What can you expect from this course?
This is an online course. There are many styles of online courses out there. Some are just courses that you do at your own pace without help from an instructor. This one is not like that. I have two years of recent experience teaching online, in addition to many years of teaching in the classroom. My goal for online instruction is to work with the students to create a learning experience that is as profound as a classroom experience, but with the advantages of online classes: you don't have to come to campus, and you choose what days and times of the week to come to class.
What does this look like? I will record weekly lectures that are fresh for this class. I explain the readings and try to apply them to events in the news or popular culture. I try to ask provocative questions for you to respond to on the discussion board. I am active on discussion boards, responding several times a week to questions. I encourage open discussion and for students to be both serious and casual at the same time. Presence is one of the most important qualities of the course. We will work together to create a class that feels as real as your campus classes. And if you need help, you can make an office hours appointment on Skype, so we can see and hear each other just as though we were on campus.
Because I try to make my online classes as serious and fun as campus classes, there is still homework! You'll watch video lectures, take quizzes, participate in discussion, and complete writing assignments. The primary assignment is a paper about 7 pages in length that you will write in 3 chunks over the quarter. You will get feedback on your ideas and your writing on the first two chunks so that the final draft is your best work, and so you had plenty of help producing it. If you are willing to put in the effort, I am also willing to put in the effort to help you on your writing, thinking, and mastery of course materials.
All kinds of people are welcome in this class. You do not have to be a Gender Studies major. You do not have to be a feminist or a scientist. You just have to be willing to explore new ideas and try them on for a fit before you accept or reject them. I love science and hope that people will come to the course either already curious about things or willing to become curious. If this might be you, read on . . .
Please note: What follows is a DRAFT syllabus. Minor changes to readings will be made before the course begins on April 2, 2012. The course text will remain the same. Any readings that change will be available in Blackboard or on the internet. Students who register can confidently purchase the course text listed below.
Eastern Oregon University
Number of Course: GEND 310—104
Name of Course: Gender, Science, and Power
This course considers the role of gender in science and in the production of objects of scientific knowledge. It covers the philosophy and practice of science in the 20th century; feminist philosophies of science; gendered cultures of science; representation of women and gender in science; bias in scientific knowledge; and bias in science education, high technology, and research environments.
Office hours: TBA
Time and place of the course:
Online, with required weekly lecture attendance and discussion (semi-asynchronous)
Bartsch and Lederman, eds. The Gender and Science Reader. New York: Routledge, 2001.
ISBN: 978-0415213585 (Hereafter referred to as “the reader.”)
Plus additional course readings posted in Blackboard
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Explain the major arguments about the representation of women in science.
2. Compare several schools of thought in regard to the study of scientific practice.
3. Evaluate competing versions and critiques of objectivity.
4. Explain the barriers to full participation in scientific practice.
5. Analyze and evaluate arguments and evidence in popular science literature using frameworks from feminist philosophy of science.
6. Evaluate the development of objects of scientific knowledge using course concepts.
7. Cultivate a curiosity about science and its role in democratic societies
Weekly lecture quizzes—10%.
Weekly discussion questions—30%.
Weekly reading responses—30%.
Progressive Project—3 x 10%.
Attendance: You must pass 70% of lecture quizzes AND earn a check or better on 70% of discussions or risk failure due to lack of attendance.
Two grading systems are employed in this course. For weekly reading responses and discussion, a “check” system will be used. For lecture quizzes and the progressive project, a traditional grading scale is used. These are described below.
“Informal” assessments, including the weekly reading responses and discussion, are graded on a check basis. Following instructions and demonstrating engagement with the course texts and course ideas will typically result in a “check.” Not meeting all the requirements as described on the syllabus and assignment, or not engaging closely with the readings or lecture will result in a “check minus.” If the assignment does not meet a majority of the requirements, does not cite correctly, or does not engage the readings, it will not earn credit. Particularly astute and well-crafted reading responses, or outstanding, frequent, focused, and courteous participation in discussion may earn a check plus.
