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Women, Gender, Feminism: An Introduction

FEM 1100 B


Dr. Mythili Rajiva

Fall 2019






Class schedule: Mondays 10 a.m.-11:20 a.m.

Wednesdays 8:30 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.

Building and room: 100 Louis Pasteur (CRX) C140




Professor’s office hours: Wednesdays 10:00 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.


Office: FSS 11038.


Phone number: 562-5800 ext.8848







Any questions sent by email should receive a response within two business days or during the following class if taken place within the 48 hours following receipt of the email. Note that the professor reserves the right not to answer an email if the level of language used is inadequate.






Interdisciplinary approach to women and to the intersection of social relations of gender, race, class, sexuality and disability in Canadian and global contexts. Introduction to basic conceptual debates in Women’s Studies and to feminist theoretical positions. Development of critical analytical skills.




This course introduces you to the interdisciplinary field of women’s studies and the questions it raises about society, culture and politics. Using the framework of feminist theories of intersectionality, this class centers an analysis of gender that remains attentive to the ways that it is bound up with race, sexuality, class and disability, and how identities both shape and are shaped by their cultural context.


Topics for this class include culture, language and representation, socialization, sexuality, bodies, violence against women and social change.









The required Textbook, Gender and Women’s Studies in Canada: Critical Terrain (second edition) can be purchased from Octopus Books at 116 Third Ave, (613) 233-2589.




All Powerpoint lectures will be posted on Brightspace prior to each week’s class.




All the readings in the course are required. You should come to each class ready to discuss the readings.


If you feel there is a problem with your grade on one of the assignments, you must write one paragraph explaining the error. Then, please hand in your paragraph of explanation in addition to the original assignment to your TA for grade reconsideration. You must allow at least one week for grade reconsideration. Re-grading can only be done by this method. Please do not approach the TAs or professor during class times to discuss grade changes. Once one week has passed after you have turned in your paragraph and the original assignment, you can make an appointment with your TA to discuss your grade. Grade changes cannot be discussed over email.


Assignments may not be emailed. Due to the large number of students, they must be handed in during class.


This syllabus may change, so it is important that you attend class regularly as you are responsible for all updates.



Please note that there will be no incompletes or extensions given in this class without a medical emergency.




Mid-Term: Weight: 40% Date – OCTOBER 9

Final Assignment: Weight: 20% Date – NOVEMBER 20

Final Exam: Weight: 40% Date: Formal Exam Period (Final exam is NOT cumulative. It will only cover material taught AFTER the second in-class exam)



Policy on class attendance, language quality and late submissions


Class attendance is necessary to successfully complete this course.

You will also be judged on your writing abilities. It is recommended to take the appropriate measures to avoid mistakes such as spelling, syntax, punctuation, inappropriate use of terms, etc. You may be penalized up to 15%, to the professor’s discretion.

Late submissions are not tolerated. Exceptions are made only for illness or other serious situations deemed as such by the professor. There will be a penalty for late submissions. University regulations require all absences from exams and all late submissions due to illness to be supported by a medical certificate.

Students who are excused for missing an exam will be required to write a deferred exam, except where the professor offers a re-weighting scheme which applies to the student’s case. Professors may decline to offer a deferred exam and instead re-weight the remaining pieces of work only if (i) the re-weighted scheme is indicated on the syllabus and (ii) it respects both the 25 percent rule (Academic Regulation 9.0) and the final exam rule.

DFR forms must be completed for both midterms and final exams. The form can be obtained at . Once completed, the form with supporting documentation (ex. medical certificate) will automatically be sent to the academic unit which offers the course. The request must be completed within five working days of the exam and must respect all the conditions of Academic Regulation I9.5 ( ). 

Absence for any other serious reason must be justified in writing, to the academic assistants of the Faculty, within five business days following the date of the exam or submission of an assignment. The Faculty reserves the right to accept or refuse the reason. Reasons such as travel, jobs, or any misreading of the examination timetable are not acceptable.




A penalty of 5% will be given for each subsequent calendar day following the due date. This goes for assignments submitted through e-mail as well, and, in this case, the time that the e-mail was received will be counted as the time of submission of the document.

We suggest that you advise your professor as early as possible if a religious holiday or a religious event will force you to be absent during an evaluation.





The University of Ottawa does not tolerate any form of sexual violence. Sexual violence refers to any act of a sexual nature committed without consent, such as rape, sexual harassment or online harassment. The University, as well as student and employee associations, offers a full range of resources and services allowing members of our community to receive information and confidential assistance and providing for a procedure to report an incident or make a complaint. For more information, visit






Week 1 –Wednesday, September 4: Introduction


Week 2 –Monday, September 9, Wednesday, September 11: This is what a feminist looks like

Chapter 4. Estelle Friedman. “The historical case for feminism.”

