship to others as exhibited by the ability to:

1. Identify different aspects of self/paradigms of self:  nature/nurture/individuality/individual choice;

2.  Identify ways that self may change over time;

3.  Analyze ways that the behavior of individuals or groups stems from their diversity;

4.  Demonstrate how self is defined by the relationship to others.

 Students will be able to think critically as exhibited by the ability to:

1.  Coherently integrate information from a variety of sources;

2.  Support valid arguments with empirical, textual, theoretical and/or direct evidence;

3.  Identify strategies to formulate judgments, reach decisions, and/or solve problems.

 Students will be able to write clearly as exhibited by the ability to:

1.  Demonstrate close and critical reading of texts;

2.  Identify and evaluate relevant sources;

3.  Appropriately use and cite relevant sources;

4.  Summarize, analyze, and/or synthesize information in written work;

5.  Maintain focus, organization, and logical development in written work; and

6.  Produce texts that are appropriate to the author’s purpose and the audience’s needs.


10% Reading Journal: 8 entries, each 250-300 words, responding carefully, but in an informal style, to the questions on the “reading journal” page of the syllabus. Journals responding to drafts are required; you may choose which one of the other seven options you want to skip.

10% Two short assignments associated with the mechanics of writing a documented paper—a “Quotation Assignment” and a “Summary/Paraphrase Assignment”—each 250-300 words.

15% Paper A (position paper) will be 750-1000 words. The paper will ask you to argue your own position in response to one of the arguments made in Raising Cain. APA style. Rubric will be available in the “rubrics” folder on Blackboard.

15% Paper B (analytical paper) will be 1000-1250 words. The paper will ask you to analyze how one recent popular article (“Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse,” available online at depicts gender and the self, using any of the previous course readings. MLA style. Rubric will be available in the “rubrics” folder on Blackboard.

20% Paper C (research-based revision of analytical paper) will be 1250-1500 words. This paper will revise Paper B by placing your analysis within the context of other scholars’ research. Using secondary scholarly research, you will show how your analysis fits into or calls into question some current debate among scholarly researchers of gender. The paper requires a minimum of four sources to pass, two of which MAY be articles read in class. MLA or APA style. Rubric will be available in the “rubrics” folder on Blackboard.

20% Paper D (personal narrative): will be 1000-1500 words. In this essay you will revisit the experience you wrote about for Journal #1 in light of the course readings and discussion. What have you learned about gender that best sheds light on that experience, and why? What are the practical consequences of thinking about gender from a critical, academic perspective? How does thinking about gender change how we understand self and other? Rubric will be available in the “rubrics” folder on Blackboard.

10% Participation in class discussion and in informal in-class writing, including paper abstracts and early drafts. Missing more than nine discussions results in an automatic F grade for the course—do NOT choose this option, as it will make both you and me very unhappy!!!

Journal questions:

Each journal question asks you to respond to some aspect of the day’s reading, so be sure you read the reading carefully and understand it before starting to write. Please refer to the schedule to find out which question you should write about for which day.

  1. Describe a time when someone spoke to you in a particular way because of your gender. In a paragraph or two, tell the story of what happened in as much detail as you can. Then, in another couple of paragraphs, answer the following questions: What assumptions did the person or people make about you? How correct were those assumptions? How did How did this treatment affect you—for instance, did you benefit or suffer in some way? Did your self-image change in some way? What did you learn about gender from this experience?

  2. Summarize the central argument of Kipnis’s essay (what perspective does it take toward this topic?). Then describe an experience or observation from your own life that you think speaks to this argument. Be detailed and specific—try to talk about a specific situation or incident rather than making broad generalizations. Finally, explain how your experience or observation speaks to the writer’s argument. Does it confirm it, contradict it, or complicate it?

  3. Raising Cain: Summarize the central argument of the chapter listed as today’s reading. Then choose one experience or observation from your own life that you think confirms, contradicts, or complicates this argument and explain how it does so.

  4. Write a detailed response to the drafts you are reviewing (1 page for each draft). Are the ideas and arguments convincing? What suggestions do you have for the writer about further analysis, supporting evidence, or alternative explanations for the evidence? (required)

  5. Eavesdrop on a conversation in the student center, dorm, a coffee shop, or some other public area, keeping in mind Tannen’s theories about gendered communication as described in today’s reading. Pay special attention to the gender of each speaker, topics of conversation, and conversational styles. Does what you hear mesh well with Tannen’s theories? Why or why not?

  6. If Tannen is right about the way that men and women speak, how might that play out in the classroom? Have you noticed any differences in the way that male and female students behave in college, or in the way that male and female professors teach their classes? Be specific (but don’t use names, as I don’t want to get you in trouble!)

