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ENGLISH 261: WOMENS LITERATURE

Syllabus, Spring Quarter 2015


9:15AM-10:30aM | Room 1855A
Cara N. Stoddard
carast@bigbend.edu | Office # 1618
Office Hours: 8:00-9:00AM or by appointment after 2:15PM Mon-Thurs

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course aims to study womens unique literary voice as a reflection of their history, their place in society, and their role in a
changing world. In this survey literature course we will read fiction, memoirs, and poetry written by prominent women authors that
take on topics of womens health care, reproductive rights, motherhood, women in the workplace, domestic violence, body image,
gender performativity, and sexuality / gender identity. Emphasis is on the development of critical thinking skills through a series of
papers and projects that draw into question the development of differences between the sexes, the acquisition of gender roles, and
the maintenance of gender stereotypes.
One is not born a woman. One becomes one. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

LEARNING OUTCOMES:
By the end of the course, you should be very good at doing the following:
1. Distinguish between main plot points and minor details in literature written by women
2. Use textual, critical, social or historical analysis to identify main themes and significant passages in literature written by
women and how those themes relate to current social or political issues
3. Construct a working definition of feminism and distinguish between first-wave, second-wave, and third-wave feministthinking as well as trace the changes throughout history in mainstream reception of the feminist movement
4. Identify and critique conventional gender roles and stereotypes as well as the gender binary
5. Identify literary devices and analyze their effect on readers
6. Classify a variety human experiences/narratives according to the appropriate cultural and historical contexts with the goal
of speaking and writing with a nuanced sensitivity to multiculturalism
7. Develop a central claim (thesis) in response to a literary text and support/illustrate that thesis clearly and logically
8. Situate original ideas as related to, but clearly distinguished from, the ideas of critics (including the ability to paraphrase,
summarize, and correctly cite and document borrowed source material) and recognize their place as a participant in an
academic conversation about a particular text.
9. Accurately proofread your own writing in order to produce writing that maintains the conventions of published English
10. Develop and improve habits of lifetime literacy
Of course, I expect that you are able to carry out some of these tasks already.

REQUIRED BOOKS:
The Bean Trees, 1988
By: Barbara Kingsolver
ISBN # 978-0061097317

The Cancer Journals, 1980


By: Audre Lorde
ISBN# 978-1879960732

Week 1

COURSE TRAJECTORY:
Mon March 30Intros
Tues March 31The Bean Trees Ch. 1 The One to Get Away
Wed April 1The Bean Trees Ch. 2 New Years Pig
Thurs April 2 The Bean Trees Ch. 3 Jesus Is Lord Used Tires (meet in 1802)

Week 2

Mon April 6The Bean Trees Ch. 4 Tug Fork Water & Ch. 5 Harmonious Space
Tues April 7The Bean Trees Ch. 6 Valentines Day
Wed April 8The Bean Trees Ch. 7 How They Eat in Heaven
Thurs April 9The Bean Trees Ch. 8 The Miracle of Dog Doo Park

Week 3

Motherhood

Film: Waitress, 2007, Jenna is a pregnant, unhappily married waitress in the deep south. She meets a newcomer to her town and falls
into an unlikely relationship as a last attempt at happiness (IMDb). TBA

Mon April 13The Bean Trees Ch. 9 Ismene & Ch. 10 The Bean Trees
Tues April 14The Bean Trees Ch. 11 Dream Angels & Ch. 12 Into the Terrible Night
Wed April 15The Bean Trees Ch. 13 Night Blooming Cereus
Thurs April 16The Bean Trees Ch. 14 Guardian Saints

Week 5

Mon April 20The Bean Trees Ch. 15 Lake O the Cherokees, Ch. 16 Soundness of Mind and Freedom of Will, & Ch. 17 Rhizobia
Tues April 21The Mommy Wars (selected readings)
Wed April 22The Mommy Wars cont.
Thurs April 23The Mommy Wars cont.
Mon April 27Essay 1 due; Exam 1 (in-class)
Tues April 28 Intro to childrens books & the portrayal of female stereotypes project
Wed April 29Genesis 1-3 (meet in 1802)
Thurs April 30Jean M. Higgins The Myth of Eve: The Temptress; Lucy Andertons Eves Sestina for Adam

Week 6

Mon May 4Medusa readings (TBA)


Tues May 5Sigmund Freuds Medusas Head; excerpt from Helene Cixous The Laugh of the Medusa;
Wed May 6Patricia Smiths Medusa; Robert Lowells Florence
Thurs May 7Jhumpa Lahiris Sexy

Week 7

Film: Boyhood, 2014, a coming-of-age drama that was shot over a 12-year period. Features a single-moms struggle with domestic abuse
and her resilience for the sake of her son and daughter. TBA

Mon May 11Childrens book project due; Jhumpa Lahiris Sexy(cont.)


