WGSS 2215 Women Writers (Spring 2014)

WGSS 2215 Women Writers (Spring 2014)

WGSS 2215 Women Writers (Spring 2014)

Tue/Thu 2:20 pm-3:40 pm

McPherson Lab 1035

Instructor: (Brena) Yu-Chen Tai 戴宇呈(Please address me “Dear Brena” in e-mails.)

Office Hours: Tue 12:00 pm-2:00 pm or by appointment

Office: 037 UH (It’s in the basement of University Hall.)

E-mail: (E-mail is the best way to reach me.)

Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

If you need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, you should contact me to arrange an appointment as soon as possible. At the appointment we can discuss the course format, anticipate your needs and explore potential accommodations. I rely on the Office for Disability Service for assistance in verifying the need for accommodations and developing accommodation strategies. If you have not previously contacted the Office for Disability Services, I encourage you to do so. The Office for Disability Services is located in room 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Avenue (614-292-3307; 614-292-0901). The website: http://www.ods.ohio-state.edu

Course Goals

As a course that fulfills GE literature, this course helps students evaluate significant texts in order to develop capacities for aesthetic and historical response and judgment, interpretation and evaluation, and critical listening, reading, seeing, thinking, and writing. Through reading, discussing, and writing about literature, students appraise and evaluate the personal and social values of their own and other cultures.

Course Description

This course focuses on literary works written by women of color in theU.S. The primary texts cover different genres and narrative styles, such as poems, novels and personal narratives. The course includes a variety of topics and examines the ways in which women of color writers address cultural, social and political issues at the intersection of gender, race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and/or nationality. This course aims to provide a learning environment to practice more responsible and ethical ways of knowing differences, to bridge literary work with current issues and social movements in our time, and to imagine social justice collaboratively. Much of the learning in this course will be through written assignments, critical discussions, group presentations, analysis on the basis of individual and collective efforts and reflection on personal experiences.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will have gained:

1. Analytical skills for reading women of color literary texts through feminist lenses.

2. An understanding of how themes and theories in the work of women of color are related to the study of gender, race, class, culture, subjectivity and social change crucial to feminism.

3. Bridging skills between concepts, between texts, and between the personal and the societal.

4. A more ethical and responsible approach of knowing differences by recognizing one’s and others’ privilege, oppression, resistance and agency.

Questions for Consideration

When you read our course materials, you may want to keep the following questions in mind:

  1. What are the primary features of women of color literature?How do narrative styles reflect or contest the themes in women of color literature?
  2. How do we understand pain and healing in the writings of women of color writers?
  3. What suppressed or marginalized histories do women of color writers recover and rework? For what goals?
  4. How do women of color resist or subvert the hegemonic discourse on gender, race, sexuality, etc?
  5. How do the frameworks provided by U.S. women of colors enable us to ask important questions about power, agency, survival, intervention, resistance, and transformation?
  6. How are the theories and literary works of women of color useful to understand current social issues, debates and movements happening in our society and in our daily life?
  7. What alternative ways of knowing and alternative society do women of color writers propose and envision in their writings?
  8. Who are “Americans”? Whose nation is it in the geographical location now called theU.S.?
  9. What cultural, gender, class, sexual and racial bias do we have as readers when we try to understand the experiences and worldviews of women of color in their literary and theoretical works? What causes our baggage of knowing?


Academic Misconduct

As defined by University Rule 3335-31-02, plagiarism is the representation of another’s work or ideas as one’s own; it includes the unacknowledged word for word use and/ or paraphrasing of another person’s work, and/ or the inappropriate unacknowledged use of another person’s ideas. Plagiarism is one of the most serious offenses that can be committed in an academic community; as such, it is the obligation of this department and its instructors to report all cases of suspected plagiarism to the Committee on Academic Misconduct. After the report is filed, a hearing takes place and if the student is found guilty, the possible punishment ranges from failing the class to suspension or expulsion from the university. Although the existence of the Internet makes it relatively easy to plagiarize, it also makes it even easier for instructors to find evidence of plagiarism. It is obvious to most teachers when a student turns in work that is not his/her own and plagiarism search engines make documenting the offence very simple. To preserve the integrity of OSU as an institution of higher learning, to maintain your own integrity, and to avoid jeopardizing your future, DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!

Always cite your sources.

Always ask questions before you turn in an assignment if you are uncertain about what constitutes plagiarism.

Always see your instructor if you are having difficulty with an assignment.

General Rules

Reading materials: Read the assigned texts before each class and bring the readings to the class. You will be marked as absent if you don’t bring readings to the class.

Cell phones: No cell phone use in class. If you are waiting for an emergency call, please inform your instructor in advance. You will be marked as absent if you use cell phone in class without permission.

Class content: I am NOT responsible for what you miss in class during your absence. Please ask your cohorts if you are unable to attend class.

Grade: It is your responsibility to keep tracking whether your grades are correct on Carmen.

Ground Rules for Discussion

It is important that we recognize that we will have different opinions, backgrounds and experiences. In order for us all to gain the most from our time together in class, sharing our own perspectives and experiences as they relate to the readings will definitely come up and is encouraged.

