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FALL 2015
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
9:00 a.m. 9:50 a.m.
Location: Wilson Hall, Room 302
Instructor: Carrie E. Spearin, Ph.D.
Maxcy Hall, Room 105
(401) 863-3668 or call the Sociology Department
Office Hours: Fridays, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Office Hours:

Johnnie Lotesta
Maxcy Hall, Room 008
Wednesdays, 10am-12pm

Amy Chin
Maxcy Hall, Room 008
Thursdays, 1pm-3pm

Aaron Niznik
Maxcy Hall, Room 008
Wednesdays, 2pm-4pm

I. Course Description.
For many of us, gender is taken for granted and often forgotten about. But gender is all around
us! It affects everyone, regardless of biological sex, race, class, or sexual orientation and many
of us are doing gender without even knowing it. In this introductory sociology course, we
consider gender as a social construction rather than a biological difference. We examine how
people create and sustain the categories that they use to make sense of what it means to be a
man or a woman and how these categories affect our lives. Additionally, we explore how
gender and sex are reflected in social norms, expressed in attitudes and beliefs, and reinforced
through public and private policies and social institutions.
We will be reading about, analyzing, and discussing a variety of topics related to the construction
and meaning of gender and sexuality in our society. While lecture material is presented, some of
the classroom experience is spent discussing issues relevant to the readings and participating in
classroom exercises. This course is organized so that we may share our personal experiences,
integrating them with the readings and the sociological perspective, in order to explore each
topic area more fully. I hope the class provides an environment in which we may learn from
each other as well as from the assigned readings.
II. Course Objectives.
The major objectives for this course are to: (1) improve critical thinking skills and apply the
sociological perspective as it relates to gender, sex, and sexuality, (2) develop an understanding
of the social construction of gender and its effects on society, (3) understand the
institutionalization of sexuality and gender in politics, economics, language, and the family, (4)
develop a deeper understanding of how your own experiences, views, choices, and behaviors
have been shaped by your gender, your environment, and the structure of opportunities youve
encountered, (5) critically examine ones own individual behavior as well as analyze the actions
and behaviors of those around them in reference to gender, and (6) encourage students to think

about and make connections between theory, research, and practice and to consider the
implications of research for interventions, education, and public policy.
III. Course Prerequisites.
There are no prerequisites for this course.
IV. Course Expectations.
There will be many new terms and definitions that must be learned to succeed in this class. Class
attendance is important for discussion, to answer your questions, and to obtain my perspective on
the material. Please note, you must read the material on schedule. Learning in this course is
cumulative, and each new idea will build on those that came before and will continue to be used
in subsequent lectures and assignments. Lecture slides will not be provided to students at any
time or for any reason. If you miss class, please get notes from a classmate and ensure you have
completed the assigned readings.
V. Required Texts and Readings.
Robyn Ryle. 2014. Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration, 2nd Edition (QG).
Additional readings are also assigned. All additional readings are available on Canvas.
VI. Course Requirements.
There are three components to the course: in-class activities/responses, written essay
assignments, and mid-term exams.
In-Class Activities/Responses. Students are expected to take an active role in shaping their
learning environment both within and outside the classroom. Therefore, there will be several
opportunities for in-class activities over the semester. These exercises are intended to give you
an opportunity to apply the concepts presented in the readings, as well as the lectures and
discussions. If an assignment is given in class, you should have ample class time to complete it.
You will receive full credit for in-class assignments if you are in class on those days. These inclass assignments cannot be made up. If you miss class, you will receive no credit for that day.
If you do miss class, it is your responsibility to find out what you have missed. The
professor and TAs will not give students copies of class lecture notes nor will they use office
hours to repeat a missed lecture.
Written Essays. There will be four written essay assignments given throughout the semester.
These assignments will be formally graded. All essay assignments must be submitted directly
to Canvas by 10:00 a.m. on the day they are due. Three of the four assignments are relatively
short (4-5 pages) and draw from your own experiences or from current events. It is your
responsibility to integrate the knowledge presented in lectures and the readings into these
assignments. It is essential that you provide evidence that you understand the material of the
course and can apply the sociological perspective when completing these assignments by
incorporating and citing your readings. The final written essay is a slightly longer, more
comprehensive assignment (6-8 pages).


