COM/WS 211 Women, Language and Communication
Dr. Katy Wiss
Office Hours: MW 1-2 p.m. & F 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Office: Berkshire 020
Mailbox in the COM Office: Berkshire 120b (open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
Telephone/Voice Mail: 203-837-8260
§ Coates, J., (Ed.). (1998). Language and gender: A reader. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
§ Thorne, B. (1993). Gender play: Girls and boys in school. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
§ A “teen” magazine.
§ Various photocopies, handouts and reserve readings as needed. Some might only be available online.
It is your responsibility to acquire and read the assignments. Please ask during class or my office hours if you have questions about the readings. If the bookstore is out of stock of the textbook, it is your responsibility to place an order with a bookstore employee.
Focus: This course examines and questions the nature of women's interaction with men and with each other. We will explore the theories that account for variations, similarities, and differences of women communicators. Interaction in a variety of contexts in both public and private settings will be explored.
Goals. To expand and deepen your understanding of the following: 1) the structure of language as it relates to gender; 2) the nature of sex and gender, 3) the organization of interaction as it relates to men and women; 4) the theories and methods for studying language and observing interaction especially as they relate to women.
Grading. If you ever have any questions regarding what is expected of you or desire to discuss your work or a specific grade, please come see me during my office hours. If you are experiencing trouble, please let me know as soon as you become aware of a problem. You must earn your grades, but I have every confidence that you can and will do excellent work. Please observe the university deadline for withdrawing from courses. Out of fairness to other students and consideration for my time, written and take-home assignments lose one whole letter grade for each weekday they are late. Assignments not turned within one week of their due date receive a zero. Assignments are due at the beginning of class. If you must miss an exam, arrange ahead of time to make-up the work. Any missed exam, for which you have not made prior arrangements, loses one letter grade for each workday missed before taking a make-up exam. All make-up exams are harder than ones given in class. Late work goes to the "bottom of the grading pile," and may not be returned as promptly as on-time assignments.
Exercises. The exercises are designed to give you a chance to see what the challenges of doing gender analysis in language and interaction are. For some of the exercises you will duplicate the research that other scholars have done. These exercises will push you to sharpen your observational skills and to reflect on what you have observed, as well as to push you to question the work of other scholars. They must be typed and are to be no more than 2 pages in length. We may not do all of the ones listed. There is a remote chance that we will do more. A tape recorder and tape is required to complete these exercises.
Exams. The exams are designed to encourage you to apply the material we have been learning to new contexts and examples.
Discussion/Writing. Occasional in and out of class writing. Classroom discussion and participation. If I notice that students are not doing the readings for class, I will assign summaries of each article.
Class Rules. Your active attendance and participation in class is required. Please do not come to class late or leave early. I expect you to remain in the room during class. If you miss class, for any reason, please get the notes or assignments from another student. I will then be happy to discuss the notes or assignments with you if you have questions. If your cell phone or pager goes off in class, I will ask you to leave and not come back to that class. Please keep your cell-phone stored during class. More detailed course guidelines are available at ..\OH.HTM
Office Hours: I set aside time every week to meet with students. If you know you will be stopping by, please sign up on the sheet on my office door for an appointment or give me a call. Students with appointments have priority over walk-ins. I encourage you and your group members to stop in and to talk about your work for this class.
Unit 1: Conceptual Foundations
Orientation and Assumptions
§ What is Gender?
§ Sex and Gender as Categores of Analysis
§ Feminist Analysis
Unit 2: Language and Gender
Understanding Levels of Language and Standard English
Bradley, Yanyuwa: ‘Men speak one way, women another’ (Coates p. 13)
Trudgill, Sex and covert prestige (Coates p. 21)
Eckert, Gender and sociolinguistic variation, (Coates p. 64)
Sutton, Bitches and skankly hobags (handout)
Unit 3: Nonverbal Communication and Gender
Unit 4: Gender in Interaction
· Muted Group
· Speech Styles
Malz & Borker, A cultural approach to male-female miscommunication (Coates p. 417)
· Speech Strategies
Holmes, Complementing – A positive politeness strategy (Coates p. 100)
Goodwin, Cooperation and competition across girls’ play activities (Coates p. 121)
§ Gender or Power?
Sattel, Men ,Inexpressiveness, and power (Handout)
O’Barr & Atkins, ‘Women’s language’ of ‘powerless language’? (Coates p. 377)
Unit 5: Gender in Context
Communication in Private Settings
§ Interaction with and among Children
Cheshire, Linguistic variation and social function (Coates p. 29)
Eiskovits, Girl-talk/boy-talk (Coates p. 42)
West & Zimmerman, Women’s place in everyday talk (Coates p. 165)
Johnson & Aries, The talk of women friends (Coates p. 215)
Coates, Gossip revisited (Coates p. 226)
Pilkington, ‘Don’t try and make out that I’m nice!’ (Coates p. 254)
§ Intimate Relationships
Pamela Fishman, Interaction: The work that women do (Handout)
DeFransisco, The sounds of silence (Coates p. 176)
Tannen, Talk in the intimate relationship (Coates p. 435)
Communication in Public Settings
§ Health Care
West, ‘Not just doctors’ orders’ (Coates p. 328)
West, When the doctor is a ‘lady’ (Coates p. 396)
Haring, Johnson & DeBenedetto, Participation in electronic discourse in a ‘feminist’ field (Coates p. 197)
Nelson, Women’s ways: Interactive patterns in predominantly female research teams (Coates p. 354)
Swann, Talk control (Coates p. 185)
Treichler & Kramarae, Women's talk in the ivory tower (Handout)
Unit 6: Looking to the future
Bing & Bergvall, The question of questions (Coates p. 495)