Tues May 12Emma Watsons UN Speech Sept. 2014 & follow up Q&A March 2015
Wed May 13Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies TedxTalk We Should All Be Feminists & Beyonces Flawless(meet in 1802)
Thurs May 14Lorde Poems

Week 9

Week 8

Film: If These Walls Could Talk, 1996, a made-for-TV movie featuring three generations of women and their decisions to get an abortion.
TBA

Week 10

Gender as
Performative

The Female Body: Illness and Violence

The Myth of Eve, The Myth of Medusa

Week 4

Film: Fort Bliss, 2014, After returning home from an extended tour in Afghanistan, a decorated U.S. Army medic and single mother
struggles to rebuild her relationship with her young son (IMDb). TBA

Mon May 18 Song lyric project due; presentations


Tues May 19The Cancer Journals Intro & Ch. 1 The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action
Wed May 20The Cancer Journals Ch. 2 Breast Cancer: A Black Lesbian Feminist Experience
Thurs May 21The Cancer Journals Ch. 3 Power vs. Prosthesis
Mon May 25No School, Memorial Day
Tues May 26Hasan Al-Zubi, Autopathology and Audre Lordes The Cancer Journals as a Narrative of Illness: Revising the Script of
Disease
Wed May 27Roxane Gay What We Hunger For & Reaching for Catharsis
Thurs May 28Essay 2 due, Exam 2 (in-class)
Film: The Last Summer of La Boyita, 2009, an Argentinean film featuring 9-year-old Jorgelina who chooses to travel to spend the
summer with her father on a ranch rather than go to the beach with her mother and boy-crazy sister. TBA
Mon June 1Elizabeth Bradfield Poems
Tues June 2Gloria Anzaldua excerpts from Borderlands / La Frontera
Wed June 3Judith Butler excerpt from Gender Trouble
Thurs June 4 Kumin & Andrea Gibson Poems (meet in 1802)

Week 11

Mon June 8Ivan Coyote & Rae Spoon excerpts from Gender Failure
Tues June 9Aint I a Woman Sojouner Truth & Laverne Cox
Wed June 10Essay 3 due, midnight

IMPORTANT DEADLINES:
Thursday, April 2
LAST DAY TO ADD A CLASS
Monday, April 27
Essay 1 Due @ 9:15AM
Monday, April 27
Exam 1 (The Bean Trees)
Monday, May 11
Childrens Book Project Due @ 9:15
Monday, May 18
Song Lyric Project Due @ 9:15
Tuesday, May 26
LAST DAY TO DROP A CLASS
Thursday, May 28
Essay 2 Due @ 9:15
Thursday, May 28
Exam 2 (Eve, Medusa, & The Cancer Journals)
Wednesday, June 10
Essay 3 Due @ midnight
**All writing assignments are to be typed and correctly formatted according to MLA standards (see the Purdue OWL
website for details) & turned in on time. Late work is subject to a grade penalty (5 points per class period).
Note: Because of the extensive and time-consuming nature of the comments I make on each student essay I read, I usually take 2
weeks (8 class periods) to grade and return essays. So thank you in advance for your patience. If you have questions on a draft
while you wait for formal feedback, dont hesitate to come by my office during office hours (or email me a time) and we can look
through your essay together. Due to grade deadlines, I cannot accept your Essay 3 after Thursday, June 11 at midnight. Anything
submitted after Thursday, June 11 at midnight will receive a zero.

