last updated: 10/26/2007 11:12 AM


PSCI 494

Professor Jacinda Swanson

Fall 2007

3412 Friedmann

TR 5 – 6:15 pm

Office Hours: Tue & Thurs 2-3, Wed 11-12 & by appt

DUNBR 2210




Seminar in Political Science:

Gender, Politics, & Economics in the United States



Overview and Objectives:

This course examines some of the ways in which gender matters in politics and economics in the United States. As background for the rest of the course, we will start by looking at a few of the many different ways in which gender has been theorized and a few of the many different approaches to feminist theory. During the rest of the course, we will explore a variety of specific political and economic issues where gender often appears to matter, i.e., where (individuals who identify/are identified as) women and men, or individuals performing stereotypically “feminine” or “masculine” roles, often face different problems or are treated differently. Topics to be critically discussed include, e.g., gender issues in the law and public policy (equality, military service, pornography, healthcare coverage); gender-related violence (rape, domestic violence); women on the political Right; care giving, family, and household issues (parental rights, the division of household labor, finances and economic resources, balancing paid work and family); government welfare programs; and gender issues in employment and the workplace. One objective of this course is to understand and to critically engage with some of the academic literature on these topics.


This writing intensive course, which fulfills the baccalaureate-level writing requirement, will be conducted as a seminar, guided largely, if not primarily, by student discussion and participation. A second important objective of this course is to allow students to practice and to hone their writing skills.


Required Texts:

There are one required book and two required course packets for this course. Additional required readings can be found either on e-reserve through the WMU library or through the WMU library’s article databases (see below). You are required to bring a HARDCOPY of the relevant articles/chapters and/or the course packet to class. We will often refer to specific arguments in the readings during class.


·        Patrice DiQuinzio and Iris Marion Young, eds. 1997. Feminist Ethics and Social Policy. Indiana University Press.

·        Two course packets (referred to as “CP” and “CP2” on the syllabus), printed by and available at the WMU Bookstore in the Bernhard Center (If they run out of copies, you MUST specifically ask the bookstore to order a copy for you, which should be available for you to pick up within 24 hours.) CP will be available before classes begin; CP2 will be available a week or two after classes begin.

·        Articles/chapters on e-reserve thru WMU’s library:

·        Articles available through JSTOR:

·        Article available through LexisNexis Academic:

·        Article available through Wilson Select Plus:

·        Articles available through HeinOnline: The Modern Link to Legal History:


You will also need one 8-1/2” x 11” blue book, which can be purchased at the bookstore, for your final.


Suggested Texts: a writing style manual, such as Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (LB 2369 .T8 Ref. Desk Collection or several copies in regular stacks) or The Chicago Manual of Style (Z 253 .C57 Ref. Desk Collection), to help you with the mechanics of your writing (grammar, quotations, punctuation, capitalization, citations, bibliographies, etc.). You may also want to consult a source like Sheridan Baker’s The Practical Stylist (PE 1408 .B283), Diana Hacker’s Pocket Style Manual (PE1408 .H26 1997), or Harbrace College Handbook (PE 1112 .H6 Reference) for more in-depth guidance regarding writing style, transitions, word usage, sentence and essay structure, grammar, punctuation, etc. The Waldo Library website has some reference resources for this online (, but you will most likely need a hardcopy of a style manual to answer all your grammatical, mechanical, and stylistic questions. You are strongly urged to check out from the library or to purchase a style manual at any local or online bookstore (e.g., You should also have access to a good dictionary and thesaurus so that you are using and spelling words properly. In general, because this is specifically a writing course, ignorance of rules or conventions will be no excuse—if in doubt, look it up.


Course Requirements: Assignments and Grading

Please notify me if you have a documented disability that requires accommodation. It’s crucial that you do so during the first week or two of the semester so that we can make appropriate arrangements.


