Dr. Melissa Deckman

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Washington College, Spring 2011

Dr. Melissa Deckman

Daly 207; Phone: x7494; E-Mail: mdeckman2@washcoll.edu

Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1:00-2:00 pm and by appointment.

Class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 3:45.

Course Description

This course examines the role of women as voters, citizens, candidates, and leaders in American politics, grounded in theories of gender. Attention will also be given to the history of the women’s movement and the current status of women’s organizations. We will also focus on how various public policies, including workplace issues, family issues, education issues and reproductive rights, affect women and their legal rights.

Books we will use:
Dolan, Julie, Melissa Deckman, and Michele Swers. 2011. Women in Politics: Paths to Power and Political Influence, 2nd ed.

McGlen, Nancy E., Karen O’Connor, Laura van Assendelft, and Wendy Gunther-Canada. 2011. Women, Politics, and American Society. 5th ed.

These books are available at the campus bookstore. In addition, there are numerous reading assignments available via Blackboard reserve. I strive to use the most relevant, recent research in the field, so make sure you are also reading the materials on reserve! Also, I will likely e-mail you relevant news articles, clips, etc from time to time, so check your Washington College e-mail regularly.

Class Requirements

Three papers 45%

Two exams 45%

Class Participation 10%

Note: You must complete all of the course requirements to pass this course.
I expect completion of all required reading assignments prior to each class meeting.
There will be 2 exams given in this class, including an in-class midterm (20 percent of your grade) and a final (25 percent), to be taken during finals week. In addition, there are 3 papers worth a total of 45% of your grade. The first two papers—each worth 10 percent—should be around 5 pages. The first of these will be written about an interest group that advocates women’s interests (your choice). The second paper will be about a woman active in politics (I’ll give you a list of potential names, but you can always nominate your own woman to profile). The third paper—worth 25 percent of your grade—is a 10-12 page research paper. More information will be distributed about the papers in class.
The last component of the grade is class participation. Class participation involves more than just coming to class and warming a chair. I expect you to attend class, prepared to contribute. On some occasions, you will also have to turn in a brief summary of the reading of assigned peer-reviewed material, which also counts toward your participation grade. Your participation grade, which also includes a grade for the presentation of your term paper later in the semester, is worth 10 percent.
Attendance Policy: Out of courtesy, you should inform me when you will be missing class, either in person or via e-mail or phone message. Excused absences include illness or injury, family emergencies, religious holidays, field trips or other off-campus activities for other classes, and scheduled varsity athletic contests. Proper documentation should follow each of these excused absences when appropriate. (If you are too sick to attend class, you should bring a note or appear on the daily sick list as an excused absence.) As we meet twice per week, you may incur 2 unexcused absences during the course of the semester. After this absence, your final grade will be deducted by one point for each excessive absence. MAKE-UP EXAMINATIONS WILL BE GIVEN ONLY IN THE CASE OF EXCUSED ABSCENCES.
Late Assignment Policy: Written assignments that are late will be deducted by one part of a letter grade for each day of lateness. For example, a B+ paper will become a B paper if it is turned in one day late, a B- two days late, etc. Extensions will only be given in unusual circumstances and MUST be cleared prior to when the assignment is due.
Learning Disabilities: If you have been diagnosed with a recognized learning disorder or a physical disability that impairs your academic performance, I will do my best to accommodate your specific needs. However, no such accommodation will be made unless you have notified the Provost of Academic Services regarding your disability and have provided that office with official written documentation of the diagnosis and the specific recommendation(s) that have been prescribed for accommodation of your disability. To insure that your specific needs are met to the best of our ability, you must inform me of your need for special accommodations at least one week prior to the scheduled examination. I will contact the Provost to verify that you have a document disability and work with the Provost to determine the best means for addressing your specific accommodation. If additional time is required, the standard for extended time on examinations is one half times the length of the examination (e.g. 25 extra minutes for a 50-minute examination).
Grading Criteria: Examinations will be based on a numerical score (for example, any exam that scores a 93 or higher will be graded A; 90-92 will be graded A-; etc.). Papers will be given a letter grade and later converted into numerical points (as listed below) to calculate the final grade for the course. Improvement during the semester will be weighed in evaluation.
A, A- : Demonstration of excellent work, written and oral, in fulfillment of the course objectives. For individual written assignments, a letter grade of A will be equivalent to 96 points, an A- will be worth 92 points.
B+, B, B- : Demonstration of good work in fulfillment of course objectives. For individual written assignments, a B+ will be worth 88 points, a B will be worth 85 points, and a B- will be worth 82 points.
C+, C, C- : Satisfactory work in fulfillment of course objections. A C+ on an individual written assignment will be worth 78 points, a C will be worth 75 points, and a C- will be worth 72 points.
D: Assigned work is not satisfactory or not completed. A D on an individual written assignment will be worth 65 points.

