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Schenectady County Community College


Language, Women, and Gender
(HSS 230)


"The decisive argument against using masculine terms generically, however, is not that they are often inadequate and sometimes ridiculous, but that they perpetuate the cultural assumption that the male is the norm, the female a deviation."
--Casey Miller & Kate Swift, Words and Women


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COURSE DESCRIPTION
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READING LIST
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LINKS

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Language, Women, and Gender provides an introductory exploration of issues relating to the use of language by and about women. Specifically, we do several things in this course:
list bullet  We consider the power of language in structuring thought and perception.

list bullet  We analyze the extent to which language can structure gender.

list bullet  We analyze attitudes towards women and language held by both the lay and linguistic communities, and the effects of these attitudes on women's use of language.

list bullet  We examine the extent to which women and men may use language similarly and differently, and the theories that attempt to explain the similarities and differences.

list bullet  We consider the extent to which gender may play a role in reading and interpreting texts.

list bullet  We do all of the above with the understanding that gender can't be totally abstracted from other factors such as race, ethnicity, and socio-economic class.

PREREQUISITE: ENG 123 or a college composition course.

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diamond bullet  Course Reading List

Our reading list has included the following works:

list button  Allport, Gordon. "The Language of Prejudice." Language Awareness, 6th ed. Ed. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. New York: St. Martin's, 1994. 287-297.

list button  Baron, Dennis E. Grammar and Gender. New Haven: Yale UP, 1986. Selections.

list button  Coates, Jennifer. A Sociolinguistic Account of Sex Differences in Language. New York: Longman, 1986. Selections.

list button  Frank, Francine and Frank Anshen. Language and the Sexes. Albany: SUNY P, 1983. Selections.

list button  Graddol, David and Joan Swann. Gender Voices. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989. Selections.

list button  Hayakawa, S.I. and Alan R. Hayakawa. "Words with Built-in Judgments." Language Awareness, 6th ed. Ed. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. New York: St. Martin's 1994. 298-302.

list button  Hutson, C. Kirk. "'Whackety Whack, Don't Talk Back': The Glorification of Violence Against Females and the Subjugation of Women in Nineteenth-Century Southern Folk Music." Journal of Women's History 8.3 (1996): 114-142.

list button  Kramer, Cheris. "Women's Speech: Separate But Unequal." Language and Sex: Difference and Dominance. Ed. Barrie Thorne and Nancy Henley. Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1975. 43-56.

list button  Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: U Chicago P, 1980. Selections.

list button  Lakoff, Robin Tolmach. Talking Power: The Politics of Language. New York: Basic, 1990. Selections.

list button  Martyna, Wendy. "The Psychology of the Generic Masculine." Women and Language in Literature and Society. Ed. Sally McConnell-Ginet, Ruth Borker, and Nelly Furman. New York: Praeger, 1980. 69-79.

list button  Miller, Casey and Kate Swift. Words and Women: New Language in New Times, updated ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1991. Selections.

list button  Morahan, Shirley. "Definition." A Woman's Place. Albany: SUNY P, 1981. 52-67.

list button  Pearson, Judy and Roberta Davilla. "The Gender Construct: Understanding Why Men and Women Communicate Differently." Women and Men Communicating: Challenges and Changes. Ed. Laurie P. Arliss and Deborash J. Borisoff. New York: Harcourt, 1993. 1-4.

list button  Schulz, Muriel R. "The Semantic Derogation of Woman." The Feminist Critique of Language. Ed. Deborah Cameron. New York: Routledge, 1990. 134-147.

list button  Spender, Dale. "Language and Reality: Who Made the World?" Man Made Language, 2nd. ed. New York: HarperCollins/Pandora, 1990. 138-162.

list button  Swacker, Marjorie. "The Sex of the Speaker as a Sociolinguistic Variable." Language and Sex: Difference and Dominance. Ed. Barrie Thorne and Nancy Henley. Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1975. 76-83.

list button  Tannen, Deborah. "Wears Jump Suit. Sensible Shoes. Uses Husband's Last Name." Signs of Life in the USA: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers. Ed. Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon. Boston: Bedford: 1994. 629-634.



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Links to Some Related Web Sites

click here for link  The Language and Gender Page (http://www-english/tamu.edu/pers/fac/bucholtz/lng/).
This resource page on language and gender studies offers links to: e-mail addresses and web pages of scholars in the field; professional organizations; conference calls for papers; publications; and other resources, including syllabi.

click here for link  Gender-Free Pronoun FAQ (http://www.lumina.net/OLD/gfp/)

click here for link  The Epicene Pronouns: A Chronology of the Word That Failed (http://www.english.uiuc.edu/baron/essays/epicene.htm)
On this webpage, Denis Baron chronicles the searches in English for an epicene, or gender-neutral, pronoun.

click here for link  A Person Paper on Purity in Language by William Satire (alias Douglas R. Hofstadter)(http://umunhum.stanford.edu/~gere/satire.html)
This piece by Douglas Hofstadter, excerpted from his Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern, makes its point by setting up an analogy between racism and sexism. Hofstadter is the author of the Pulitzer-prize-winning book Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid.

click here for link  He, She, and It (http://kith.org/logos/words/lower2/eepicene.html)
Jed Hartman's article about gender-neutral pronouns is part of his online column about words and wordplay called "Words & Stuff."

click here for link  Watch Your Language! A Mini-Workshop Addressing the Role of Language in Gender Issues (http://www.cs.rice.edu/~dcamp/talks/watchLanguage.html)

click here for link  The Chair and Who Sits in It: Gender and Language (http://www.eyeonwomen.com/languag.htm)

click here for link  Resources for Women's Studies C92-3: Language and Gender (http://www.library.nwu.edu/class/womenstu/C92-3/c923sug.html)


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diamond bullet  Back to My Homepage for:

click here for list of links to Rhetoric websites  Links to Rhetoric Sites     click here for list of links to Women's Studies websites  Links to Women's Studies Sites     click here for list of C.J. Ostrowski's SCCC courses  List of SCCC Courses


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Last updated: 24 January 2002 by Constance J. Ostrowski
SCCC Humanities & Social Sciences Department