Please review the due dates of papers carefully and plan your work accordingly. Do not ask for
an extension I will not provide one. A half of a letter grade will be deducted for each day the
paper is overdue. The only exception is illness (accompanied by a note from Health Services) or
other circumstances beyond your control (such as a religious holiday, family emergency, etc.) In
these instances, you will need to provide a Deans note.
Exams.There will be a total of three exams over the course of the semester. Exams are based
on the semesters readings, lectures, and in-class assignments. These exams ask you to identify
concepts, provide definitions, and apply the course material. These exams are mandatory and
must be taken on the dates scheduled (see part IX of syllabus). Because you are allowed to
drop your lowest exam grade, no make-up exams will be given. Extreme cases of personal
illness, emergency, or family crisis will be handled on a case-by-case basis; notify me as soon as
possible and expect to submit a Deans note. You should double-check the exam schedule prior
to registering for this class; travel plans are not a reasonable excuse for missing an exam.
VII. Grading.
No curve is involved in this course. You will receive the grade that you earn. I do not offer
extra-credit either during the course or after receiving your final grade. If you take the
course pass/fail, I reserve the right to deny S with distinction as a grade option. If you pass the
course (70 or above), you pass the course. I will not change a passing grade to an NC under any
circumstances. An A is a 90 or above, a B is an 89 to 80, and a C is anything below 80.
Because grade disputes can become emotional for everyone, I require that all questions and
concerns you have about grading to be conducted in writing. Please email the TAs with detailed
questions about any issues you have about your grade and they will respond accordingly.
Your final grade will be calculated according to the following distribution (I reserve the right to
change the grade distribution during the course of the semester):
Class Participation/Attendance
Essay Assignments (3x10%, 1x20%) 50%
VIII. Course Policies and Etiquette.
Please come to class and be in class on time. Tardiness, in addition to absences, will affect your
grade and are strongly discouraged. Unless you become ill or speak to me about leaving early
for a specific purpose, expect to stay for the entire class.
Plagiarism can occur by accident, in working together, or when work is borrowed. Working
together in small groups can be fun and helpful. But, if you write your assignments together, it
may appear to me that the work is too identical. It is safest to work together at the reviewing
stage, but not in the writing stage of your work. Take steps to ensure that plagiarism does not
Incomplete grades will only be awarded with a note from a Dean.

Pay attention. The use of cell phones, texting, and snap chat will not be tolerated in class.
Please do not spend my class time looking at Tinder or Facebook. I often will not allow
computer use in class, so be prepared to bring a notebook and pen to each meeting.
I will be unavailable to interact via email in the evening and most times during the
weekends. However, I will do my best to reply to your inquiries as soon as possible.
IX. Title IX in the Classroom and Office Hours
If you choose to tell me about an incident of gender-based violence, including sexual assault,
dating violence, and stalking, or harassment that you experienced as a student, I am required to
direct the information to the Title IX Coordinator Amanda Walsh. If you tell me that you want to
keep the details of the incident confidential, I will make sure to include that in the notice I send
to the Title IX Office. If you would rather speak to a confidential resource, the following services
are available to you on campus:
Sexual Assault Hotline:
SHARE Advocate:
Chaplains Office:
X. Schedule of Readings and Assignments
You are responsible for the assignments on the dates listed. You should read ahead as some
assignments will require planning and extra time. Please note: I reserve the right to make
changes to the syllabus during the course of the semester.
Week 1

(September 9th & 11th)

Gender - Why do we care?
Barnett & Rivers, Men are from Earth, and so are Women
Assignment: Essay Assignment #1 distributed

Week 2

(September 14th, 16th, & 18th)

Gender and the Sociological Perspective
QG, Chapter 2
Edley, Nigel and Margaret Wetherell. 2001. Jekyll and Hyde:
Men's Constructions of Feminism and Feminists. Feminism and
Psychology 11:439-457. (Canvas)

Week 3

(September 21st, 23rd, and 25th)


Defining Gender Whats the difference between Sex and Gender?

QG, Chapter 1
Fausto-Sterling, A. 1993. The Five Sexes, The Sciences.
March/April: 20-24. (Canvas)
Stout, Jane and Nilanjana Dasgupta. 2011. When He Doesnt
Mean You: Gender Exclusive Language as Ostracism.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 36: 757-769.
Assignment: Essay Assignment #1 due (9/25)
Week 4

(September 28th, 30th, & October 2nd)

Learning to be little boys and little girls The Process of Socialization
QG, Chapter 4
Talbot, Kirsten, and Michael Quayle. 2010. The Perils of Being a
Nice Guy: Contextual Variation in Five Young Womens
Constructions of Acceptable Hegemonic and Alternative
Masculinities. Men and Masculinities 13(2):255 - 278. (Canvas)
Assignments: Essay Assignment #2 distributed

