PHL/WGS 167: Race, Gender and Sexuality

Winter 2003


Dr. Jami Anderson

Office: French Hall 540E

Office Hours: WF 12:00-1:00

phone: 766-6650


web page:


This course has two goals.  The first goal is to provide students with the opportunity to think analytically about gender, sex, and race issues.  We will study how our conceptions of race, sex and gender affect our conceptions of ourselves and others, and how these conceptions construct and perpetuate the social roles of men and women in our society.  The second goal is to critically examine social issues affected by race, gender and sexuality, such as: conceptions of beauty, racial and sexual stereotypes, racial and sexual harassment, pornography, sexual violence and inequality.  In examining these social issues, students will learn how to think critically so that they can form their own viewpoints on policies aimed at ending social injustices.  Although this course is intellectually challenging, it assumes no background knowledge in either race and gender theory or philosophical methodology.


Information about my grading methodology and race, gender and sexuality resources, is available on my web page.


Required Text: 


Race, Gender, and Sexuality: Philosophical Issues of Identity and Justice (ed. Anderson)


Course Requirements:


Grade Scale:                

                                    B+  87-89.9                 C+  77-79.9                 D+  67-69.9

A    95-100                  B    84-86.9                 C    74-76.9                 D    64-66.9

A-  90-94.9                 B-   80-83.9                 C-   70-73.9                D-   60-63.9


Extra credit is not possible at any time for anyone under any circumstances.


midterm and final exam: These exams will require students to demonstrate an understanding of key philosophical terms used in the course as well as demonstrate a knowledge of the central debates discussed during class.  Questions will be short-answer and essay.  Both exams are open book and notes.  Each exam is worth 15% of the course grade.


article write-ups: Students are required to write a short essay that describes the main ideas of each assigned article and court case.  (Write ups of chapter introductions are not accepted.)  The essays are due in class on the day for which the article is assigned when you arrive to class.  These essays should be about 200-250 words long, and must be typed (double-spaced).  Handwritten essays are only very reluctantly accepted.  While I realize that circumstances arise that make access to a computer/typewriter impossible, please do not make a habit of handing in handwritten essays.  Students who miss class may not hand in the essay later.  (If you anticipate missing a class, you may turn in the essay PRIOR to the class you will miss.  You can e-mail the write-up to me if you will not be on campus the day it is due.  However, it must be e-mailed prior to class.)   


25 articles and 17 court cases are assigned; 25 write ups are required.  The write-ups will count for a total of 45% of the course grade.


Each essay will be graded using the following scale:


4: demonstrates an understanding of the important idea(s) of the article

3: demonstrates a familiarity with the main idea(s) of the article

2: demonstrates a familiarity with at least one idea in the article

1: demonstrates some understanding of the article

0: demonstrates no understanding of the article; did not hand in a write-up


Discussion participation:  Once a week students are required to post a response to a “Case Study” question, which are found at the end of each chapter in the textbook.  Each case study provides a brief description of a situation or event relevant to the issues we are discussing that week.  Each case study is followed by several discussion questions.  You are required to answer only one question to one case study per week.  The web postings will count for a total of 25% of the course grade. 


You get to this address via my web page:


As you write your answer, keep in mind that the point of writing a posting is to initiate thoughtful and dispassionate discussion.  This will not happen if you fail to make it clear which case you are writing about or which question you are answering.  Moreover, it is not enough to merely answer the question, you must also give a reason for that answer.  Your reason does not have to be lengthy, but it must be there.  It is pointless simply to write “Yes, he should” or “No, he is wrong” as such an answer is not a philosophical discussion. 


One post is to be made during the first half of the week (after Sunday at midnight and before Wednesday at midnight).  The other post is to be made the second half of the week (after Wednesday at midnight and before Sunday at midnight).  Please keep in mind that you are not permitted to skip weeks and then “load up” by writing several post at the end of the semester.  Posts will be graded on a pass/fail basis and you will receive 1 point for every post that “passes.”  14 posts are required so your participation grade will be determined by dividing the number of points you earn by 14.


The first post will be due Sunday, January 12 at midnight; the last will be due Sunday, April 20, at midnight.


Academic Expectations: It is expected that all work turned in by the student will be his or her own work.  Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and will be penalized by an appropriate action.  Such actions include: failing the assignment, failing the course, and/or being expelled from the university. 


Course Schedule:


1/6: introduction to course

1/8: Chapter 1 introduction: sex and gender identity

1/10: The Five Sexes 

1/12: deadline for case study post (chapter 1: A, B or C)


1/13: The Other Questions

1/15: Are Lesbians Women?

1/17: Littleton v. Prange

1/19: deadline for case study post (chapter 1: D, E or F)


1/20:  no classes scheduled

1/22:  Chapter 2 introduction: sex and sexuality

1/24:  The Homosexual Role

1/26: deadline for case study post (chapter 2: A or B)


1/27:  The Thing Of It Is

1/29:  Male Lesbians and the Postmodernist Body

1/31:  Bowers v. Hardwick

2/2: deadline for case study post (chapter 2: C or D)


2/3:  Chapter 3 introduction: Race and Ethnicity

2/5:  Du Bois and the Invention of Race

2/7:  Whiteness Is…

2/9: deadline for case study post (chapter 3: A or B)


2/10:  But What are You Really? (pages 173-183)

2/12:  But What are You Really?, (pages 183-193)

2/14:  court cases pages 194-199

2/16: deadline for case study post (chapter 3: C or D)


2/17:  midterm exam

2/19:  Chapter 4 introduction: Racism; Racisms

2/21:  Uplifting the Race

2/23: deadline for case study post (chapter 4: A, B or C)


2/24-2/28:  Winter Break—No Classes


3/3:  Decision Making

3/5:  Cowboys and…

3/7:  McCleskey v. Kemp

3/9: deadline for case study post (chapter 4: D, E or F)


3/10:  Chapter 5 introduction: Sexism; Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex 

3/12:  Mammies, Matriarchs, and Other Controlling Images

3/14:  Oppression By Choice

3/16: deadline for case study post (chapter 5: A, B, C, D or E)


3/17:  court cases pages 319-329

3/19:  Chapter 6 introduction: Heterosexism and Homophobia; Gay Basics 

3/21:  Gender Treachery

3/23: deadline for case study post (chapter 6: A, B or C)


3/24: A Unique Propensity to Engage in Homosexual Acts

3/26: court cases pages 368-386

3/28: Chapter 8 introduction: Discriminatory Harassment; Crimes Against Humanity

3/30: deadline for case study post (chapter 6: D or E)


3/31: court cases pages 465-476

4/2:  Introduction to Chapter 9: Identity Speech and Political Speech; If He Hollers Let Him Go

4/4: court cases pages 496-506 

4/6: deadline for case study post (chapter 8: A, B, C or D)


4/7:  The Outing Controversy 

4/9:  Coming Out, Outing and the Right to Privacy

4/11: Sipple v. Chronicle Publishing Company

4/13: deadline for case study post (chapter 9: A, B, C, D, E or F)


4/14: Introduction to Chapter 10: Sexual Assault; Is Rape Sex or Violence?

4/16: Deconstructive Strategies and the Movement Against Sexual Violence

4/18: court cases pages 591-608

4/20: deadline for case study post (chapter 11: A, B, C, D or E)


4/21: no class meeting

4/23: Final Exam, 7:45-10:15