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POLSC303: Feminist Politics

Unit 5: Current Topics in Feminist Politics   In this last unit of the course, we explore topics that inform and energize current feminist approaches to politics both in the U.S. and internationally.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 26.25 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 6.25 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.1.1: 2.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.1.2: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 5.4: 6 hours

☐    Reading: 4.25 hours

☐    Lecture: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 5.5: 6 hours

☐    Reading: 4 hours

☐    Web Media: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.6: 3.75 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Define the gender gap and identify its presence in both politics and education. - Identify the ways in which gender is intertwined with national security and militarism. - Explain and evaluate historical and contemporary uses of Title IX. - Identify presumptions and concerns of feminist philosophy of law. - Evaluate feminist concerns with prostitution and sex trafficking. - Explain feminist concerns about the gendered nature of violence and the legal response to it. - Identify contemporary feminist concerns about poverty and women’s health.

5.1 Gender Gap   5.1.1 Gender Gap in U.S. Politics   - Reading: Ms. Magazine: Eleanor Smeal’s “Why the Gender Gap Matters” Link: Ms. Magazine: Eleanor Smeal’s “Why the Gender Gap Matters” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.  After reading the article by Eleanor Smeal, spend some time on the web looking at the gender gap in your area of the world.  This assignment should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Rutgers University, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Center for American Women and Politics: “Gender Gap in Voting” Link: Rutgers University, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Center for American Women and Politics: “Gender Gap in Voting” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Women tend to be slightly more liberal than men, both on social issues and foreign defense issues.  Women also are statistically more likely to vote Democrat in American elections than men.  Read each of the entries under the Fact Sheets section of the site on the gender gap.  Explore other links on the page as well.  This assignment should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: “The Gender Gap: Three Decades Old, as Wide as Ever” Link: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: “The Gender Gap: Three Decades Old, as Wide as Ever” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the Pew Research Center report for further studies on the differences between men and women with respect to their political beliefs and voting behavior.  This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.2 Gender Gap in Science and Technology   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Alison Wylie, Elizabeth Potter, and Wenda K. Bauchspies’ “Feminist Perspectives on Science” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Alison Wylie, Elizabeth Potter, and Wenda K. Bauchspies’ “Feminist Perspectives on Science” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire entry.  This reading engages with questions about why more young men than young women go into the sciences have fueled debates about biological differences and socialization for decades.  This reading should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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  • Lecture: iTunes U: Queens University, 2010 Friesen International Prize Lecture: Shirley Tilghman’s “Bridging the Gender Gap in Science and Technology” Link: iTunes U: Queens University, 2010 Friesen International Prize Lecture: Shirley Tilghman’s “Bridging the Gender Gap in Science and Technology” (iTunes U)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate the lecture titled “Bridging the Gender Gap in Science and Technology,” select “View in iTunes” to launch the lecture, and watch the entire lecture.  Pay special attention to how the issues of gender and education today often focus on the areas of math and science.  Does it surprise you that the gender gap in education is still an issue today?  This lecture should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
     
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5.2 National Security and Gender   - Lecture: iTunes U: UMBC Humanities Forum: Cynthia Enloe’s “Women, Men, and the Iraq War: What a Feminist Curiosity Reveals” Link: iTunes U: UMBC Humanities Forum: Cynthia Enloe’s “Women, Men, and the Iraq War: What a Feminist Curiosity Reveals” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate the lecture “Women, Men, and the Iraq War,” select “View in iTunes” to launch the lecture, and watch this lecture in its entirety.  What are the lecturer’s central arguments?  Why do you think that gender isn’t often discussed as a component of national security and war?  This lecture should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
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  • Reading: New York University School of Law, Center of Human Rights and Global Justice: “Women and Preventing Violent Extremism: The U.S. and U.K. Experiences” Link: New York University School of Law, Center of Human Rights and Global Justice: “Women and Preventing Violent Extremism: The U.S. and U.K. Experiences” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Click on the link for the PDF, “Women and Preventing Violent Extremism: The U.S. and U.K. Experiences,” (in blue text) on the page.  This report, which engages with the role women and feminists have played in addressing violent extremism, should take you approximately one hour to read.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.3 Title IX   5.3.1 The 1972 Statute   - Reading: U.S. Department of Justice: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 Link: U.S. Department of Justice: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the Title IX Statute.  Title IX is a federal law that states, “no person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”  A 1987 amendment expanded the definition of “program or activity” to include all operations of an educational institution, governmental entity, or private employer that receives federal funds.
 