Chapter 5. Shira Tarrant. “This is what a feminist looks like.”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 1: Roxane Gay. “Bad feminist manifesto.”


Week 3 –Monday, September 16, Wednesday, September 18: Diversity & Intersectionality

Chapter 8. CRIAW. “Intersectional feminist frameworks: a primer.”

Chapter 9. Neita Kay Israelite and Karen Swartz. “Reformulating the feminist perspective: giving voices to women with disabilities.”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 6. Activist Insight: Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)


Week 4 – Monday, September 23, Wednesday, September 25: Gender Construction and Performativity

Snapshots and Soundwaves 12: Understanding masculinities: the work of Raewyn Connell.

Snapshots and Soundwaves 13: Jackson Katz and Jeremy Earp. “It’s the masculinity, stupid!”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 14: A. Finn Enke. “Transfeminist terms and concepts.”


Week 5 – Monday, September 30, Wednesday, October 2: The construction of Sexuality

Chapter 23. Michael A. Messner. “Becoming 100% straight.”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 16. Martin Rochlin. “The heterosexual questionnaire.”


Week 6 – Monday, October 7 Thinking about difference and identity


Chapter 27. Stuart Hall. “Stereotyping as a signifying practice.”


Snapshots and Soundwaves 19: Mia McKenzie. “How to know if you’re white.”



Wednesday, October 9:



Week 7 – Monday, October 14, Wednesday, October 16: READING WEEK. CLASSES CANCELLED. OFFICE HOURS CANCELLED.


Week 8 – Monday, October 21, Wednesday, October 23: Histories and Legacies of Colonialism and Imperialism + Indigenous Women: Resistance and Resurgence

Chapter 31. Afua Cooper. “The secret of slavery in Canada.”


Chapter 33. Kim Anderson. “The construction of a negative identity.”

Chapter 38. Chrystos. “I am not your princess.”


Week 9 – Monday, October 28, Wednesday, October 30 : In-class writing tutorial + Gender Violence

Chapter 56. Jane Doe. “The ultimate rape victim.”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 36: “Murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls, (FAFIA).”


Week 10 – Monday, November 4, Gender Violence

Supplement 35. Jackson Katz. “Ten things men can do to prevent gender violence.”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 37. Catherine Taylor and Tracey Peter. “Every class in every school.”


Week 10 – Wednesday, November 6: Cultural Representation and the Creation of Desire

Snapshots and Soundwaves. Sharon Lamb, Lyn Mikel Brown, and Peggy Orenstein. “Gender Play: Marketing to girls.”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 26: Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown. “Disney’s version of girlhood.”


Week 11: Monday, November 11, Wednesday, November 13: Beauty projects: conformity and resistance

Chapter 45. Carla Rice. “Through the mirror of beauty culture.”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 30: Activist Insight: “Intersectional body activism.”

Chapter 46. Francine Odette. “Body beautiful/Body perfect: where do women with disabilities fit in?”


Week 12 – Monday, November 18, Wednesday, November 20 Organizing for Change

Chapter 75: Zane Schwartz and Janaya Khan. “How a Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder sees Canada.”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 44: Kai Cheng Thom. “9 ways we can make social justice movements less elitist and more accessible.”

Snapshots and Soundwaves 46: Activist insight: Angela Y. Davis. “This country’s history cannot be deleted.”

FINAL ASSIGNMENT DUE Wednesday November 20


Week 13 – Monday, November 25, Wednesday, November 27: Catch up and review session


Week 14: Monday, December 2: Class cancelled, unless needed.


Final Assignment – Due November 20

Letter of Praise and/or Protest (This assignment has been reproduced, with permission, from the Syllabus of Dr. Corrie Scott, IFGS)


1. For your Final Assignment, you are asked to write a letter of “Praise and/or Protest” to an individual, organization, political leader, or corporation, concerning an issue that is relevant to gender, feminism and/or women’s studies.


2. Letters should be 3-4 pages double spaced, NOT including cover page or bibliography. 12 point font.


3. You are required to offer a scholarly consideration of an issue based on any ONE of the weeks in the course syllabus. Please choose a topic/set of readings covered in the course outline. NO outside topics will be permitted (to avoid plagiarism). Any topic from the outline can be chosen, along with ALL the readings for that week. You must also use ALL the readings from that week, NOT selective readings. But you don’t have to use them equally. And you are welcome to draw upon other class readings as long as you have included all the readings from that week.