PARTICIPATION:
This is a small, discussion-based class and your daily contributions are essential in order for this class to be lively, engaging, and
worth the effort. Therefore, I will be keeping track of who contributes each day and the nature of those contributions. You will
receive a grade, out of 10, in each unit for your participation. Students who comment daily on the discussion in response to other
students will receive, at most, an 8 out of 10. Students who initiate discussion by pointing us to a particular passage (w/ page
number) from the text will receive a 10 out of 10. Students who do not contribute regularly will receive a 0. I understand that not
everyones personality is the samenot everyone is outspoken or gregariousand I value those differences, but in order to be fully
engaged in response to literature, you need to be an active participant in your learning, and, for this class, that active participation
involves articulating your interpretations of a text (out loud) on a daily basis. Please see me if you have any questions or concerns
about your participation grade.
A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go
together. Margaret Atwood

ATTENDANCE:
Attendance in English 261 is mandatory. More than eight absences (two weeks) from class is grounds for failing the course. After 5
absences, your grade will be negatively affected. Anywhere from 6-8 absences will result in a 10% deduction from your overall
score in the class. 9 or more absences equals an F (0.0) in the course. Thus, plan for unforeseen illnesses or travel plans later in the
quarter. Only absences for bereavement, hospitalization, or previously scheduled college Sponsored Events or Activities (see
Student Handbook for definition) are considered excused absences. Whenever possible, please notify me before the excused
absence to be sure to get any handouts you might miss in class. Every other kind of absence including car trouble, illnesses and
doctors appointments, and being called into cover a co-workers shift at work is considered unexcused and counts toward your
eight allowed absences.
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In the case of a personal or family emergency, please be in contact with me via email about the situation, and I will do my best to
accommodate you. In the case of bereavement leave or a mental/physical health emergency for you or one of your dependents
requiring you miss more than one day in a row, you will be expected to keep up with your coursework via Canvas. Arrangements
will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Being in attendance means being physically present, awake, coherent, and fully prepared for class with the readings completed. If
you do not meet all of these conditions you will be marked absent for the day and, in some cases, will be asked to leave. Coming in
more than 10 minutes late, leaving early, and inappropriate use of cell phones, laptops, or tablets in class will result in an unexcused
absence. You are responsible for making up all of the work that you missed during an absence. Please see me during office hours or
schedule an appointment before the next scheduled class.

LATE WORK:
Homework and essays are due at the beginning of class. I do not accept late homework. You will receive a zero on the assignment if
you do not have it with you or submitted on Canvas by the time class starts on the day it is due. The one exception to this no late
work policy is when using your Stuff Happens coupon distributed on the first day of class. You may only use this coupon once per
quarter, and it is only applicable on homework assignments (not on essay drafts or in-class quizzes). This coupon allows you to turn
in the assignment one class period late; however, you still must complete the assignment in order to get the points. For the four
major essays in this course, I strongly discourage you from submitting them late, as I deduct 5 points per day for late essays.

A late Essay will be graded as follows:


Within 24 hours = 10% point reduction (5 points)
2 days late = 20% reduction (10 points)
3 or more days late = 30% reduction (15 points)

COURSE ETIQUETTE:
Classroom citizenship. The classroom is a learning community. Any behavior that disrupts this community will not be tolerated. This
includes speaking to other students while I am talking, sleeping in class, passing notes, being rude or belligerent to me or other
students, etc. This is a discussion-based course, and I expect you to treat each other with dignity and respect. We may be discussing
sensitive topics and reading each others personal writing in this course. Please be considerate of others ideas and beliefs and do
not discuss the content of others papers with students outside of this class. In accordance with Big Bends Discrimination Policy,
disrespect or discrimination towards students based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, citizen status, sex, disability, sexual
orientation, gender identity or chosen gender, veteran status, age, or religion will not be tolerated. If you feel your well-being is
being jeopardized or you have observed someone else being treated disrespectfully, please come speak to me about it privately
after class or during my office hours.
Readings. In accordance with Big Bends mission statement to encourage multiculturalism, this class has been intentionally designed
to include contemporary womens literature that represents a diverse set of cultures and peoples. In this class we may discuss, read,
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write about, or view texts that you disagree with or find offensive. Such texts are not necessarily condoned, but rather used to
prompt discussion and explore ideas that may be outside of our individual preferences and comfort levels. In this college classroom
you are required to engage maturely and academically with all texts, regardless of their content or rating. Please email or see me
privately during office hours if you have any questions about this policy.