This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
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5.3.2 Title IX in Practice   - Reading: National Women’s Law Center: “History of Title IX” Link: National Women’s Law Center: “History of Title IX” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire webpage.  This reading offers a history of the Title IX statute.  It should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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  • Reading: National Women’s Law Center: “The Living Law” Link: National Women’s Law Center: “The Living Law” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read through the historical adjustments to and applications of Title IX from 1972 to the present.  The reading explores the impact of the law on society as it has unfolded over the past several decades.  This reading should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
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  • Web Media: iTunes: HowStuffWorks.com, Stuff Mom Never Told You Podcast: “How has Title IX Evolved?” Link: iTunes: HowStuffWorks.com, Stuff Mom Never Told You Podcast: “How has Title IX Evolved?” (iTunes)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, scroll down to the entry for 7/21/10, and listen to the discussion about the evolution of the influential federal law.  This web media assignment should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.4 Feminist Responses to Prostitution and Sex Trafficking   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Patricia Smith’s “Feminist Philosophy of Law” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Patricia Smith’s “Feminist Philosophy of Law” (HTML)
 
Introduction: Feminist philosophy of law takes as an assumption that law has historically discriminated against women.  Read the entire entry for feminism’s unique perspectives on the law and legal issues.  This reading should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Laurie Shrage’s “Feminist Perspectives on Sex Markets” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Laurie Shrage’s “Feminist Perspectives on Sex Markets” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire entry.  Sex markets, predominantly involving women and children, have existed throughout history, but only in recent decades have been tackled as institutional entities to be examined and critiqued.  This reading should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
     
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  • Lecture: University of Chicago Law School: Catharine MacKinnon’s “Trafficking, Prostitution, and Inequality: A Public Lecture” Link: University of Chicago Law School: Catharine MacKinnon’s “Trafficking, Prostitution, and Inequality: A Public Lecture” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Catharine MacKinnon argues that sex markets and prostitution inherently subjugate women and should be abolished.  Viewing the lecture and pausing to take notes should take you approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete.
     
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  • Reading: International Committee for Prostitutes’ Rights (ICPR): “World Charter for Prostitutes’ Rights” Link: International Committee for Prostitutes’ Rights (ICPR): “World Charter for Prostitutes’ Rights” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire text.  Given the prevalence of prostitution, some argue that it should be legalized and that prostitutes should be granted legal rights.  This reading, by an organization promoting prostitutes’ rights, should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
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5.5 Feminist Concerns about Violence against Women and the Legal System   - Reading: Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 100, No. 3 (1986): Alice H. Eagly and Valerie J. Steffan’s “Gender and Aggressive Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Social Psychological Literature” Link: Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 100, No. 3 (1986): Alice H. Eagly and Valerie J. Steffan’s “Gender and Aggressive Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Social Psychological Literature” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above to download the PDF file, and read the article by Eagly and Steffan.  Eagly and Steffan offer a comprehensive examination of the correlation between aggressive behavior and gender that is an important background for future assignments regarding feminism and violence.  This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Rebecca Whisnant’s “Feminist Perspectives on Rape” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Rebecca Whisnant’s “Feminist Perspectives on Rape” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire entry.  While the legal system has traditionally recognized rape as an assault independent of power relationships between men and women, some feminist theorists suggest that it should be recognized as a male versus female attack, with the power differences as an important and legally acknowledged subtext.  The reading should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
     
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  • Reading: WomensHealth.gov: “Laws on Violence against Women” Link: WomensHealth.gov: “Laws on Violence against Women” (HTML, YouTube)
     
    Instructions: It was only in the latter half of the twentieth century that the American legal system carved out laws that engaged with assaults on women in the home and domestic violence in the family.  Read the sections on “The Violence against Women Act” and “The Family Violence and Services Act.”  Also, view the brief video under the “Violence against Women Act” section.  The assignment should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.
     
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  • Web Media: V-Day: A Global Movement to End Violence against Women and Girls Link: V-Day: A Global Movement to End Violence against Women and Girls (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, read the “About” page, and explore the material on this website (e.g. About Us, Our Work, etc.).  The late twentieth-century call to end silence about domestic violence in the U.S. has expanded to more global concerns and movements.  Spend at least 2 hours going through the reading and multimedia links on this website.
     
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5.6 Feminists Concerns about Poverty and Women’s Health   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Anne Donchin’s “Feminist Bioethics” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Anne Donchin’s “Feminist Bioethics” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire entry.  Because Western medicine in research and practice has predominantly assumed a male body, feminists in the late twentieth century began exploring how this conceptualization of the body and health has adversely affected women.  This reading, which explores the philosophical history of this argument, should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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  • Reading: Discipline and Anarchy Blog: Henrike Dessaules’s “Why Women’s Health Is a Feminist Issue” Link: Discipline and Anarchy Blog: Henrike Dessaules’s “Why Women’s Health Is a Feminist Issue” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article.  The title of this blog entry speaks for itself.  Women’s health has indeed become a feminist issue.  This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
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  • Lecture: iTunes U: Emory University’s Center for Women: 2010 Mary Lynn Morgan Lecture: Elizabeth Blake: “Housing, Health, and Women: Partners against Poverty” Link: iTunes U: Emory University’s Center for Women: 2010 Mary Lynn Morgan Lecture: Elizabeth Blake: “Housing, Health, and Women: Partners against Poverty” (iTunes U)
     
    Instructions: Please click on the link above, locate the lecture “Housing, Health and Women: Partners against Poverty,” select “View in iTunes” to launch the lecture, and view the entire lecture.  In the U.S., a citizen who is homeless or in poverty is much more likely to be a woman than a man.  This lecture discusses the issues of women and housing, and the connection to poverty and heath.  Viewing this lecture and pausing to take notes should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.