Respectful listening: We may not always agree with one another, but we each deserve to be heard.

Compassion: Never forget there is a human being behind an opinion, and that we are all at different levels of growth, awareness and life experiences.

Confidentiality: When we share personal stories in the context of larger concepts, they become part of the classroom and should stay within the context. Confidentiality is any activity in our classroom.

Mistakes:We learn through sharing what doesn’t work and where things fall apart. We learn from mistakes to know what can work well.

Don’t deny your emotions: We will explore the issues of privileges, oppressions and probably some controversial issues in order to learn and practice a more ethical and responsible way of knowing differences. During the learning process, it is very normal to feel resistant, angry and uneasy at some point. Don’t deny the emotions but try to understand where they come from and how they can help us learn and transform.

Course Required Texts: Available in SBX and other OSU bookstores.

Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands: La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 3rd Ed. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2007. Print. (We are going to read only chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.)

Butler, Octavia. Kindred. Boston: Beacon P, 1979. Print.

Castillo, Ana. So Far from God. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993. Print.

Hogan, Linda. The Woman Who Watches Over the World. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001. Print.

Course Schedule

Your instructor reserves the right to change this schedule. If changes become necessary, they will be announced in class and will automatically become part of the course syllabus.

Articles with asterisk (*) are available in Carmen content area arranged by the week of discussion.

You’re not required to watch documentaries in advance. They will be shown in class.

1/7 (Tue) / Introduction to WGSS 2215
Breaking Silence, Coming to Voice
1/9 (Thu) / * “Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to 3rd World Women Writers”
1/14 (Tue) / Borderlands Ch5 “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”
* “Her Rites of Passage”
* “Elena”
Structures of Oppressions
1/16 (Thu) / * “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference”
* “Letter to Ma”
Syllabus quiz due in Carmen“Quiz” area by 1/16 (Thu) 2:20 pm
1/21 (Tue) / Video: Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible
*“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”
Find your midterm presentation group members in class
1/23 (Thu) / * “Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism”
* “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy”
Deconstructing Stereotypes
1/28 (Tue) / * “Undoing the ‘Package Picture’ of Cultures”
* “Asian Is Not Oriental”
* “I Am Not Your Princess”
1/30 (Thu) / * “The Story of My Body”
* “The Myth of Latin Woman”
2/4 (Tue) / Documentary: Made in L.A.
WOC connection/yearning paper due in class
So Far from God
2/6 (Thu) / So Far from GodCh1-Ch5
2/11 (Tue) / So Far from God Ch6-Ch11
2/13 (Thu) / So Far from God Ch12-End
2/18 (Tue) / Documentary: Precious Knowledge
2/20 (Thu) / The following readings are both from Borderlands:
Ch 1 “The Homeland, Aztlán”
Ch 2 “Movimientos de rebeldia y lasculturasquetraicionan”
2/25 (Tue) / The following readings are all from Borderlands:
Ch 3 “Entering the Serpent”
Ch 4 “La herencia de Coatlicue/The Coatlicue State”
Ch 7 “La conciencia de la mestiza/Towards a New Consciousness”
Individual written exam review list will be provided in class
Midterm Week
2/27 (Thu) / No Class-preparation for midterms
3/4 (Tue) / Midterm part 1: group bridging map presentation
3/6 (Thu) / Midterm part 2: individual written exam
Spring Break
3/11 (Tue) / No class-spring break
3/13 (Thu) / No class-spring break
3/18 (Tue) / Documentary: Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives
3/20 (Thu) / Kindred p1-107 (“Prologue” to “The Fall”)
3/25 (Tue) / Kindred p108-188 (“The Fight”)
3/27 (Thu) / Kindredp189-end (“The Storm” to “Epilogue”)
The Woman Who Watches Over the World
4/1 (Tue) / Documentary: Our Spirits Don’t Speak English
4/3 (Thu) / * “Race, Tribal Nation, and Gender: A Native Feminist Approach”
* “Where I Come from Is Like This”
4/8 (Tue) / The Woman Who Watches Over the Worldp1-67 (“Geography” to “Falling”)
4/10 (Thu) / The Woman Who Watches Over the Worldp68-112 (“Silence Is My Mother” to “Searching for My Mother”)
4/15 (Tue) / The Woman Who Watches Over the Worldp 113-end (“Fire” to “Phantom Worlds”)
Final Paper Writing
4/17 (Thu) / No class-Final Paper Writing
4/23 (Wed) / Final paper duein my mailbox in UH286 by 4/23 (Wed) noon at 12:00 pm.

Course Requirements and Guidelines

* Grading scale: 93-100 A 90-92 A- 87-89 B+ 83-86 B 80-82 B-

77-79 C+ 73-76 C 70-72 C- 67-69 D+ 60-66 D Below 60 E

* I DO NOT accept any late assignments unless unavoidable emergency happens to you. If that is the case, you must inform me as soon as possible so that I can do my best to accommodate your need. But I reserve the right not to extend any deadline. Please plan ahead and avoid doing your assignment at the last minute.