F: Failure to meet minimum course goals. A grade of an F for an assignment that is turned in will be worth 20 points. An assignment that is never turned in will receive 0 points.
Honor Code: “We at Washington College strive to maintain an environment in which learning and growth flourish through individuals’ endeavors and honest intellectual exchanges both in and out of the classroom. To maintain such an environment, each member of the community pledges to respect the ideas, well being, and property of others. Thus, each member of the Washington College community abides by an honor code.”
Each written assignment and exam in this class should be signed with a statement that you have abided by the Washington College honor code while completing the assignment. I take Honor Code violations very seriously, particularly plagiarism. Plagiarism involves willfully presenting the language, ideas, or thoughts of another person as your own original work. If you are not sure that you are plagiarizing material, for example, in a paper, please see me and I can help you tell the difference between plagiarism and proper citation and proper paraphrasing. I know that the Internet makes cheating very tempting, but it also makes it easier to get caught. Violation of the Honor Code in this course will result in a failing grade and referral to the administration and College Honor Board.

Class Schedule and Reading Assignments

January 24: First day of class

Nature v. Nurture? Are Men and Women Different? Does it Matter?
January 26: Conceptualizations of Gender and Feminism

Dolan, Deckman, and Swers, Chapter 1

Young, “Lived Body versus Gender: Reflections on Social Structure and Subjectivity.”


Beckwith, “A Common Language of Gender,” Burns, “Finding Gender,” and Htun, “What it Means to Study Gender and the State,” (Blackboard Reserve)
History and Background on Feminism, Women’s Rights
January 31: Battle for Women’s Suffrage

McGlen et al., Introduction; Chapter 1, 21-42

Dolan, Deckman, and Swers, Chapter 2, 11-24

Kerber, “The Republican Mother,” (Blackboard Reserve)

Adams, “Remember the Ladies,” http://www.thelizlibrary.org/suffrage/abigail.htm

Truth, “Ain’t I a Woman?,” http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/sojtruth-woman.html

February 2: The “Second Wave” and Fight for ERA

McGlen et al, Chapter 2, 42-64

Mansbridge, “Why We Lost the ERA” (On Blackboard Reserve)

Dolan, Deckman, and Swers, Chapter 2, 24-41

February 7: Current State of Women’s Movement

Sapiro, “When are Interests Interesting?” (Blackboard Reserve)

Baumgardner and Richards, Manifesta, “What is Feminism?,” (On Blackboard Reserve)

From Newsweek: “Will Feminists Rally Around Sarah Palin?”


and “St. Sarah?” http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/11/saint-sarah.print.html

Rosin, “Is the Tea Party a Feminist Movement?” http://www.newsweek.com/2010/06/11/saint-sarah.print.html

Women in Politics
February 9: Women in Interest Groups and Parties

Dolan, Deckman, and Swers, Chapter 2, 41-68

Schrieber, “Injecting a Woman’s Voice: Conservative Women’s Political

Organizations: Gender Consciousness, and the Expression of Women’s Policy Preferences, ” (Blackboard Reserves)

Sanbonmatsu, “Life’s a Party: Do Political Parties Help or Hinder Women?” [provide link to Harvard International Review

*Paper One Due

February 14: Gender Gap and Political Participation Among Women

Dolan, Deckman and Swers, Chapter 3

Taft. 2006. P&G. “I’m not a Political Person: Teenage Girls, Oppositional Consciousness, and the Meaning of Politics.” 2(September): 329-352. (Blackboard reserve)

Schlozman, Burns, and Verba, “Gender and the Pathways to Participation: The Role of Resources,” in O’Connor, Brewer and Fisher, 57-65 [or go to original article?]

February 16: Gender Gap and the Vote

Kauffman and Petrocik, “The Changing Politics of American Men: Understanding the Sources of the Gender Gap,” (go to the original one)

Deckman, “Obama and the Gender Gap” [put online]

2010 elections

February 21: Women in the Media

Dolan, Deckman, and Swers, Chapter 4

Sullivan, “Silent Femmes,” http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2005/0504.sullivan.html

Braden, “Women Politicians and the Media,” selections: need update

Perhaps media coverage of women politicians?

Bring in work on women and internet?