Week 5

(October 5th, 7th, & 9th)

Perspectives beyond Sociology
QG, Chapter 3
Valocchi, Stephen. 2005. Not yet queer enough: The lessons of
queer theory for the sociology of gender and sexuality. Gender
and Society 19(6):750 - 770. (Canvas)
Assignments: Exam I (10/5)

Week 6

(October 12th, 14th, & 16th) NO CLASS October 12th

Gender Identity Doing Gender as Transgender
Schilt, K., and L. Westbrook. 2009. Doing gender, doing
heteronormativity: "gender normals," transgender people, and the
social maintenance of heterosexuality. Gender and Society 23(4):
440 - 464. (Canvas)
Aaron T. Norton and Gregory M. Herek. 2013. Heterosexuals
Attitudes Toward Transgender People: Findings from a National
Probability Sample of U.S. Adults. Sex Roles 68(11-12):738-753.
Catherine Connell. 2010. Doing, Undoing, or Redoing Gender?
Learning from the Workplace Experiences of Trans People.
Gender and Society 24(1):31-55. (Canvas)
Assignment: Essay Assignment #2 due (10/16)

Week 7

(October 19th, 21st, & 23rd)


Desire - Why do we want what we want?

QG, Chapter 5
Kreager, D. A., and J. Staff. 2009. The sexual double standard and
adolescent peer acceptance. Social Psychology Quarterly
72(2):143 - 164. (Canvas)
Week 8

(October 26th, 28th, & 30th)

Dating and Hooking Up
QG, Chapter 6
Jackson, Pamela Braboy, Sibyl Kleiner, Claudia Geist, and Kara
Cebulko. 2011. Conventions of Courtship: Gender and Race
Differences in the Significance of Dating Rituals. Journal of
Family Issues 32:629 - 652. (Canvas)
Armstrong, Elizabeth A., Laura Hamilton, and Paula England.
2010. Is Hooking Up Bad for Young Women? Contexts 9(3):22 27. (Canvas)
Assignments: Essay Assignment #3 distributed

Week 9

(November 2nd, 4th, & 6th)

Gender in Partnerships and Family
QG, Chapter 8
Syfers, Why I Want a Wife (Canvas)
Sutherland, Jean-Anne. 2010. Mothering, Guild, and Shame.
Sociology Compass 4 (5): 310-21. (Canvas)
Assignment: Exam II (11/2)

Week 10

(November 9th, 11th, & 13th)

Economy and Work
QG, Chapter 9
Wingfield, A.H. 2009. Racializing the glass escalator:
Reconsidering men's experiences with women's work. Gender
and Society 23(1):5 - 26. (Canvas)
Stone, Pamela. 2007. The Rhetoric and Reality of Opting Out
Contexts 6(4): 14-19. (Canvas)
Assignments: Essay Assignment #4 distributed
Assignments: Essay Assignment #3 due (11/13)

Week 11

(November 16th, 18th, & 20th)


The Influence of Media and Popular Culture Part I

QG, Chapter 10
Edgar, Eir-Anne. 2011. "Xtravaganza!: Drag Representation and
Articulation in "RuPaul's Drag Race". Studies in Popular
Dill, Karen E., and Kathryn P. Thill. 2007. Video Game
Characters and the Socialization of Gender Roles: Young Peoples
Perceptions Mirror Sexist Media Depictions. Sex Roles 57: 851864. (Canvas)
Week 12

(November 23rd, 25th, & 27th) NO CLASS 11/25 AND 11/27

The Influence of Media and Popular Culture Part II
Smith, Tyson. 2005. "Pumping Irony: The Construction of
Masculinity in a Post-feminist Advertising Campaign.
Advertising and Society Review. (Canvas)

Week 13

(November 30th, December 2nd, & 4th)

Policies and Social Change
QG, Chapter 11
Hooks, bell. Dig Deep: Beyond Lean In. The Feminist Wire,
October 28, 2013. (Canvas)
"hashtagfeminism" in terms of race: Susan Loza. 2014 Hashtag
Feminism #solidarityisforwhitewomen, and the Other
#femfuture ADA: A Journal of Gender and New Media
Technology (5). (Canvas)

Week 14

(December 7st, 9th, & 11th)

Wrapping it Up!
Assignments: Exam III (12/7)
Essay Assignment #4 Due (12/11)