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Technology. In order to promote habits and skill-sets unique to scholars of the 21 century, this course has a heavy emphasis on the
use of technology. You will be expected to check our Canvas page every day for a detailed description of the homework, and you
will be submitting your homework and essays on Canvas and receiving important margin notes and feedback on your writing from
your instructor on Canvas. It is my expectation that you purchase and use Microsoft Word for all typed assignments in this class. If
you cannot get Word on your personal or home computer, you will need to schedule at least an hour per day and several hours over
the weekends to spend on campus using the computers in the library.
There will be some direct instruction on using the technology required to do well in this class, but if you find you are struggling with
the technology component of the coursework, please do not hesitate to seek help. I am available during office hours or by
appointment to help with tech support, or you can be in contact with the e-learning librarians Zach Wellhouse
(zachw@bigbend.edu) or Tim Fuhrman (timf@bigbend.edu) in the library for additional support.
Having said that, more often than not, during class time, technological devices serve as distractions to you and the people around
you, so please silence and put away your phones at the start of class. There will certainly be exceptions to this rule, when I will allow
you, even encourage you, to use your smart phone or device in class, but I will notify you when it is appropriate to take out your
phone. Texting, taking calls, and checking the time on your cell phone is not permitted in class. Unless you have been given explicit
permission to use your laptop in class, all laptops should be shut and stowed away. Any use of technology in class, including
receiving audible texts or calls, will result in an unexcused absence for that day.

PLAGIARISM:
I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that you will do honest work and that you will work with me on improving
writing that is your own. But plagiarism is a serious matter, and incidents of it have been on the rise both at Big Bend and nationally.
So I feel that it is important to explain what the consequences are.
The two basic kinds of plagiarism:
1. Malicious or intentional. This is the most serious kind of academic theft. It involves using someone elses work as your own,
directly copying from a source without using quotation marks or citations, rephrasing and summarizing without citations,
submitting someone elses paper as your own, or re-submitting your own work from a different quarter or different course.
2. Plagia-phrasing or mosaic plagiarism. This is when, in one paragraph or passage of your essay, you use a paraphrase that
has too many of the same words as the wording from an outside text. Even if you cite your texts as a general sources at the
end of the essay in a Works Cited, this is still considered plagiarism because, in the act of trying to re-word the passage into
your own words, you ended up relying too heavily on someone elses ideas and wording. This kind of plagiarism also
involves integrating source material (as a quote or a paraphrase) without citing your source in the sentences / paragraphs
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themselves (in other words you are missing the in-text citation). Even if several different sources were copied or combined,
it is still plagiarism.
The consequences of plagiarism:
If an essay involves plagiarism of the first kind (malicious or intentional) you will receive a 0 on the assignment and will be required
to come to my office hours to discuss the matter and practice proper in-text citations. You will not be able to re-submit essays that
involve malicious or intentional plagiarism for partial credit, even on a first offense.
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If an essay involves plagiarism of the first kind (malicious or intentional), even on a 1 offense, you will receive a zero on the
assignment and will not have an opportunity to re-write that assignment. I am empowered by the Student Code of Conduct to assign
a grade of F for the course, a penalty that may be imposed in particularly serious cases and I will also make a complaint to the Vice
President of Student Services, who is responsible for enforcing the regulations in the Student Code of Conduct.
If an essay involves plagiarism of the second kind (mosaic plagiarism with missing in-text citations) you will be required to come to
my office hours to work on accurately summarizing and using in-text citations. Then you will have 24 hours from this meeting to
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rewrite and re-submit the paper using correct forms of documentation in order to receive credit (1 offense only). If a problem with
plagiarism of the second type persists (if I have to talk to you about plagiarism more than once), you will receive a 0 on the
nd
assignment (2 offense), and I will not accept a re-write for partial credit. In addition to the academic penalty of receiving an F in
the course, you may also be subject to other disciplinary penalties, which can include suspension or expulsion. Although such severe
penalties are rarely imposed for first-time offenders, the Vice President of Student Services Office maintains disciplinary records as
part of a students overall academic record.
A final word on plagiarism: I understand the occasional temptation to use copy-pastebut I am surprisingly good at recognizing
plagiarism. My basic message is Do Not Do It. When you need to take something from another persons workan idea, a powerful
statement, a set of facts, or an explanationcite your source.

