Course syllabus




GENDER 306: Special Topic Making Waves: Gender and Change

SEMESTER 1, 2018

15 points

Convener: Jennifer Frost
Office: Humanities Bldg, Room 721 (206-721)
Phone: 373-7599, ext. 88322
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1-3

Class Representative: Ruby Johnson (


Course Description
This course provides an opportunity for you to put your gender studies theory and knowledge into practice. You will participate in an interactive, collaborative seminar, explore “real world” engagements with gender issues, identities, and inequalities, and complete an individual or group research project on a topic of your choice. This course is open to all students with an interest in gender, and will facilitate the consolidation of learning about gender and sexuality gained previously. For Gender Studies students, it serves as a capstone course, building on the knowledge gained in previous courses in the major so that students can embark on creative, engaged, collaborative learning and then put that into practice through research and/or activism in and beyond the classroom. As such, the course emphasizes “skills-building” and “knowledge-building” in equal measure.


Course Objectives
The objectives for this course are tied to the kinds of skills that Gender Studies students and scholars excel in, and that many employers have noted they are looking for: analytical, communication, research, critical thinking, leadership, interpersonal, values-based, and advocacy skills. Through this course, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Apply gender studies theory to the world we inhabit.
  • Analyse research questions, life stories, public policy, media texts, activist organisations, and/or political/media campaigns in terms of gender theory and practice.
  • Devise (both individually and collaboratively) creative interventions into gender- and sexuality-based problems to create change (broadly defined).
  • Take initiative in shaping the research undertaken and the class discussion of course content.
  • Put the passion and values you have developed through your major into the projects you undertake.


Learning Outcomes and the Bachelor of Arts Graduate Profile
In this way, Gender 306 is a capstone course bringing together all of the elements of, and enabling students to demonstrate mastery of, key learning outcomes prioritized in the BA Graduate Profile. Specifically these include:

  • Disciplinary knowledge: by demonstrating understanding of and ability to apply essential content in gender studies.
  • Critical Thinking: by conceiving and formulating questions to pursue in class and in research, and synthesizing information from a variety of sources in analyzing texts, spaces, events, and cultural artefacts.
  • Solution Seeking: by looking at the real-world implications of gender studies theories and applying this to the analysis of social and cultural data; by researching and aiming to create transformative solutions to problems students have defined.
  • Communication & Engagement: by expressing ideas in discussion and in writing and working constructively individually and with other students to achieve the goals of the course.
  • Independence & Integrity: by demonstrating capacity for self-directed learning and fulfilling one’s commitments to other students in the class through active engagement throughout the semester.
  • Social & Environmental Responsibilities: by contributing to an ethical and sustainable social environment in the University and the world beyond it


Assessment and Course Work
Assessment in this course is 100% course work and includes:
(1) Seminar participation/assignments (30%)
(2) Research project and work-in-progress presentation, 3000 words or equivalent (50%)
(3) Research project proposal, 600 words (10%)
(4) Reflection, 600 words (10%)


Workload and Deadlines for Submission of Coursework          

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.


Seminar Schedule and Required Readings

Week 1 Introduction
26 February: Putting gender theory (& politics) into practice

Required Reading: Richa Nagar and Amanda Lock Swar, ‘Introduction: Theorizing Transnational Feminist Praxis’, in Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis, ed. Swar and Nagar, Albany, 2010, pp. 1-20.

Week 2 Gender Theory and Research Practices, part 1
5 March: Research essays, public policy analysis, and examining media texts

Required Reading:

  • Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber, ‘Feminist Approaches to Mixed Methods Research’, in Feminist Research Practice: A Primer, 2nd ed., ed. Hesse-Biber, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2014, pp. 111-148.
  • Andrea Smith, ‘Native American Feminism, Sovereignty, and Social Change’, Feminist Studies, 31, 1, 2005, pp. 116-132.
  • Debra Ferreday, ‘Game of Thrones, Rape Culture and Feminist Fandom, Australian Feminist Studies, 30, 83, 2015, pp. 21-36.

Week 3 Gender Theory and Research Practices, part 2
12 March: Life stories, activist organization research, and campaign analysis

Required Reading:

  • Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber, ‘The Practice of Feminist In-Depth Interviewing,’ in Feminist Research Practice, ed. Hesse-Biber & Patricia Lina Leavy, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2011, pp. 111-148.
  • Alison Dahl Crossley, ‘The Bonds of Feminism: Collective Identities and Feminist Organizations’, Finding Feminism: Millennial Activists and the Unfinished Gender Revolution, New York, 2017, pp. 91-119.
  • Jessica Megarry, ‘Under the watchful eyes of men: theorising the implications of male surveillance practices for feminist activism on social media’, Feminist Media Studies, 2017,

Week 4 Supervision Meetings
19 March: Individual (or Group) Supervision Meetings

Weeks 5-7 Independent Project Work

Week 8 Supervision Meetings
30 April: Individual (or Group) Supervision Meetings

Weeks 9 Work-in Progress Presentations
7 May: Individual (or Group) Presentations

Weeks 10 Work-in Progress Presentations
14 May: Individual (or Group) Presentations

Weeks 11 Work-in Progress Presentations
21 May: Individual (or Group) Presentations

Week 12 Conclusion
28 May: Research in Practice

Required Reading: Nancy A. Naples, ‘Reflections on a Feminist Career’, in The Evolution of American Women’s Studies: Reflections on Triumphs, Controversies, and Change, ed. Alice E. Ginsberg, New York, 2008, pp. 119-211.

Course summary:

Date Details