A complete and updated copy of this syllabus should be consulted online, at the link for this class at Assignments will be posted and important links can be found on the online syllabus. In addition, because it’s logistically too difficult to keep track of everyone’s email address, in lieu of emailing out announcements regarding class, changes to my offices hours, campus speakers, (optional) articles of interest, etc., I will post announcements relevant to class on the link for this class—it’s vital that you check the “announcements” link regularly, ideally a few times a week. Feel free to contact me via email with questions about the readings, assignments, and so forth, although be aware that, in general, I will not be checking my email regularly in the evenings or on the weekends.


Students are expected to do the assigned readings for that day BEFORE they come to class, and to participate actively in class discussion. This is particularly important given that this class will be conducted as a seminar, with substantial student discussion and less or little “lecturing” by the professor—hence, the significant percentage of your grade associated with class participation. You are expected to be an active listener (both to your classmates and me) and thoughtful and respectful discussion participant, rather than a passive attendee. When you do the assigned readings, you should do more than just read the material, you should also REFLECT on it, take some notes on the main arguments and concepts/terms employed by the authors, and jot down some questions and critical comments about the particulars of the authors’ arguments. Taking your own notes on the readings is particularly important in this class since you will be responsible for contributing to an enlightening, informative, and interesting discussion of the readings; it will also make writing your papers and completing your exams easier. Coming to class without having carefully done and thought about the readings, passively sitting in class (without contributing to the discussion), and/or failing to bring the assigned readings to class will earn you a poor discussion participation grade. In addition, you are expected to act civilly and respectfully towards your classmates and me, and to respond to others’ comments in an intellectual and courteous manner and without hostility, even when you disagree (which may often be the case). Regular attendance is required, but if you have to miss class, you are responsible for finding out from a classmate what you missed and for getting copies of any class handouts. Please always bring a copy of the syllabus (and the readings) with you to class so that you know which readings and authors we are discussing in class that day.


I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, but to avoid disrupting class discussion, please turn off any cell phones and beepers before you come into class, arrive on time, and refrain from chatting with your neighbor or being otherwise disruptive.


Your grade for the course will consist of the following:

·        in-class discussion participation, 10% (I will attempt to grade the quality, not just quantity, of your class participation every class and/or every week in order to come up with an overall evaluation of your participation for the semester.)

·        two 5-minute oral class presentations (& 2-page papers) as the “reading leader,” 3% each, 6% total

·        two papers (6 pages each, plus approximately 1 page outline), 22% each, 44% total

·        two take-home exams, approximately 5 pages each, 12% each, 24% total

·        cumulative in-class final exam, 16%


Oral class presentations:

Starting Sept. 11, students will be assigned to give a 5-minute class presentation as the “reading leader” for two of the assigned readings during the semester. I will distribute a list of these assignments, which will also be posted on the online syllabus (link to assignments).


On the day you are to serve as the “reading leader,” you will write a 2-page (double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins) paper on that reading, which should serve as the basis for your 5-minute oral presentation on that reading. In the paper and presentation, explain IN DETAIL one of the author’s main arguments (one of the main points of the reading), being sure to analyze the author’s arguments, assumptions, and/or conclusions. You should attempt to present the author’s argument in the strongest possible light and be fair to her/his argument. Your presentation will serve as the kicking off point of the class’s discussion of the reading. Papers and presentations that are superficial summaries of the reading will receive poor grades. You may NOT read your paper or your presentation; you should instead use notes or an outline to give your presentation. You should practice your presentation beforehand and make sure it fits within the time limit. For these papers only, you can cite simply by indicating the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence(s) you’re citing.


If you are unable to attend class on a day you are assigned to lead discussion, it is YOUR responsibility to trade days with another student and to INFORM ME of the change. If you have a last minute emergency or illness that prevents you from trading days with another student, you MUST inform me of the emergency ASAP and provide me with documentation of your emergency, and we will make arrangements to re-schedule your presentation, possibly for a different reading.