Look at women and politics site from AU and women on sinday talk shows…

February 23: Women in the Media, con’d

Kahn, “The Distorted Mirror: Press Coverage of Women Candidates for Statewide Office,” In O’Connor, Brewer, and Fisher, 203-211

Carroll, “Reflections on Gender and Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign: The Good, The Bad, and the Misogynic” (P&G Blackboard Reserves)

Anne Kornblutt’s work***
February 28: Women as Political Candidates

Dolan, Deckman, and Swers, Chapter 5

Campbell and Wolbrecht “See Jane Run: Women Politicians as Role Models for Adolescents” (JOP; on Blackboard Reserves)

Fox and Lawless, “Entering the Arena? Gender and the Decision to Run for Office?” (On Blackboard Reserve)

March 2: Women as Political Candidates, con’d

Fridkin and Kenney, “The Role of Gender Stereotypes in US Senate Campaigns” (Blackboard Reserves)

Stalbsburg, “Voting for Mom: The Political Consequences of Being a Parent for Male and Female Candidates,” (Blackboard Reserves)

March 7: MIDTERM

Women in Power
March 9: Women in Local Politics and Government

Dolan, Deckman and Swers, Chapter 6

Suzanne Dovi. 2007. “Theorizing Women’s Representation in the United States.” Politics and Gender. 3(30: 297-317.

Deckman, “School Board Candidates and Gender: Ideology, Party, and Policy Concerns,” WPP (Blackboard Reserves)

March 14-18: SPRING BREAK: No Classes
March 21: Women in Congress

Dolan, Deckman, and Swers, Chapter 7

Swers, “Are Women More Likely to Vote for Women’s Issue Bills than their Male Colleagues,” In O’Connor, Brewer, and Fisher, 251-256
March 23: Women in State Legislatures

Cowell-Meyers and Langbein, “Linking Women’s Descriptive and Substantive Representation in the United States,” Blackboard Reserve)

Rosenthal (from O’Connor’s book edited volume)
March 28: Women in the Executive Branch

Dolan, Deckman, and Swers, Chapter 8

Dolan, “Political Appointees in the United States: Does Gender Make a Difference?” in O’Connor, Brewer, and Fisher, 331-335; find longer article and put online….

Anne Konblott

*Paper 2 is due on Women’s Representation
March 30: NO CLASS: Dr. Deckman will be attending the MPSA Annual Meeting
April 4: Why Don’t we have a Woman President?/Political Roles of First Ladies

Paul and Smith, “Subtle Sexism? Examining Vote Preferences When Women Run Against Men for the Presidency,” (Blackboard Reserve)

O’Connor, Nye, and van Assendelft, “Wives in the White House: The Political Influence of First Ladies,” in O’Connor, Brewer, and Fisher, (Blackboard Reserves(

Anne Kornblutt, etc.

April 11: Women and the Judiciary

Dolan, Deckman, and Swers, Chapter 9

Coontz, “Gender and Judicial Decisions: Do Female Judges Decide Cases Differently than Male Judges?” in O’Connor, Brewer, and Fisher, 281-286 (find larger article)

O’Connor and Yanus, “Judging Alone” (P&G), Blackboard RESERVES

Women and Public Policy
**note – schedule field trip in here** DC: WUF PAC; Emily’s List? Amy Sullivan?
April 13: Employment and Education Rights

McGlen et al., Chapter 3

Debate on Title IX: Moyer, Foudy: “Has Title IX’s quest for equality gone too far?”; Hogshead-Makar, “The ongoing battle over Title IX;”

Vickers, “Women 9, Men 0” (On Blackboard reserve); find updates

April 18: The Status of Women in Employment and Education

McGlen et al, Chapter 4

“The Conundrum of the Glass Ceiling,” Economist (On Blackboard reserve)

“Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood” (handout)

Schlafly, “Feminists Fundamental Defects,” (handout)
April 20: Reproductive Rights

McGlen et al, Chapter 5

Melody Rose’s 2006 book or her 2007 piece in JWPP 29(1): 5-30: “Republican Motherhood Redux? Women as Contigent Citizens in 21st Century America.”

April 25: Family Policy

McGlen et al, Chapter 6
Spaht, Sunstein: “Should There Be a Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Marriage?” (On Blackboard Reserve)
April 27: Student Presentations

May 2: Student Presentations

May 4: Student Presentations

Course Summary and Exam Review

*Term Paper on Public Policy is Due
The Final Exam will be given during Finals Week.

