This course will focus on how women in Ancient and Western civilizations have been depicted in art and literature over the centuries.  We will explore how these images have changed as the roles and activities of women have changed in politics, economics, religion and the arts.  We will also examine current cultural images of women.

Shoreline Community College is fully committed to cultural pluralism and as a part of its mission and goals we have developed a multicultural outcome for students that states: "In order to function effectively in a multicultural society, successful students will demonstrate an understanding of issues related to race, gender and culture and the role these issues play in the distribution of power and privilege."  It is one of the intentions of this course to help students begin to achieve that outcome.

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Learning Outcomes for Humanities 275:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Articulate how women have been portrayed in art and in oral and written literature in different time periods in Ancient and Western civilizations.
  • Analyze pieces of art and literature in terms of their specific cultural messages.
  • Articulate how these images impacted the development of women's roles and activities over time.
  • Identify and explain significant historical events and changes that have impacted women's politically, economically, socially, religiously.
  • Analyze current images of women in various art and literary genres in terms of their cultural messages.
  • Communicate effectively in oral presentations using college-level English.
  • Communicate effectively in written work using college-level English.

  1. Classroom Behavior — I give students unconditional respect by listening to them, by taking seriously what they say, by responding to them in positive ways, and by creating a safe environment for their learning experiences. I expect that students will give this same respect in return, both to me and to each other. Please do not talk whicle I or others are trying to communicate with the members of the class.
  2. Attendance — This class requires that you participate in class activities and discussions. Obviously, if you are absent, you cannot participate. There is also a huge amount of research on student learning which shows the direct correlation between attending and participating in class and students' learning of material. I take attendace every day. You are responsible to sign in every day. If you are absent more than three times, you will seriously jepardize your ability to pass this class.
  3. Cell Phones — TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES WHILE YOU ARE IN CLASS. This is not optional. If you need to leave them on for emergency contact reasons, put them on silent ring.
  4. Plagarism — Plagiarism involves using the words or ideas of others as if they were your own. Getting so much help on a paper that it is no longer your own work also constitutes plagiarism. And, of course, turning in a paper you did not write/research yourself is also plagiarism. The penalty for this will be a failing grade on the paper and this can lead to your failing the class. Please don't try it- it is never worth the risk. If you have problems meeting an assignment, talk to me first.
  5. Food/drink in class — It is fine to bring coffee, etc. to class, but you must be careful not to spill anything, to be unobtrusive, and to clean up after yourself when you leave the classroom. Otherwise, you will loose this privilege.
  6. Late Assignments — All assignments are due at the beginning of the class period for which they have been assigned. Any late assignment will receive a penalty of 10% deducted for each day it is late.
Take-Home Essay Test on Goddesses with Worksheets(4-5 pages)200 points
Saints/Women of the Bible Presentation(15 minutes)150 points
Hymns of Praise Writing/Art Projects(50 pts. x 2)100 points
Women's History Quarter Project200 points
Final Group Project Presentation(30 minutes)250 points
Group Work/Class Participation(10 weeks x 10 pts.)100 points
Total 1000 Points

Take-Home Essay Test on Goddesses and Worksheet
(150 pts. for Essay + 50 pts. for Worksheet = 200 pts.)

You will find the worksheets for this assignment in your course packet. You should fill them out as you do the readings on Goddesses from around the world for the first three weeks. You are asked about ALL the Goddesses, but choose 25 of them for your worksheets, selecting ones that speak to you most strongly or that you find most interesting or even puzzling. (Note: You must have at least 1-2 Goddesses from each culture studied so that you have a well-rounded worksheet to use when writing your Take-Home Essay Test.) As you finish each day’s readings, fill in basic information about the Goddesses you have chosen for the day and respond to the other questions listed. DO NOT WAIT until after you do the readings to complete this worksheet. You will forget too much information and waste time trying to find it all again. Use these worksheets as a note-taking device to use in preparation for your Take-Home Essay Test. You must turn in the completed worksheets with your essay. These worksheets are worth 50 points of your grade for the essay test.

The Take-Home Essay Test requires that you use your worksheet and the readings from the first three weeks, that you think critically about what you have read, and that you make connections between the ideas you are reading about and the larger culture in which you operate. This paper has specific instructions that you need to follow closely. It will be handed to you on a Thursday and it will be due on the following Tuesday. Check the dates for this on the calendar so that you can plan ahead to leave yourself enough time to complete the essay test.

Saints/Women of the Bible Presentation:
(Groups of 3 students, 15-minute presentation, Peer Evaluation = 150 points)

Part I
Choose another (different) Goddess from earlier in the quarter and compare/contrast her to one saint or one woman from the Bible. (Note: Your group cannot select Mary or eve because we will be discussing them in some depth in class.) How are they similar/different? Present visual and/or written images of them all in class and be prepared to “decode” the images in the stories and images for all the other students. What are the basic cultural messages in the stories and images of each one? What is the purpose of each in the culture? (7-8 minutes = 70 points)

Part II
Identify specific ways that each of these female spiritual leaders was used to model/impose behaviors of/toward women. (3-4 minutes = 35 points)

Part III
Conclude the presentation with a well-supported thesis from your group about whether there is a place or purpose in contemporary U.S. culture for these saints and women of the Bible. Can they serve to teach you/us anything? Would they be good role models? Which ones? If so, for what? If not, who would teach you the lessons they have to teach? (Note: You will be asked to evaluate yourself and the other members of your group for their contributions toward this presentation, 20 points of your grade will come from this peer evaluation.)