GRADING:
The majority of the points for this course come from daily assignments, in class reading quizzes, and participation, so be sure to keep
up with the daily readings and homeworks. Simply turning in final papers will not result in a passing grade in this class. Your
percentage in the class is based out of 475 points (subject to change). You must turn in all 3 final essays and receive at least 283
points to pass this class. The points are distributed as follows:
Unit 1Motherhood (155)
Quizzes (30)
Reading Habits Handout (10)
Discussion Boards (10)
Guatemalan Civil War NC (10)
Participation (10)
Blue Books (5)
Essay 1 (50)
Exam 1 (30)

Unit 2Eve & Medusa (60)


Quizzes (10)
Discussion Boards (10)
Participation (10)
Blue Books (5)
Childrens Book Project (25)

Unit 3The Female Body (155)


Song Lyric Project (25)
Quizzes (10)
Reading Habits Handout (5)
Discussion Boards (20)
Participation (10)
Blue Books (5)
Essay 2 (50)
Exam 2 (30)

Unit 4Gender as Performative (105)


Quizzes (20)
Reading Habits Handout (5)
Discussion Boards (15)
Participation (10)
Blue Books (5)
Essay 3 (50)

Grading Scale:
A
%

= GPA

95-100
94
92-93
91

= 4.0
= 3.8
= 3.7
= 3.6

B
%
89-90
87-88
86
85
84
83
82
81
80

= GPA
= 3.5
= 3.4
= 3.3
= 3.2
= 3.1
= 3.0
= 2.9
= 2.8
= 2.7

C
%
79
78
77
76
75
74
73
72
71
70

= GPA
= 2.6
= 2.5
= 2.4
= 2.3
= 2.2
= 2.1
= 2.0
= 1.9
= 1.8
= 1.7

%
69
68
67
66
65
64
63
62
61
60
<60

D
= GPA
= 1.6
= 1.5
= 1.4
= 1.3
= 1.2
= 1.1
= 1.0
= 0.9
= 0.8
= 0.7
= 0.0 (F)

A
B
C
D
F
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Represents achievement that is outstanding or superior relative to the level necessary to meet the requirements of the course.
Represents achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet the requirements of the course.
Grades of A or B are honors grades. You must do something above and beyond the min. requirements in order to earn an A or B.
Represents achievement that meets the basic requirements in every respect. It signifies that the work is average, but nothing more.
Represents achievement that meets some but not all of the basic requirements. It signifies that a significant amount of coursework is either missing
or received not-passing grades.
If you receive less than 283 points in the course or fail to hand in one of the 3 major writing assignments, you will automatically earn an F. If your
average grade is a D but you did not complete one of the major components of the course (one of the 3 major papers or the Midterm exam), you will
automatically earn an F in the course. Accumulating more than eight absences also will result in an F. There is no reason for receiving an F in this
course unless you simply fail to submit the required work.
Stands for Incomplete. Under very unusual circumstances you could be assigned an Incomplete in the course if something happened to you within
the last two weeks of the quarter that made it impossible to complete the course (a serious accident or illness that left you hospitalized and very
significant personal tragedy, etc.)

RESOURCES:
English Skills Lab: If you would like another reader for any of your essays or if you would like help on an essay in between your first
and final drafts, you may schedule an appointment with a tutor at the English Lab. The English Skills Lab is Located the 1800 Building,
Room 1832.
Spring Quarter Hours:
Monday - Wednesday....8:00am - 8:00pm
Thursday........................8:00am - 4:00pm
Friday.............................9:00am - 4:00pm
The English Skills Lab can help with all stages of the writing process and all levels of writers, so it is not always necessary to have a
completed draft prepared for your appointment. You can also receive e-tutoring and online feedback on your writing. Visit
http://academics.bigbend.edu/library/Pages/lab-hours.aspx for more info.
Student Success Center: If you need to use a computer, to check out a laptop, or if you are struggling in any of your classes, you can
sign up for peer mentoring or supplemental instruction, contact Diana Villafana at 509.793.2369. The Student Success Center is
located in the 1400 Building and is open Mon-Thurs 8am-5pm and Fri 8am-2:30pm.
Accessibility & Disability Services: Big Bend Community College is committed to providing accommodations in academic programs
to ensure maximum participation by all students with disabilities and to minimize the functional limitations their disabling condition
has on their education. Proper procedures are in place to obtain equal access wherein the student and college staff work together to
facilitate reasonable accommodations. The Disabled Student Services Office is located in the 1400 Building. Loralyn Allen is the
disabled students liaison. Her office, located inside the Counseling Center, is open Monday - Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment contact her at 509.793.2027.
For the hearing impaired TDD is available in the Registration/Admissions Office for incoming and outgoing calls at telephone number
509.762.6335.