  7. Field Trip: see worksheet for details.

  8. Write a detailed response to the drafts you are reviewing (1 page for each draft). Are the ideas and arguments convincing? What suggestions do you have for the writer about further analysis, supporting evidence, or alternative explanations for the evidence? (required)

Policies: These rules allow you and me to work together courteously and efficiently, so please read this page carefully. If you are ever in doubt or have a problem, please ask! I would much rather hear from you about an issue before it becomes a problem.

Very Obvious Things: Buy, rent, or photocopy the books and come prepared to discuss the day’s readings. Please check your Mercer email account daily. Don’t text in class. If your cell phone interrupts class, you owe the entire class a tasty snack, due the next class period.

Students get the most out of class when they attend class, read the day’s readings, and do the assigned work. Attendance is one part of your participation grade, and your final grade as a courtesy to those who attend regularly, students with nine or more absences (the equivalent of missing three weeks’ worth of class) will be assigned an F grade. Students who attend class without the day’s reading are counted as absent, and the same policy applies to them. If you anticipate being absent for any reason, please let me know as soon as possible. I would much rather work with you ahead of time than try to fix a major problem afterward.

On Turning In Papers: You need to use a computer for all written assignments unless otherwise noted. Please use 12-point font and staple or paperclip all pages together; each page should be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins all around, and with the proper page formatting for the citation style you are using. All papers must be spell-checked and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Final versions of Papers A, B, C, and D are due electronically on Blackboard by 11:59pm on the day they are due. I do not accept email attachments for credit (see below for more on this).

Late Papers: All assignments should be turned in at the beginning of class on the day that they are due. I do not accept late assignments. If you feel that your situation is exceptional, please talk to me about it before the due date. If you have printer problems, you can email me a copy of the paper before class to prove that you had it done, and then turn in a paper copy within 2 days for credit.

Honor Code: The Mercer University Honor Code governs all work in this course. Every assignment and test that you turn in for a grade must be your own work. Presenting someone else’s ideas, information, or writing as your own, whether it is intentional or unintentional, is considered plagiarism. Besides being a sign of low academic ability, it is dishonest and disrespectful to your instructor and to your fellow students. I will report any perceived violation of the Honor Code immediately to the Honor Council, without exception. If you are in doubt about your use of a particular source, please see me for help.

Office Hours: I have designated certain hours of the week as drop-in office hours (see front of syllabus for the specific days and times). Feel free to drop by during those times to talk with me about your work. If you can’t make those times, send me an email to schedule an appointment.

Preceptor: We are blessed to have James Foreman as our preceptor for this course. Darcy will be helping with class discussion and offering help with your writing assignments. He will meet with you at designated times and locations to help you with the pre-writing and reviewing processes for your papers in your class. He is also available to answer your questions or to discuss any writing problem you don’t feel comfortable asking me. Please make use of him! You can text him at 770-739-7245 or email him at

Academic Resource Center: The Academic Resource Center is located in Connell Student Center and offers tutoring for many different subjects including writing. They offer free drop-in tutoring Sunday-Thursday from 6:00-9:00pm. You can find out more about their other services at

Tarver Library: Nothing makes librarians happier than helping students with their research. Nothing! So please ask them for help. See for contact information. Please note that our librarians will now also check papers for correct citation style!

Students with Disabilities: Students requiring accommodations or modifications for a disability should inform the instructor at the close of the first class meeting or as soon as possible.  The instructor will refer you to the ACCESS and Accommodation Office to document your disability, determine eligibility for accommodations under the ADAAA/Section 504 and to request a Faculty Accommodation Form. Disability accommodations or status will not be indicated on academic transcripts.  In order to receive accommodations in a class, students with sensory, learning, psychological, physical or medical disabilities must provide their instructor with a Faculty Accommodation Form to sign.  Students must return the signed form to the ACCESS Coordinator.  A new form must be requested each semester.  Students with a history of a disability perceived as having a disability or with a current disability who does not wish to use academic accommodations are also strongly encouraged to register with the ACCESS and Accommodation Office and request a Faculty Accommodation Form each semester.  For further information, please contact Carole Burrowbridge, Director and ADA/504 Coordinator, at 301-2778 or visit the ACCESS and Accommodation Office website at

FERPA Disclaimer for Assessment:  The College of Liberal Arts is keenly interested in assuring the quality and integrity of its General Education Program. Every semester, randomly-selected students from each General Education course will be required to submit samples of their work to an independent and objective assessment by faculty. No personally identifiable information about any student will be used for the purposes of this assessment, and assessment results will have no bearing whatsoever on student grades.

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