Hymns of Praise Writing/Art Projects
(50 points x 2 projects)
This assignment requires you to think about yourself and the women in your life as Goddesses. You will be asked to write a hymn of praise about someone and then follow this up with a fun art project related to it. Specific instructions will be handed out in class.

Women’s History Quarter Project
(200 points individual or group)
Traditionally, March is Women’s History Month. However, because Winter quarter finals and spring break fall in the middle of March, and because many people on the college campus don’t believe a month is sufficient time to celebrate and honor women, the entire quarter has been unofficially deemed Women’s History Quarter! This assignment gives you unique opportunities to shape, create and participate in these activities.

The requirements are as follows:

  1. The focus of the activity/even must revolve around showcasing positive images/role models of women. (The activity/event itself is worth 150 points.)
  2. You must assume that you or each of the members in your group will contribute 10 hours of work toward this project. This work may involve using various skills making the appropriate contacts and arranging times and places, interviewing people, creating images, sitting at information tables, attending meetings with people on campus, organizing others and keeping track of dates and due dates, etc. Capitalize on your strengths and choose to do work in the project at which you excel.
  3. A formal 2-page proposal, (worth 50 points) which describes in detail
    • What the even/project/activity will be exactly.
    • What the goals/outcomes of the project are.
    • When and where it will take place and who the target audience is.
    • Exactly what each student in the group will do to fulfill the 10-hour work requirement.
    • How the even/project/activity meets the goal of showcasing positive images/role models of women.
  4. I must approve all projects before they move forward!
(Remember that the college has two campuses, the main one in Shoreline and another campus located at Lake Forest Park.)

Some suggestions:
  • Join the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA) student club for the quarter and participate in their meetings/activities. They meet once a week for approximately one hour. (During Spring 06, the FMLA will be meeting Mondays 12:30-1:30.)
  • Bring in a speaker or organizing a forum of women speakers on a relevant topic (making contact, organizing space and times, creating publicity, setting up a space etc.)
  • Organizing a Women’s Words of Fire Literature Reading on campus.
  • Doing information tables and putting up images of strong women across campus.
  • Finding out about curses and women on campus who radiate strong images and/or serve as good role models and make the Goddesses for a Day, (or Week or whatever).
  • Create a Timeline of Women and put it up on campus as/or volunteer to speak about women/Goddesses/Saints/Sheroes in classes.
  • Do a Guerilla girls type of activity in which your group goes to classes and reads/speaks about women in all fields.
Use your imaginations!

Final Group Project/Presentation:
(Groups of 5-6 students, 30 minute presentation, Peer Evaluations = 250 pts.)
For this presentation, you will work in groups of 5-6 students. You will be given on three opportunities to meet during class time so be prepared to meet at least three times outside of class during the quarter. For this project, your group will choose a TV show which features a woman or several women prominently. Your choice of show must be approved by me. You will need to tape record at lest 6 episodes of this show. Your job will be to analyze the women on the show using the model of analysis in Inness’s book Though Girls as well as all the tools you have read about and learned this quarter. Your goal is to decode the images of women you find. Ask yourself the following questions:

-Who is the intended audience for this show? How old are they? What is their income bracket? What is their ethnicity? Sexual orientation? Political stance (conservative, liberal etc)? Gender? Education level? With or without children? What are their occupations?

-Who are the characters on this show? How old are they? What are their income brackets? Ethnicity? Sexual orientation? Political stance? Gender? Education level? With or without children? Occupations?

-How would you describe the women on the show? What are their character traits and arenas of power? How do they compare to those of the men on their show? Be very specific.

-Are there certain behaviors that get rewarded and punished? Who displays these behaviors? Are the messages mixed or ambiguous? Positive or negative?

-What are the cultural messages to men and women about each other? What are the specific “shoulds” and “should nots” for the characters? How are these social norms enforced on women?

For your Final Project Presentation, you should present your groups analysis of the show you choose in a clear organized way. You will give your presentations during the last week of class and during Final Exam time. Each presentation will last 30 minutes. You must have the following in your presentation:

  1. Clear division of labor.
  2. An edited video tape of organized clips chosen from all your episodes to serve as evidence of the points you will make.
  3. A clear thesis at the beginning of your presentation listing your major findings.
  4. A clear, organized presentation of your feelings.
  5. Other visual material including handouts and/or transparencies to keep your ideas organized for the students listening.
  6. Printed copies of interviews with actors, directors, etc. that you feel might shed light on the show for students listening.
Of the 250 points available for this final project presentation, 50 points of the grade will be for you to give to other students in your group. These group participation points should be awarded to each student based on the work and ideas each student contributed to the process.

Some suggestions for shows to analyze:
  • Charmed
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Alias
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent
  • CSI: Vegas or Miami or New York
  • Powerpuff Girls
  • Law & Order
  • West Wing
Group Work/Class Participation
(10 weeks x 10 pts. = 100 pts.)
Since you can not participate in ANY activity unless your are present, this part of your grade will be based on 1) your class attendance and 2) on your active participation in written and spoken group activities. Attendance will be taken daily.