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Course Information

Instructor Info:Smita Ramnarain
TA Info:Shannon Fairorth
Term: 2013S
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 104
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 104

Recent decades have seen unprecedented changes in the economic landscape of most developing nations. This course examines the gendered sites, processes and consequences of some of these changes: the spread of neoliberalism, the increased hold of globalization, the growing rampancy of economic and political crises, war and humanitarian disasters, and increasing disillusionment with the erstwhile promises of development. Using the entry point of gender, we will not only revisit age-old issues such as the international and intra-household division of labor, unequal access to resources, the impact of welfare cuts, economic crisis, and the feminization of migration, but also expand our analysis to new sites of upheaval such as the milieu of globalization, post-conflict and post-socialist transitions, environmental change, and popular movements for change/resistance. Throughout the course, the close nexus between economic, social and cultural processes will be explored. The course is appropriate for students interested in working in the area of international development, and for those concentrating in social science who would like an advanced introduction to the growing literature on gender in global development.

Course Objectives:
  1. To examine gender, its categories, norms and relations, in different spaces and sites of transition in the global economy – technological, political and economic.
  2. To examine women’s lives and experiences in these contexts of extensive economic restructuring and global transition.
  3. To study empirical literature (a) on the impacts of global economic restructuring and globalization on women and men, (b) on the continued marginalization of different types of women’s work within the global economy, (c) on the interaction of gender with class, caste and race to produce specific contexts of oppression and/or agency, and (d) on intra-gender hierarchies newly constituted and refashioned through globalization processes.
  4. To make connections between theory and practice and think about spaces of individual and collective resistance, and how development agendas may be shaped to reflect feminist concerns.
Evaluation Criteria:
  1. Attendance. Only two absences over the course of the semester will be allowed. If you plan to miss a class, and you are within your two allowed absences, you are excused. Any more absences, for whatever reason and whether or not you share these reasons with me, are to be considered unexcused, and will be mentioned in your evaluation. If you have more than four absences, you will not receive an evaluation regardless of the reason for the absences (except in cases of serious illness where a doctor’s note or documentation can be produced). Attendance is *mandatory* on April 11 and April 16. If you miss class on either of these two days, you will jeopardize your evaluation for the course.
  2. Reading before class. You are expected to come to class having read the assigned material and done the associated work.
  3. Class Work/Homework (15). Most classes will involve an in-class free-write or a homework response based on the readings to be handed in at the end of class. The homework response will consist of either sending in questions on the reading, or a short essay engaging with specific themes in the readings, or a short group presentation on a reading. This is a measure to ensure close reading of the assigned material and class participation. These pieces will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis as an indication of effort and understanding of/engagement with the ideas in the reading. At least 10 ‘passes' are needed for your questions, response papers or short presentation in the final portfolio for an evaluation. [Incomplete and shoddily done responses receive a Fail; if you see no P on the front page of the paper, it is a ‘fail’. You can revise a ‘fail’ for it to count, however, and include both the old and the revised version in your final portfolio.]

For group response activities, please pull your weight! If you are deadweight, it will affect your evaluation seriously.

  1. Informed participation in class discussion. The course is structured like a seminar. Substantive and relevant contributions to class discussion – as an individual or in a group when the activity is group-based – are expected through the course of the semester and will be an essential aspect of your evaluation.
  2. Final project. The course involves the development of a final paper on a relevant theme. This paper will be developed over the course of the semester, with the following elements due on given dates:
    1. Outline: a one-page discussion of the overall theme and the basic questions that the project/paper will look into.
    2. Annotated Bibliography: of relevant readings and literature the project/paper will engage with.
    3. Draft for peer-review: Initial draft of paper that will be subjected to a peer-review process.
    4. Final write-up of project paper (with revisions etc.) at the end of the semester: To be included in the final portfolio.
Additional Info:

Classroom comportment: The following rules will apply in terms of in-class behavior.

1. Please be on time. The course starting time is 9:00 am. Not 9:05, not 9:10, and definitely not any later. If you are going to be later than 10:35 am, I suggest forgoing class and dealing with the consequences. Late entrance is disruptive and disrespectful to your peers as well as the instructor.

2. Switch off all electronic devices. Make sure your phone is switched off. I reserve the right to answer any phone that rings or beeps during class or to seize any phone being used for texting during class. I do not allow laptops in the classroom. E-readers may be used with the wireless turned off. Please print readings out and bring them to class.