4. Your letter must draw from and cite ALL class readings from the week you chose. You can use additional sources (scholarly and non) if you wish.


5. Please include a works cited page and format your references using an APA style guide.


6. Your writing should demonstrate a significant engagement with the concepts and themes covered in the week you chose.


7. The assignment should be well-written, coherent and with attention to grammar, spelling and sentence structure. It should be typed (not handwritten). It MUST be submitted in class, not electronically.


8. The letter can be submitted in the format of your choice, so be creative. It is advisable to check with myself or a TA, if you are unsure about the format or the appropriateness of your creative expression.



You must, however:


1. Identify the issue you are addressing in the letter and explain why you are sending it to this particular recipient.


2. Provide necessary background information about the topic you have chosen (eg. statistics, theoretical concepts, historical overview).


3. Make an argument about the topic you have chosen—why should the person, organization or institution that you are writing to agree with you or be persuaded by your position or analysis?



1. You could write a letter of praise and/or protest to:

• A political leader (your Member of Parliament, mayor, city councillor)

• The Secretary General of the United Nations

• A corporation, university, government or NGO

• An individual person (a family member, a celebrity)

• A newspaper (letter to the editor)

• An author or public intellectual


**After you have received and incorporated feedback on your assignment, you are encouraged to consider mailing your letter to the intended organization or recipient, if appropriate.


Checklist: Be sure to ask yourself the following questions, as marks could be deducted:


· Do you clearly explain why you chose this topic, what week it matches, and why you chose to send the letter to this particular recipient?

· Does the letter clearly articulate the issue it addresses?

· Does the letter draw from and cite class readings from the week you chose?

· Do you effectively use key concepts from the week that you chose in your letter?

· Does the letter provide adequate background information about the issues?

· Does the letter make a compelling and thoughtful argument concerning the issue it


· Is your letter interesting, original and/or does it demonstrate personal reflection?

· Has the letter been proof-read?


All papers submitted should meet the following requirements:

• Paper must have the title, date submitted, student name, student number, course code, and professor’s name as a COVER page

• Double spaced, standard font size (12) and margins, double-sided printing if available

• Appropriately referenced using APA format

• Submitted in hard copy at the beginning of class that it is due. I will not accept email copies.

Resources for you


Faculty Mentoring Centre –

The goal of the Mentoring Centre is to help students with their academic and social well-being during their time at the University of Ottawa. Regardless of where a student stands academically, or how far along they are in completing their degree, the Mentoring Centre is there to help students continue on their path to success.

A student may choose to visit the Mentoring Centre for very different reasons. Younger students may wish to talk to their older peers to gain insight into programs and services offered by the University, while older student may simply want to brush up on study and time management skills or learn about programs and services for students nearing the end of their degree.

In all, the Mentoring Centre offers a place for students to talk about concerns and problems that they might have in any facet of their lives. While students are able to voice their concerns and problems without fear of judgment, mentors can garner further insight in issues unique to students and find a more practical solution to better improve the services that the Faculty of Social Sciences offers, as well as the services offered by the University of Ottawa.


Academic Writing Help Centre –

At the AWHC you will learn how to identify, correct and ultimately avoid errors in your writing and become an autonomous writer. In working with our Writing Advisors, you will be able to acquire the abilities, strategies and writing tools that will enable you to:

· Master the written language of your choice

· Expand your critical thinking abilities

· Develop your argumentation skills

· Learn what the expectations are for academic writing


Counselling and Coaching –

There are many reasons to take advantage of the Counselling Service. We offer:

· Personal counselling

· Career counselling

· Study skills counselling


Human Rights Office –


To provide leadership in the creation, implementation and evaluation of policies, procedures and practices on diversity, inclusion, equity, accessibility and the prevention of harassment and discrimination.


Contact information:

1 Stewart St. (Main Floor – Room 121) – Tel.: 613-562-5222 / Email:


Academic Accommodations –

The University has always strived to meet the needs of individuals with learning disabilities or with other temporary or permanent functional disabilities (hearing/visual impairments, sustained health issues, mental health problems), and the campus community works collaboratively so that you can develop and maintain your autonomy, as well as reach your full potential throughout your studies. You can call on a wide range of services and resources, all provided with expertise, professionalism and confidentiality.

If barriers are preventing you from integrating into university life and you need adaptive measures to progress (physical setting, arrangements for exams, learning strategies, etc.), contact the Access Service right away:

· in person in our office

· online

· by phone at 613-562-5976

Deadlines for submitting requests for adaptive measures during exams

· midterms, tests, deferred exams: seven business days before the exam, test or other written evaluation (excluding the day of the exam itself

· final exams:

· November 15 for the fall session

· March 15 for the winter session

· Seven business days before the date of the exam for the spring/summer session (excluding the day of the exam itself).