X+ = check plus (100% credit) basis.
X = check (95% credit)
X- = check minus (half credit)
NC = no credit
Formal assessments and quizzes are graded on a traditional scale. Each installment of the Progressive Project will be assigned a letter grade. Lecture quizzes will be assessed using a point system, which maps to this scale (e.g., earning 9.5 points on a quiz can be understood as an A).
NB: EOU does not incorporate A+ into the grading scale, so the distinction between an A+ grade will be entered as A at the end of the term and will not make a difference in terms of GPA.
98 – 100 A+
94 – 97 A
90 – 93 A-
87 – 89 B+
84 – 86 B
80 – 83 B-
77 – 79 C+
70 – 76 C
60 – 69 D
00 – 59 F
All assignments are due at midnight Pacific Time on the date listed. Please upload them to Blackboard in .doc format or .pdf.
Late installments of the Progressive Project will be penalized by half a grade for every day or part thereof it is late. (For example, a B+ assignment would earn a B- if late by fewer than 24 hours, and a C+ if more than 24 hours late.) Late reading responses will be penalized by one step for each day late (for example, from check plus to check, or from check to check minus).
Lecture quizzes will only be available for one week. You may take the quiz at any point from the time the lecture becomes available until the end of the week. Discussion credit can only be earned in the window of time described in the discussion question. Continued discussion is encouraged, but you must post your initial response and follow up within the window.
Grading turn-around and feedback
Progressive Project installments will typically be returned to you with comments 8 to 12 days after the due date. These comments should be taken into consideration for revision and as a basis for office hours. Reading responses will typically be graded weekly, with minimal comments. Discussion participation will be assessed on-the-fly as time allows. If you are unsure if your participation level is sufficient, please check in with me at any time for advice and encouragement.
Detailed instructions for the Progressive Project, discussion, and reading responses will be posted. Pay close attention to these instructions as they will become the basis for the grading rubric. Assignments will be graded holistically, which means that all factors described in the instructions, in lectures, and on the discussion board will be taken into account. Students are encouraged to attend office hours in advance of the assignment in order to talk through assignments.
Weekly lecture quizzes—10%. Must pass 70% to meet attendance requirements. Watching/listening to all lectures within the weekly time frame is required. This activity supports all learning outcomes. It specifically supports Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 4.
Weekly discussion questions—30%. Actively and respectfully engage in relevant discussion on a weekly basis. Graded on a check system. Must pass 70% to meet attendance requirements. This activity supports all learning outcomes. It specifically supports Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.
Weekly reading responses—30%. Short reading responses demonstrate attention to the readings and prepare students for discussion questions. These are graded on a check system. This activity supports all learning outcomes. It specifically supports Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.
Progressive project—3 x 10%. Over the course of the term, students examine the scientific construction of an “object” or phenomenon, using the perspectives discussed in class, unpacking it in three successive papers that fold into a single final paper. Participation in the other three assessment activities is necessary to be fully prepared for this assignment. This activity supports all learning outcomes. It specifically supports Learning Outcomes 5, 6, and 7.
This course is a lecture and discussion-based course. Readings should be completed by the date listed (TBD by April 2). The lecture will become available on this date, and will assume that you have already done the reading. Respond to posted discussions after having completed the weekly reading and lecture, so that you can participate in an informed way.
Reading and Topic Schedule
**All readings found in The Reader unless otherwise noted**
Unit I: Beginnings.
Week 1. Representation in science and why it matters.
[There are a lot of articles for this week, but they are short.]
Ch. 1. Eisenhart and Finkel, “Women (Still) Need Not Apply”
Ch. 2. Brainard and Carlin, “A Six-Year Longitudinal Study of Undergraduate Women in Engineering and Science”
Ch. 3. Silverman, “NSF Employment Study Confirms Issues Facing Women, Minorities”
Ch. 4. Wenneras and Wold, “Nepotism and Sexism in Peer-Review”
Ch. 5. Hubbard, “Science and Science Criticism”
Ch. 6. Spanier, “How I Came to this Study”
Ch. 7. Keller, “From Working Scientist to Feminist Critic”
Ch. 15, Haraway, “Situated Knowledges” (pp. 169-173—just the first few pages)
Week 2. Gendered and racialized narratives in science and in society.