Course Requirement Overview:

Syllabus quiz (5%) / Midterm part 1: Group bridgingmappresentation (15%)
Class attendance and participation (20%) / Midterm part 2: Individual written exam (15%)
WOC connection/yearning paper (15%) / Final paper (30%)

Assignment Guidelines:

Syllabus quiz (5%) in Carmen “Quiz” area

By 1/16 (Thu) 2:20 pm, you are required to complete a syllabus quiz on Carmen. The syllabus quiz is to make sure that you read our syllabus thoroughly and carefully. You can repeat the quiz as many times as you want to get full points before the deadline.

Class Participation (20%)

What makes a literature-based class truly dynamic is the quality of its discussions. Though there will be some small lectures during the semester, most classes will be discussion based, with an emphasis on dialogue and sharing of perspectives, ideas, and interpretations. It is expected that you will be an active and informed participant in all class discussions and that you will have read assigned texts by the dates indicated on the syllabus and bring the assigned texts to the class. Students are expected to engage in respectful intellectual dialogue in the classroom. Active listening without speaking up and/or participating in small group activities is NOT enough to get an A for your final class participation grade. I expect you to voluntarily speak up at least once a week. If you do not attend more than half of the class sections (13 or more sections of absences), you will directly fail this course no matter whether you turn in other assignments or not. The rule doesn’t apply to absences due to disabilities but you need to provide your proof of disability verified by the Office of Disability Service at the beginning of the semester and relevant medical notes during the semester.

*Class participation will be entered only at the end of the semester.

Women of Color Connection/Yearning Paper (15%) due on 2/4 (Tue) in Class

You will write a 2½ to 3½double-spaced paper to critically reflect on how women of color enable or facilitate your life and/or how you yearn for women of color in your academic field by incorporating course materials. A more detailed writing prompt for this paper is available on Carmen.

Midterm Part 1: Group Bridging Map Presentation (15%) on 3/4 (Tue) in Class

Each group will be assigned a theme on 1/21 (Tue). As a group, you are required to connect at least five concepts/texts in the first 8 weeks as well as at least one current piece of news to draw a collective bridging concept map around your assigned theme. The presentation time for each group will be 12-15 minutes. More detailed guidelines are available on Carmen.

Midterm Part 2: Individual Written Exam (15%) on 3/6 (Thu) in Class

The individual written exam aims to test you whether you understand the important concepts covered in course materials in the first half of the course.This exam will cover all the materials discussed in the first eight weeks. Documentaries shown in class are also within the scope of the exam. Possible question types include true/false, multiple choices, matching, definitions, short answers and/or essay questions. A review list and a list of specific question types will be provided on 2/25 (Tue) in class.

Final paper (30%) due on 4/23 (Wed) Noon at 12:00 pm in My Mailbox in UH 286

The length of your final paper will be 4½ to 6½ double-spaced pages. A more detailed writing prompt for final paper isavailable on Carmen.There are two options for your final paper:

(1)Option 1 is to analyze one theme in depth through comparing and contrasting at least two primary textscovered in this course. One of the primary texts must be Kindred or The Woman Who Watches Over the World.

(2)Option 2 asks you to think critically of women of color’s oppression as well as creatively of what you can do for the larger project of social justice in your academic field or in your future career. You will use 2/3 of your paper to analyze women of color’s oppression in Kindred and/or The Woman Who Watches Over the World. The remaining 1/3 of your paper will be your creative proposal to alleviate the suffering associated with the oppression you have analyzed.

General Paper Requirements:

  1. Paper with an argument: Your papers should not merely repeat class discussion or consist of plot summaries. Your papers should argue a thesis from a definite position about the literary texts we are covering.
  2. Rubrics: Grading rubrics will be provided in each paper writing prompt. As part of the paper writing process, students are expected to develop their editing and critical thinking skills. Students are also expected to review the rubrics for each paper prompt to ensure they are meeting all of the criteria for the writing assignments.
  3. Paper format: All papers are expected to be typed, double-spaced, with 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margin on each side.
  4. MLA: All papers must adhere to the standard MLA research paper format and should include in-text citations as well as a works cited page. Examples of citations:

Book: Last name, first name. Title. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Medium of Publication.

Anthology: Last name, first name. “Title of Essay.” Title of Collection. Ed. Editor’s Name(s). Place of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of Publication.

Journal article: Last name, first name. “Title of article.” Title of Journal volume: issue (Year): pages. Medium of publication.

  1. Writing resources:

Your instructor: Please feel free to contact me at any time over the course of the semester if you are struggling with papers, course work, etc. I am willing to work with you. Email is the best way to reach me. I will respond to your e-mail normally within 24-hour on weekdays. I also encourage you to attend my office hours.

The OSU Writing Center: OSU Writing Center consultants are an excellent resource for writers at any level or stage in the writing process. Take advantage of the free individual tutoring that you can receive there. The Writing Center is located in 485 Mendenhall Laboratory, on the south side of the Oval. Phone: 614-688-4291. Website: http://ctsw.osu.edu

Purdue OWL website: http://owl.english.purdue.edu