Paper assignments:

In order for students to seriously engage with the assigned readings and to devote significant and adequate attention to their writing, the papers will only required limited outside research (see specific assignments). For each of these papers, you will be required to choose and locate an appropriate additional scholarly book chapter or journal article approximately 2-1/2 weeks prior to the paper due date, which I must approve for use in your paper. Unless the chapter or article is assessable through an electronic book or electronically through an article index such as JSTOR, InfoTrac OneFile, Wilson Select Plus, etc. (, finding an additional chapter/article will most likely mean actually going to the library and finding books and journals. The librarians or I will be happy to help you learn how to find articles if you need help. For using WestCat and the library’s other resources, e.g., for finding articles, the following user guides may be useful, All the books used in this course that WMU owns have been put on reserve at the library for your reference.


You will be given substantial leeway in your choice of topics, but I will be happy to suggest or to help narrow down topics if you need help. You will probably write better papers if you choose topics that interest you.


Papers and take-home exams are to be done individually, meaning that you should not work with classmates or others on their content. You may get stylistic, mechanical, or grammatical assistance, though, from the WMU Writing Center (


ALL papers and take-home exams will be graded for content and writing style, with 1/3 of each of these grades tied to the latter. Your papers and take-home exams will therefore be evaluated for organization, grammar, citations, clarity, flow, etc. Consequently, you should plan on doing at least two or more drafts of your papers. Among other things, there should be a clear organization and structure to your paper; it should have a logical and coherent flow and be easy to follow. Repetitive, vague, and unclear phrases should be eliminated. For your papers (but probably not the take-home exams), you should have a thesis statement that accurately reflects the argument of your paper, not just its topic. Words should be correctly used and spelled. Rules of grammar (subject-verb agreement, pronoun usage, no sentence fragments, etc.), punctuation, and capitalization should be observed. There should be adequate and appropriate citations and a bibliography, all in the specified format. Writing should be formal, not colloquial; you should eschew, e.g., slang, contractions, and unnecessary, gratuitous use of the first person.


You are to hand in a hard, paper copy of your 2-page oral presentation papers. Because the 6-page papers and assignments are due on days when I will not be in my office, you are required to submit them as a Word document attached to an email unless you are turning them in early in class or in my office while I am there (see me if you are unable to send Word documents as an attachment). Given the vagaries of email transmissions and computer networks, DO NOT assume I have received your email and paper file just because the email apparently went through. If I receive your email and file, I will send a reply confirming receipt. If you do not hear back from me, you should assume your email went astray and resend it. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure I receive your paper.


You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the Undergraduate Catalog that pertain to Academic Honesty. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. (The policies can be found at under Academic Policies, Student Rights and Responsibilities.) If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test. A finding of responsibility for academic dishonesty on any assignment will result in failure of this course (see the Undergraduate Catalog).


Late assignments:

You are discouraged from submitting the 6-page papers late, but if you do, points will be deducted accordingly: one grade (5 points) will be taken off if you turn it in within 3 days of the due date; two grades (10 points) will be taken off if you turn it in within 7 days. The 6-page papers will NOT be accepted more than a week after the due date. The 2-page papers associated with the oral presentations MUST be submitted in class on the day of the oral presentation, and take-home exams must be submitted on their due dates; these assignments will NOT be accepted late.



For this class, we will be using the common (although not universal) political science citation method, parenthetical references in the author-date system. In this system, an idea taken from a text or a direct quotation is cited by placing a set of parentheses at the end of the sentence(s) you’re citing (before the period), containing the author’s last name, a space, the text’s date of publication, a colon, a space, and the page number(s) of the citation, e.g., (Friedan 1997: 5). At the end of the paper, you then provide a bibliography with full bibliographical entries for all the texts cited in the paper; these entries should be done according to author-date system bibliographical entry style (see Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers or The Chicago Manual of Style). This style is used, e.g., in the list of articles at the front of your course packet and in the course outline below. In this method of citation, footnotes are only used to explain something in the paper’s text more fully.


