COMM 3420 Gender and Communication

Instructor Contact:

Elyse Janish
elyse.janish@colorado.edu

About the Course:

From the general course catalog: this course examines gender as a social practice that remains vital to identities, relationships, and institutions in contemporary society. Treats gender as something we do or enact through communication, rather than as something we are or have, and explores the implications of this shift in perspective. Investigates how gender interacts with sexuality, race, class, nation, age, ability, and other aspects of identity.

This class explores the relationship between gender and communication, encouraging critical thinking about the how, when, where, and why of gender both as a force of communication, and as shaped by communication.  In this class, we will interrogate not just how gender impacts communication, but also how communication constitutes our gendered identities.  Students will explore questions such as:

  • Where does gender come from?
  • Why do we have two primary genders?
  • What is gender normativity, gender queer, and gender nonconformity?
  • How is gender related to race, socioeconomic status, sexuality, ability, and other elements of our social identities?
  • How is gender implicated in hegemony, oppression, and power?
  • Does gender have a history?
  • And many more.

By interrogating these and other themes, we will always be aiming toward the larger goal of understanding the connections between communication and gender in our daily lives.

Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Develop a critical vocabulary for analyzing how gender is constructed and normalized through language, communicative norms, and cultural patterns;
  • Understand the interconnectedness of gender, sexuality, race, and identity;
  • Differentiate between gender norms in different eras and settings;
  • Apply theoretical concepts addressed in readings to diverse phenomena;
  • Develop and apply critical analytical skills.

Required Textbook:

This course involves intensive reading and writing. All reading materials are available on Canvas; there is no text book.

Grading:

Grade item Number of Instances Points per Instance Total points
Discussions (normal) 5 20 100
Discussion (timeline) 3 10 30
Journals 5 20 100
Reading Guides 3 15 45
Workplace Interview 1 25 25
Midterm Project 1 100 100
Final Portfolio 1 150 150
Participation/Citizenship 1 50 50
total: 600

Assignments will be assessed in the following manner:

  • Discussions
    • Initial post: 10 points. Complete, thorough answer with interesting analysis and direct connections to course readings and content. Excellent answers take the time to elaborate and bring in outside examples, and/or are exceptionally insightful and provide unique perspectives on the prompts and materials.
    • Responses: 2 @ 5 points each. Responses must be content-based; merely agreeing with or complimenting a peer will not suffice. Full points to those responses with add to, complicate, question, and otherwise critically engage with the preceding post(s). Conversational style responses are encouraged. Excellent engagement in responses will be considered when assessing participation scores.
  • Timeline Discussion
    • The timeline discussion is our Unit 2 discussion board and it will be formatted and graded differently than the other units’ discussion boards.
    • There are three parts to this discussion board, and you will gain access to each new part upon completing the one before it.
    • Each part of the discussion board is worth 10 points. Grading criteria will be released with the assignment details during Unit 2.
  • Journals
    • Completeness: Were all parts of the prompt addressed?
    • Honest engagement: Does the journal entry reflect a sincere and good-faith effort to engage in reflective thinking?
    • Relevance: Is the writing on-topic and connected well to the topics of the class?
  • Midterm Project rubric will be made available when assignment details are released)
    • Completeness: Were all parts of the prompt addressed?
    • Critical Thinking: Does the project reflect critical engagement with the prompt, course materials, and the student’s experiences?
    • Organization/polish: Is the project presented in a professional, elegant manner? Is it easy to understand?
  • Final Portfolio (rubric will be made available when assignment details are released)
    • Completeness: Were all parts of the prompt addressed?
    • Critical Thinking: Does the project reflect critical engagement with the prompt, course materials, and the student’s experiences?
    • Organization/polish: Is the project presented in a professional, elegant manner? Is it easy to understand?
  • Participation
    • Because this course requires a lot of personal reflection and honest, sometimes difficult dialog, students are expected be engaged and thorough in their contributions.
    • 5 points of course participation comes from the completion of the Syllabus and Course Introduction Quiz.
    • 15 points of course participation comes from participating in “Discussion 0: Our Gendered Selves.”
    • The remaining 30 points of this category are earned through demonstrating strong participation, which come through several means:
      • Exceeding expectations on discussion boards by being a leader and fostering excellent conversation, and/or bringing in outside readings, examples, and materials.
      • Exceeding expectations on journals by demonstrating that you have read some of the additional materials for the unit, and/or embedding outside examples and materials.
      • Requesting and attending office hours meetings.
      • Non-required community building like organizing study groups and materials, posting to the “General Discussion” board with real world connections/questions, etc.

 

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Hours

Monday – Friday
7:30am to 4:30pm

Location

We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.

Map

1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado
80309-0178