Ch. 8. Merchant, “Dominion over Nature”
Ch. 9. Bordo, “Selections from The Flight to Objectivity”
Ch. 10. Keller, “Secrets of God, Nature, and Life”
Ch. 11. National Academy of Sciences, “Methods and Values”
Keller, “The Gender/Science System, or Is Sex to Gender as Nature Is to Science?” (Blackboard)
Unit II: History of the studies of science; approaches to the study of scientific knowledge production
Week 3. Scientific concepts and constructs; philosophy of science and precursors to STS
Ch. 12. Begley, “The Science Wars”
Ch. 17. Longino, “Subjects, Power, and Knowledge: Description and Prescription in Feminist
Philosophy of Science”
Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective” (Blackboard)
Week 4. Feminist philosophy of science, standpoint theory, situated knowledges,
Ch. 14. Sandra Harding, “Feminist Standpoint Epistemology”
Ch. 15, Haraway, “Situated Knowledges”
Week 5. Feminist philosophy of science, continued: situated knowledges, agential realism.
Ch. 15, Haraway, “Situated Knowledges” (Yes, re-read.)
Ch. 17. Harding, “Is Science Multicultural? Challenges, Resources, Opportunities, Uncertainties”
Barad, “Agential Realism: Feminist Interventions in Understanding Scientific Practices” (Blackboard)
Unit III: Gendered challenges and case studies from scientific domains
Week 6. Women’s bodies as objects of knowledge.
Ch. 23. Meinert, “The Inclusion of Women in Clinical Trials”
Ch. 26. Fausto-Sterling, “Gender, Race, and Nation: The Comparative Anatomy of ‘Hottentot’
Women in Europe, 1815-1817”
(Some articles about gynecological experiments on enslaved African women by J. Marion Sims)
Martin, “Sperm and Egg” (Blackboard)
Week 7. The genders of scientists.
Ch. 19. Fausto-Sterling, “Life in the XY Corral”
Ch. 24. Birke, “In Pursuit of Difference: Scientific Studies of Women and Men”
Week 8. Biology, primatology, anthropology.
Weasel, “The Cell in Relation: An Ecofeminist Revision of Cell and Molecular Biology”
Terry, “‘Unnatural Acts’ in Nature: The Scientific Fascination with Queer Animals” (Blackboard)
Wylie, “The Engendering of Archaeology: Refiguring Feminist Science Studies” (Blackboard)
Week 9. Physics, computer science, and IT.
Ch. 30. Shulman, “Implications of Feminist Critiques of Science for the Teaching of Mathematics
Traweek, “Pilgrim’s Progress: Male Tales Told during a Life in Physics” (Blackboard)
Turkle, “What Are We Thinking About When We Are Thinking About Computers?” (Blackboard)
Barad, “Living in a Posthumanist Material World” (Blackboard)
Conclusion: Closing the circle.
Week 10. Representation and power in science today; challenges for the future.
Ch. 28. Whitelegg, “Girls in Science Education: Of Rice and Fruit Trees”
Ch. 33. Shiva, “Democratizing Biology: Reinventing Biology from a Feminist, Ecological, and
Third World Perspective”
Ch. 35. Rose, “Epilogue: Women’s Work is Never Done”
Statement on Academic Misconduct:
Eastern Oregon University places a high value upon the integrity of its student scholars. Any student found guilty of an act of academic misconduct (including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, or theft of an examination or supplies) may be subject to having his or her grade reduced in the course in question, being placed on probation or suspended from the University, or being expelled from the University—or a combination of these.
Please see Student Handbook at:
Statement on Americans with Disabilities:
If you have a documented disability or suspect that you have a learning problem and need accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Program in Loso Hall 234. Telephone: 962-3081.
Syllabus Prepared By:
Date: 6 May 2011