Syllabi and Assignments

These syllabi and assignments reflect some of the ways that instructors have incorporated GFP materials into classes that span a broad range of disciplines and topics. 

SYLLABI

Psychology of Social Change: Gender and Global Feminisms
Dr. Abigail J. Stewart
This course (Psychology and Women's Studies) focuses on two aspects of social change through the lenses of gender and global feminisms. First, students consider how individuals generally, and feminists in particular, are shaped by changing political and economic conditions, especially during times of upheaval and rapid social transformation. Second, students examine how and why some individuals become engaged in creating social change (and others do not). The course draws on theoretical literature in feminist theory and in the social sciences and on studies of the impact of social events on individuals and the role of individuals in creating social change; it also incorporates extensively the interviews from the GFP archive. 

Our Complex Selves: The Intersecting Identities of Gender, Sexuality, Race, and Ethnicity
Dr. Janice M. Habarth
Prof. Habarth taught this introductory composition class in Winter 2008 and assigned the Sista II Sista video and excerpts of the transcript (pp. 1-8 and 18-21) to introduce students to the concept of intersectionality, about mid-way through the semester. Prof. Habarth asked the students to think about how race, gender, and class contribute to the two women's identities.

Women's Studies Capstone Seminar
Deborah Keller-Cohen
This course is for graduating seniors in Women's Studies and encourages students to examine their training in feminist theory in relation to life beyond graduation. Prof. Keller-Cohen pairs the video of Grace Lee Boggs with a reading from Shulamit Reinharz's Feminist Methods in Social Research (1992). See January 25th topic.

Advanced Topics in Women's and Gender Studies: Chinese Feminisms in a Global World
Dorothy Ko, Chinese History (Barnard College)
Prof. Ko taught this upper-level history seminar in 2007. The course examines the entanglements between discourses of feminism and modernity in China, building on the premise that these divergent conversations are worth listening to, but that to do so the historian needs to retrain her ears. The reading list is comprised almost exclusively of writings by Chinese scholars, some originally presented in English and others in translation. The challenge the course presents is to confront their unfamiliarity or even illegibility, to place them in proper historical contexts, and to tune in to their absences (what they have deliberately or inadvertently left out). As such, this seminar is an exercise in sympathetic listening coupled with analytic distance. In the first two weeks, the course uses the ten China interviews to introduce students to this notion of listening to the materials with a different sensibility.

Approaches to Feminist Scholarship in the Social Sciences
Jayati Lal
This course in sociology, first taught in 2004, charts feminist approaches to scholarship in the social sciences. It is designed to familiarize graduate students with the methodologies that have been deployed in the process of researching questions of gender across the social science disciplines, as well as to understand the linkages between core theoretical movements (such as poststructuralism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism) that have affected feminist thinking over the past two decades, and the challenges that they pose for the practice of feminist inquiry in the social sciences. Prof. Lal used the video of Neera Desai's interview in conjunction with writings by Desai about feminism in India (see March 8th).

Feminist Practices in a Global Context
Wang Zheng
This history course uses interviews from across the four original country sites (China, India, Poland, and the USA) to reflect on a comparative approach to the investigation of particular historical processes of women's movements in the three countries, the United States, India, and China. Focusing on the feminist activism in the three countries, this course attempts to ground our understanding of globalization in local history, and to present in a concrete way that feminisms have histories and meanings that extend far beyond the North American continent. By comparison, we also hope to illuminate the cultural parameters of each location that have shaped various feminist practices.

 

ASSIGNMENTS

Dr. Elizabeth Cole
Undergraduate class in Pscychology
Exploration. Search for and observe an example of feminist activism in practice. You may go to a rally or demonstration (as an observer), attend a meeting of a group, or watch a videotaped interview with an activist (https://globalfeminisms.umich.edu/). You will then write a 3-page response paper for your experience describing:

  • How does the group or the activist conceptualize the problem they aim to address?
  • What are their goals?
  • What strategies/tactics does the group use to achieve its goals?
  • How does the activist or group address the ways that gender intersects with other statuses such as race, class, sexual orientation, etc.?
     

Dr. Ram Mahalingam
Undergraduate class in Pscychology
Choose a life narrative of one activist from each site and compare the narratives by focusing either on specific themes or major life events. Using an intersectionality perspective, discuss how various intersecting identities (e.g., culture, generational, social class, and sexuality) shaped the lives of these four activists. In the final section of the paper, reflect on the ways you could relate or find any overlap between your personal life and the four life histories you analyzed. 
 

Dr. Shelly Grabe:
Graduate seminar on Transnational Feminism in Women's Studies
Your final paper will be based on the Global Feminisms Project, which is a collaborative international project that examines the history of feminist activism, women's movements, and academic women's studies around the globe. You have several options for how you might use the data in this archive:

  1. You can do a cultural comparison - variation across cultures in terms of how women from these four countries negotiated patriarchal norms, political socialization, and resilience.
  2. You could examine how cultures and social structures shape empowerment strategies. For instance, the women activists’ narratives from China focus on how these activists negotiated gender within their party expectations. They discuss gender with reference to communist party. Choose 4 different narratives to compare.
  3. You could focus on intra-cultural variations in the narratives. India and USA are good examples.
  4. You could examine generational shifts in women's narratives. For example Grace Lee Boggs (USA site) was one of the oldest people in the group (she was 88 when interviewed for the project in 2003, and died at 100 years old in 2015).
  5. The transcripts are also coded thematically. You could do a comparative study using the themes. For example, you may choose to do a context analysis across country sites. Choose a topic (e.g., sexual identity development, activist identity, motives of leaders) and use one of the GFP interviews for a content analysis.