In addition to utilizing the specified format, you must cite authors’ ideas and words appropriately and adequately. Along with a style manual, the following library tutorial may be a helpful reminder about citation conventions, Feel free also to see me with any questions regarding properly citing.


Grading scale:












Course Outline:

T Sept. 4

Introduction: Overview of course and its objectives




Different approaches to studying & theorizing gender

R Sept. 6

Betty Friedan. 1997 [1963]. “Metamorphosis: Two Generations Later” and “The Problem That Has No Name.” The Feminine Mystique. (CP)


National Organization for Women (NOW) Bill of Rights (1968) ( (print & bring to class)



T Sept. 11

Joan W. Scott. 1999 [1985]. “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” (CP)



R Sept. 13

Joan W. Scott. 1991. “The Evidence of Experience.” (CP)



T Sept. 18

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. 1992. “African-American Women's History and the Metalanguage of Race.” Signs 17, no. 2 (Winter): 251-74. (JSTOR; print out pdf & bring to class)


Ann Ferguson. 1981. “Patriarchy, Sexual Identity, and the Sexual Revolution.” Signs 7, no. 1 (Autumn): 158-72. (JSTOR; print out pdf & bring to class)



R Sept. 20

Sara Ruddick. 1989. “Maternal Thinking.” (CP)



F Sept. 21





Law & public policy

T Sept. 25

Christine A. Littleton. 1993 [1987]. “Reconstructing Sexual Equality.” (CP)


Joan W. Scott. 1999 [1985]. “The Sears Case.” Gender and the Politics of History, revised ed., 167-77. New York: Columbia University Press. [e-reserve]



R Sept. 27

Lise Vogel. 1990. “Debating Difference: Feminism, Pregnancy, and the Workplace.” Feminist Studies 16, no. 1 (Spring): 9-32. (JSTOR; print out pdf & bring to class)



F Sept. 28




T Oct. 2

Judith Wagner DeCew. 1997 [1995]. “The Combat Exclusion and the Role of Women in the Military.” In Feminist Ethics and Social Policy.


Alisa L. Carse. 1997 [1995]. “Pornography: An Uncivil Liberty?” In Feminist Ethics and Social Policy.





R Oct. 4

Jerry L Dasti. 2002. “Advocating a Broader Understanding of the Necessity of Sex-Reassignment Surgery under Medicaid.” New York University Law Review 77, no. 6 (Dec.): 1738-75. (HeinOnline: The Modern Link to Legal History; print out pdf & bring to class)



S Oct. 6

FIRST TAKE-HOME EXAM DUE (emailed to me by 6am)





T Oct. 9

Catharine A. MacKinnon. 2006. “Women's September 11th: Rethinking the International Law of Conflict.” Harvard International Law Journal 47 no. 1 (Winter): 1-31. (Wilson Select Plus; print out pdf & bring to class)


Sharon E. Hartline. 1997. “Stranger Violence—An Easy Case.” In Feminist Ethics and Social Policy.



R Oct. 11

Uma Narayan. 1997. “‘Male-Order’ Brides: Immigrant Women, Domestic Violence, and Immigration Law.” In Feminist Ethics and Social Policy.




Women on the (political) Right

T Oct. 16

Rebecca E. Klatch. 1987. “Introduction,” “Two World Views,” and “Feminism.” Women of the New Right, 3-54, 119-53. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. (CP2)



R Oct. 18

Jean Hardisty. 1998. “Kitchen Table Backlash: The Antifeminist Women’s Movement.” In Unraveling The Right: The New Conservatism in American Thought and Politics, ed. Amy E. Ansell, 105-25. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. (e-reserve)



S Oct. 20

FIRST PAPER DUE (emailed to me by 6am)






Parenting, families, & households

T Oct. 23

Nancy Folbre. 1984. “The Pauperization of Motherhood: Patriarchy and Public Policy in the United States.” Review of Radical Political Economics 16, no. 4 (Winter): 72-88. (e-reserve)


