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GAS Works Kick-Off: Notes Towards Day 1

Kicking Off GAS Works: Day 1

I. Begin w/ music ("Sister Suffragette," from Mary Poppins...!)

II. Then form a wagon wheel (to "roll" after every third question):

1) if you were an imaginary (literary, filmic, gaming) character, who would you be? (humanities)

2) if you were a life form other than human, what might it be? (science)

3) if you were a (non-organic) structure, what might that be? (social science)
4) what is your name and preferred pronoun?
(tell each other all the pronouns you’ve ever heard of )

5) what is year and your major/area of interest?
how much (and how?) does it intersect w/ gender and sexuality studies?

6) what work (classes, activism, projects?) have you already done in this arena?
what work might you like to do?

7) what questions do you bring to this course?

8) what particular issues would you like us to address in this class?

9) what areas of the world would you like us to focus on?
some pedagogical questions: 
10) what ideas do you have, about how we might go about having these conversations?

11) is there anything that you are afraid to talk about/worried about our talking about?

12) what get-acquainted question should I have asked, but didn't?

II. Re-order as a single circle:
Welcome to Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Gender and Sexuality:

drawing on humanities, science, social science and the intersections among those fields.

To trace this interdisciplinary spectrum, we have me (an "interdisciplinarian" English prof),
3 out-side speakers: Sherry Ortner (anthropologist),
Frances Negrón-Muntaner (anthropologist & film-maker) and Felice Picano (novelist & playwright)
2 in-class visitors: Paul Grobstein (neurobiologist) and Sherry Ortner (anthropologist) &
1 (partial!) co-teacher: Kristin Lindgren (specializes in writing and disability studies).

Our range of perspectives are not only disciplinary, but experiential, and include us all:
we are differently gendered, raced, classed, aged, abled....
I very much want this to be a pot-luck, w/ all of us contributing;
what we see differently is what we are looking for....

We will do what all tri-co courses usually do:
Read texts, meet 2x week to discuss our reactions and questions about them;
Start in a minute w/ an op-ed piece Mark Taylor published in NYTimes in April,
on the End of the University as we know it; continue on Thursday w/ two essays
you can find on-line (linked to from syllabus): Derrida's Woman in the Beehive,
and Peggy McIntosh's Interactive Phases of Curricular Revision;
clearly I want us to begin by exploring what we are doing:
spend some time setting up a frame-work for how we talk together,
thinking about what we hope to accomplish by doing so.

I've ordered four books for the first 1/2 of the semester; we'll read (in order):
Joan Roughgarden's Evolution's Rainbow (surprising way into gender studies)
Sherry Ortner's Making Gender (BMC alum who will visit here to tell us abt. the trajectory of her life work)
Neil Gaiman's The Dollhouse (Vol II of The Sandman series--a visual text)
Nancy Mairs' Waist-High in the World (to invite us to think about the intersection of gender w/ other identity categories,
in particular about the ways in which our bodies change--and w/ those changes,
our sense of our relationships w/ others and the larger world)

There will also be some essays available on-line or by e-mail; and we will
select together what we want/need to read for the second 1/2 of the semester.

Besides talking w/ each other in person,
and handing in a piece of more formal writing to me each week,
I have prepared  an inbetween space for you: our on-line class forum @
(linked to from top of web page).

Each week, I'll put up a question I'd like you to answer in that forum
(more deliberate than speaking in class, less formal than written work:
excellent place for showcasing revisionary thinking).
About being a public intellectual: thinking out loud.

First assignment for Thursday (besides reading Derrida and McIntosh)
is to go to the web forum and introduce yourself by telling us what drew you to this course:
what are you looking for? Any initial ideas about how you might be working on trying to get it?
Any other thoughts that arose during this session....?

To do this, you need to
*go to the course webpage
* register for a Serendip account
* can click on the Login link (top, right of page),
then click on Create New Account;
* you MUST use your Bryn Mawr e-mail address
* but your user-name doesn't have to be  your name:
as a frosh, "mcanter" was  "Rhapsodica";
in the G&T class Melinda, Roldine and I did together last semester,
we had "Guinevere," "Mista Jay," "Sugar Spice," "The Doctor...."

The registration code will be **********
Always log in
before you post every week, so your post will go up automatically
(otherwise----due to the spam control system, it will be vetted, and so delayed).

Those of you who have worked w/ me before know that
I do not assign grades to ind'l assignments,
but rather will ask you to put together a portfolio
@ the end of the semester w/ all your written work in it,
and to write a self-evaluation.

My expectations (checklist for all of this is @ bottom of on-line syllabus) are that you
Attend class regularly (don't miss more than two sessions),
Attend and write on-line about three outside talks (by Ortner, Negrón-Muntaner, and Picano--or find alternatives),
Do the reading, prepare yourself to contribute regularly (=weekly) to class discussions,
Post a weekly paragraph of your thinking out loud on the course website
(one of those will be a summary of our discussion),
Post 5 papers (2 3-pp, 3 6-pp) on-line, on-time,
Meet w/ me twice to talk about your writing and thinking,
Present a 10-15 minute in-class reflection on your experiences over the semester, &
Evaluate your semester's course work.

Your first paper assignment is due this Sunday @ 5:
a 3-pp narrative about the relation between your life, your gender, your education;
"what I want" will be clearer once you've done Thursday's reading:
your generation's (updated) version of Macintosh's essay....


My Starting Points:
Our differences matter, to one another and to our shared course of study.
We will use our time together not to showcase what we already know,
but to explore together what we don’t.

We will do this in public:
keeping one another company and learning by the mistakes we are making.
We will also experiment with forms of presentation,
using images, sound, and less linear structures…

Our shared working assumptions?

IV. To get @ them: read Taylor's essay;
get in groups of three to discuss it....
(Gather together again....?)

V. Discussion continues in the course forum area....

go there and add your thoughts!





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