Career Development Centre –

Career Development Centre offers various services and resources in career development to enable you to recognize and enhance the employability skills you need in today’s world of work.


Student resources centres –

The Student Resources Centres aim to fulfill all sorts of student needs.



Beware of Academic Fraud!

Academic fraud is an act committed by a student to distort the marking of assignments, tests, examinations, and other forms of academic evaluation. Academic fraud is neither accepted nor tolerated by the University. Anyone found guilty of academic fraud is liable to severe academic sanctions.

Here are a few examples of academic fraud:

· engaging in any form of plagiarism or cheating;

· presenting falsified research data;

· handing in an assignment that was not authored, in whole or in part, by the student;

· submitting the same assignment in more than one course, without the written consent of the professors concerned.

In recent years, the development of the Internet has made it much easier to identify academic plagiarism. The tools available to your professors allow them to trace the exact origin of a text on the Web, using just a few words.

In cases where students are unsure whether they are at fault, it is their responsibility to consult the “Writing and Style Guide for University Papers and Assignments.” It can be found at:

Persons who have committed or attempted to commit (or have been accomplices to) academic fraud will be penalized. Here are some examples of the academic sanctions, which can be imposed:

· a grade of “F” for the assignment or course in question;

· an additional program requirement of between 3 and 30 credits;

· suspension or expulsion from the Faculty.

For more information, refer to the Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity:

and Academic Integrity Website (Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost)



Additional Information


Classroom Etiquette and Respect


We all depend on a climate of mutual respect and engagement to make this a productive and exciting intellectual environment. Please respect these basic guidelines.


· Electronic devices: Students are required to turn off all electronic devices such as cell phones, ipods, and blackberrys. If you need your cell phone on because you have children or need to remain in contact with someone because of a medical emergency, please inform the professor at the beginning of the class and please leave the cell phone on vibrate. Students who consult non-course related content on laptops or PDAs during class will be asked to leave.


· Class discussions: please respect your fellow students by listening attentively during classroom discussions and lectures. Students talking repeatedly during lectures will be asked to leave. Racist, sexist, homophobic or other discriminatory remarks will not be tolerated. I ask that kindness and respect inform your participation in class.


· Class times: Students who come late to class or leave early disrupt both the flow of discussion and the lectures. Please respect class times and if you decide to leave class early, please do so ONLY at the set break times. If you have to leave class early due to a medical situation, please inform the professor or one of the TAs.


· Contact: If you have questions about the class or assignments:

· First – read the syllabus. Your question may be answered there. Second – ask your classmates or contact one of the TAs. Third– you are always welcome to discuss class content or assignments with me in person during office hours. You do not need an appointment during office hours


· IN CASE OF EMERGENCY – please leave me a voice message.



· No perfumes of scents of any kind can be worn in class. Some people have a disability known as multiple chemical sensitivity, and scents can make them unable to attend class. Please wear no perfumes or scented lotions of any kind to my class.


 Plagiarism and Academic Fraud. Please note that the University of Ottawa has a very strict policy on plagiarism and academic fraud. If you are found guilty of either, the University can give you an F for the course, assign additional credit hours on top of your degree requirements, and/or expel you from the University and note the reason on your transcript. Please read the University policy on academic fraud included with the course material and ask me if there is anything you do not understand or consult . Any students caught cheating will be asked to leave and will have their cases referred to the Faculty.


 Deadlines for Assignments. Assignments will lose 5% per day if they are late (a weekend will count as two days). Assignments more than 5 days late will not be accepted.

· Exceptions to this policy will be granted only in the case of documented medical or documented personal emergencies. In this case, please contact me as soon as you know you may not be able to get your assignment in on time.

· Absence from an examination due to illness must be justified by a letter from the University Health Services.


· Counseling and Study Resources. This course will be dealing with some very difficult issues such as violence against women, sexual assault, homophobia, racism and sexism. If you are struggling with any of these issues and need support, please consider these resources:

· University of Ottawa Women’s Resource Center: – 613-562-5755, , UCU 220 beside Tim Horton’s. Confidential peer support, access to community resources, feminist library, events and positive space for women and transpeople.

· Pink Triangle Services Ottawa (LGBTQ support)

· Ottawa Rape Crisis Center: crisis line: 613 562-2333,

· The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa support line 613 234-2266

· White Ribbon Campaign (Men working to end men’s violence against women)

· Minwaashin Lodge: 613 741-5590 , support for First Nations, Inuit and Metis women and children.

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