Washington College, Spring 2011

Paper Topics

PAPER ONE: Write a 4-5 page paper on a women’s political interest group of your choice (historical or contemporary) OR one that profiles a woman who has been actively involved in politics in the United States.
For those who profile a women’s political interest group, please address the following questions:
1. How does/did this group attempt to improve women’s lives or expand women's rights?

2. What sorts of issues does (or did) it advocate?

3. How successful do you think the group has been (or was)?

4. What strategies and tactics does/did the interest group utilize to influence politics in the United States?

5. What has it accomplished?

6. What do outsiders and other organizations have to say about this organization?

This paper should also attempt to place the group into the historical context of women’s movements in the US – was the group active in any of the three phases that we discuss? If so, how?
You must use a minimum of 5 different sources to receive a passing grade (wikipedia does not count!). If you write about an existing group, I suggest getting materials from the group, either via its website or by calling and asking for materials (but you should also look for peer-reviewed and journalistic sources as well). Also, if the group is current, you should try and interview someone at the group (via phone) and you can use that as a source for the paper.
NOTE: For a list of possible groups, see our textbook, Women in Politics: Paths to Power and Political Influence, Appendix C (355-354) and pages 135 and 168 for groups geared at electoral politics.

For those who choose to profile a woman who has been actively involved in politics in the United States, you should draw from our course readings and discussions and discuss whether she fits the “typical” profile of a political woman. In particular, you should pay special attention to the following questions:

1. How and when did she first become active in politics?

2. What public policy issues does she emphasize or advocate?

3. What barriers, if any, has she faced in politics because of her gender?
This should not simply list facts, such as birth date, schools attended, political office held, but should describe, analyze, and evaluate her political role, and if relevant, her contributions to women’s political equality. You must use a minimum of 5 different sources (again, wikipedia does not count!). Stick with women born in the 20th century; a good resource to find political women is http://www.distinguishedwomen.com/subject/govern.html.

**In addition, each student will give a short class presentation on the political woman or interest group about whom s/he has written. After everyone has chosen his or her topic, I will schedule each student for a presentation on a specific day sometime during the semester. This presentation will be graded and will count toward your class participation grade.


PAPER TWO: In a position paper of no more than 4 pages, please answer the following question regarding women and representation:
Are women in the United States better represented by women legislators than men legislators? Why or why not?
A position paper is an essay that builds a case for a position on an issue. That position becomes the central idea or the thesis of the paper. The common mistake that students make in a position paper is to write about a subject without taking a stand or position. So I will be looking for a clearly stated thesis in the introductory paragraph.
Your paper should include plenty of references to the work that we have read in class on the assigned topic and at least 3 other scholarly sources (a good place to look for other sources is the references from the assigned articles in class). Don’t be deceived by the brevity of the paper. A short paper requires the writer to carefully plan, logically construct and creatively condense the evidence to support the position. There is no space or time for drift.
PAPER THREE: Write a 10-12 page paper (double spaced) on a public policy or proposed public policy that has gender implications. Although the topic is broad, you must limit it to one specific policy area. For example, if you choose something on reproductive rights, the focus could be on RU-486, emergency contraception, birth control in public schools, or the regulation of abortion clinics: keep the primary focus on one of those issues—not all of them. Other areas of interest potentially include health care policy, education policy, policy with respect to domestic violence, work policy (such as maternity or paternity leave), gay marriage, covenant marriages, military concerns (i.e. should women be allowed to fight in combat?), or affirmative action—to name a few. A good place to look for some examples of such policies is on-line at the websites of women’s political organizations—both liberal and conservative. Also, peruse chapters 3 through 6 of our McGlen et al. textbook. You need to be clear, however, how the policy you choose to analyze relates to gender concerns.
Your research paper should do the following:
* State what the policy is and what it sets out to do

* Identify the pros and cons affiliated with the policy

* Analyze how the policy raises debates about gender (for example, how does the policy help women/men? How does it hurt women/men? Or girls or boys? Or families more generally? Who says so and why?)

* Identify the political actors with a vested interest in the policy and document the steps that these actors have taken to support or oppose it

* Identify the political arenas (federal, state or local governments) where the policy has been enacted or where attempts have been made to enact such programs

* If enacted, analyze how effectively the policy has been implemented; if it has not been enacted, analyze what factors have kept that from happening

Your paper topic is due March 21 and an annotated bibliography (with a minimum of 8 academic sources [books, peer-reviewed articles, or government documents]) is due April 11. (An annotated bibliography includes the COMPLETE citation as well as a few sentences about how the source relates to your topic.) You will present your findings during the last week of class, and this presentation will count toward your class participation grade. The final paper is due May 4.
******Please see your syllabus regarding my policy for late assignments.

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