3. Come to class prepared. Read the assigned materials carefully to prepare for class. Signing up for this class is a commitment you must uphold each week by preparing for class.

4. In class, be attentive. Physical presence is one thing, mental engagement is another. Pay attention to what is going on, so you can participate effectively and learn actively.Make this class count.

5.Listen before speaking! Please raise your hand to say something.  This is a fairly basic rule for classroom engagement. Raise your hand if you want to speak and wait to be called upon. Do not interrupt someone else, even if the argument is very problematic or not to your liking. Make your point respectfully, even if expressing vehement disagreement. Say something like, “I vehemently disagree with so-and-so because…”.

6. At the same time, do not go on forever (yes, this happens).Remember that you share the classroom space and the class time with others who might also want their points of view to be heard/ discussed. As far as possible, try to articulate your argument effectively – without rambling, without long dramatic pauses etc. – so that everyone may have a chance to speak. Try to respond to what has been previously said, or say something relevant to the discussion.

7. Be respectful.However much you may disagree with a colleague or the instructor,be respectful in your engagement with what is said in class. Personal attacks, jibes, put-downs, or mocking a colleague’s point of view will not be tolerated. 

Email etiquette: Much of the above also applies to emails.

 1. Observe proper email protocol. Include a proper form of greeting and use polite language.

 2. Do not email for easily obtainable information. Please note that I typically receive dozens of emails each week. I am, therefore, inclined to not respond to emails that request information or materials that can be obtained elsewhere. (Example: where is your office? What do we read for next time? Where can I get the notes for the class I missed? What is the number for Sibie’s …). For course related information, this document or Moodle should be your initial go-to resources. If you miss class, it is *your* responsibility to make up what you missed, obtain notes from a classmate, and complete assignments. Only if any confusion remains should you write to the instructor.

Academic guidelines:

For several of you, the format of this course may be new. If this is the case, consider this course as a stepping stone towards getting a handle on critical reading in social science, or training for future semesters at Hampshire. Here are some tips that might come in handy.

1. Reading: There will be around 30-40 pages of reading per class, on average. In general, there will be more assigned for Tuesday classes than for Thursdays. We also take frequent breaks from reading, to watch movies, to work on our projects etc.

Read the abstract (when available) and introduction carefully. Identify the central argument the reading is trying to make. Make a note of this. Continue reading the paper noting the examples the author gives to make her/his point. What are these? Make a note of unfamiliar terms and concepts. Look these up if the reading does not provide further explanation. If they are still unclear, bring them up in class. What did you learn from the reading? Are you convinced by the overall argument and the way it is made? In what ways could you critique the writer? Are there things they fail to consider? Make a list of these points and bring them to class for further discussion.

Assign plenty of time for reading each assigned article at least twice. Begin reading well ahead of time, but not too well ahead that your forget what the article said before you come to class! If you cannot remember what the article said, you have not read well enough.

2. Organizing your time: Make a note of assignment dates in your calendar. Start every assignment well ahead of time. Two weeks in advance is a minimum but you may need more time if you have starting trouble, have a busy schedule, or consider yourself a slow writer. This also allows time for you to consult with someone, or schedule a meeting with me during office hours, should you be stuck somewhere.

3. Written work: Type out your assignments (typing not required for response papers unless I ask you specifically to do so). A twelve-point font, one-inch margins an all sides, and 1.5 spaced lines is the norm I suggest you follow. Edit your paper scrupulously for errors in grammar and spelling. Check to see if you are repeating yourself needlessly through the paper. Do not quote extensively from the readings; in fact, quote only when absolutely necessary. Ask a friend to go over it quickly to see if your arguments make sense. If not, edit/re-organize again. Use sub-sections where appropriate to facilitate reading. Cite sources carefully. Be mindful of the audience (me) and do not waste their time. We will be doing a series of reviews in class as well, so your final paper is a relatively polished product.

Plagiarism: Please specify sources clearly and provide complete citations when writing papers. Any material used in the paper (quotes, data, and paraphrased information) that has not been appropriately cited will be considered plagiarized material. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and entails grave consequences for a student who is found to have plagiarized material for assignments and papers. Here is the link to Hampshire policy on matters pertaining to academic ethics.