Arlie Russell Hochschild. 1997. “An Angel of an Idea” & “Family Values and Reversed Worlds.” (CP)



R Oct. 25

Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. 2003. “Just the Way She Planned” and “The Over-Consumption Myth.” The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke, 1-32. New York: Basic Books. (CP2)



F Oct. 26




T Oct. 30

Iris Marion Young. 1997. “Mothers, Citizenship, and Independence: A Critique of Pure Family Values.” Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy, and Policy, 114-33. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (e-reserve)


Tracy Levy. 2006. “The Relational Self and the Right to Give Care.” New Political Science 28, no. 4 (Dec.): 547-7. [CP2]





R Nov. 1

Susan Dominus. 2005. “The Fathers’ Crusade.” New York Times (8 May). (Lexis-Nexis; print & bring to class)


Mary L. Shanley. 1997 [1995]. “Fathers’ Rights, Mothers’ Wrongs? Reflections on Unwed Fathers’ Rights and Sex Equality.” In Feminist Ethics and Social Policy.



S Nov. 3

SECOND TAKE-HOME EXAM DUE (emailed to me by 6am)



T Nov. 6

Harriet Fraad et al. 1989. “For Every Knight in Shining Armor, There’s a Castle Waiting to Be Cleaned: A Marxist-Feminist Analysis of the Household.” Rethinking Marxism 2 (Winter): 10-69. [CP2]



R Nov. 8

Jenny Cameron. 2000. “Domesticating Class: Femininity, Heterosexuality, and Household Politics.” (CP)


Harriet Fraad. 2000. “Exploitation in the Labor of Love.” In Class and Its Others, eds. J.K. Gibson-Graham, Stephen A. Resnick, and Richard D. Wolff, 69-86. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. [e-reserve]




Government programs to assist women, children, & families

T Nov. 13

Nancy Folbre. 1994. “The United States.” Who Pays for the Kids? Gender and the Structures of Constraint, 183-210. New York: Routledge. (e-reserve)


Nancy Fraser. 1989 [1987]. “Women, Welfare, and the Politics of Need Interpretation.” Unruly Practices: Power, Discourse, and Gender in Contemporary Social Theory, 144-60. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. (e-reserve)



R Nov. 15

Nancy Fraser. 1993. “Clintonism, Welfare, and the Antisocial Wage: The Emergence of a Neoliberal Political Imaginary.” (CP)



S Nov. 17

SECOND PAPER DUE (emailed to me by 6am)



T Nov. 20

Anna Marie Smith. 2002. “The Sexual Regulation Dimension of Contemporary Welfare Reform: A Fifty State Overview.” Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 8, no. 2: 121-167, 209-218. (HeinOnline: The Modern Link to Legal History; print out indicated pages from pdf & bring to class)



R Nov. 22

NO CLASS (Thanksgiving)




Making a living, employment, & the workplace

T Nov. 27

Teresa Amott and Julie Matthaei. 1991. “The Growth of Wage Work” and “The Transformation of Women’s Wage Work.” (CP)



R Nov. 29

Carolyn H. Magid. 1997. “Does Comparable Worth Have Radical Potential?” In Feminist Ethics and Social Policy.



T Dec. 4

Cecilia Marie Rio. 2000. “‘This Job Has No End’: African American Domestic Workers and Class Becoming.” (CP)


Karen J. Hossfeld. 1990. “‘Their Logic Against Them’: Contradictions in Sex, Race and Class in Silicon Valley.” In Women Workers and Global Restructuring, ed. Kathryn Ward, 149-78. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press. (e-reserve)



R Dec. 6

Marjolein van der Veen. 2000. “Beyond Slavery and Capitalism: Producing Class Difference in the Sex Industry.” (CP)



T Dec. 11

FINAL (Tue., 5-7pm): bring blue book