Class Info, description, organization & MORE!

women, art, and culture, a multiple seminar introducing women’s studies

WMST 250 0301 0304, Fall 2014 UMD
Tuesday Everyone Seminar: 3 pm – 4:40 pm at ARC 1101  
Thursday seminars: 0301: 3 pm – 3:50 pm at TYD 2109; 0304 3 pm – 3:50 pm at KEB 1200

Professor: Katie King
Office: 2101C Woods Hall, University of Maryland, College Park
Katie’s office hours: TBA
Office phone: 301.405.7294 (voice mail)
KK’s website with info on social hours & more:
You can follow Katie on Twitter @katkingumd

Class Website at:         

course description for multiple seminar/s: matterings, justice and more
• themes for this term: systems: food, climate, social change

Women's art, art by women, feminist art, and art activism have been ways women have analyzed and changed everyday life. Art is one of the forms of passionate politics feminists have mobilized to make life better, for themselves and others. In this course we will investigate how artists and activists have asked sometimes hard, sometimes joyful questions about power, gender and sexuality, practices of racialization, nations and languages, abilities and disabilities, religion and meaning and more. We will examine assumptions we and others make about women, art, culture and feminism. We will especially consider how art can reshape possibilities and actualities for everybody. What counts as art? What do we do with public art? What is art activism?

To create our own community of thinking and action, we want to get to know and work with each other. Ours will be an active and ambitious learning community, both one and many at the same time, as is feminism! Tuesday Everyone Seminars will be 3 pm – 4:40 pm at ARC 1101, while our Thursday break-out seminars will be 0301: 3 pm – 3:50 pm at TYD 2109; 0304 3 pm – 3:50 pm at KEB 1200 respectively. The Break-out seminars will be led by WMST graduate students Cheyenne Stevens and Sara Haq.

We will not be using Canvas in this class, but rather working with Blogger, a public online site, using it for class multimedia presentations, for class preparation and review, and maybe for other possibilities! Please bookmark our class site:

All students please do come to office hours to just talk. The TAs and I want to get to know each of you personally! This should be a very fun class, demanding we hope in the most satisfying ways, and full of comradeship and excitement. We all want to know how the class is working for you, what touches and excites you, how your projects are going. So please make a point of coming to office hours and opening up conversations!

Let us know in office hours or after class when you need help, the sooner the better. If you have any kind of disability, whether apparent or non-apparent, learning, emotional, physical, or cognitive, please contact Katie as appropriate to discuss reasonable accommodations for your access needs. Folks who need time from class to observe religious holidays, please contact Katie ASAP to make any arrangements necessary. Please note that Thursday seminars will not meet on 25 September, for Rosh Hashanah.

explore our readings!

Everyone will read our “book-museum” and a work of literary art:
·       Pérez. 2007. Chicana Art. Duke. 0822338688 (also on Kindle but without pictures, which is a problem)
·       Butler. 2000 [1993]. Parable of the Sower. Grand Central. 9780446675505 (also Kindle & audiobook)

Everyone will read these handbooks to art, social movements, and feminisms:
·       Freeland. 2002. But Is It Art? Oxford. 0192853678 (also Kindle & Google ebook)
·       Reed. 2005. The Art of Protest. Minnesota. 0816637717 (also Kindle and Google ebook)

In Collaboration with your Thursday seminar group, you will also choose ONE of these books too!
·       hooks. 2000. Feminism Is for Everybody. South End. 9780896086289
·       Polletta. 2006. It Was Like a Fever. Chicago. 9780226673769 (also Kindle)
·       Paoletti. 2013. Pink and Blue. Indiana. 9780253009852  (also Kindle)
·       Keating. 2012. Transformation Now! Illinois. 9780252079399  (also Kindle)
·       Dixon. 2014. Another Politics. California. 9780520279025  (also Kindle)

All readings are also on 24 hr. book reserve at McKeldin Library. Links for these books' ISBN numbers online were the first things to go up on our class site. Notice that several of the books are available on the Kindle, an ebook reader. You do not need the Kindle device to read these, but can download an app for your computer/laptop or smart phone or iPad to read them without one: Some are available as Google eBooks. To learn how to read these on your computer, look at: Usually the price is a bit lower for each of these, some for less than $10, although you cannot resell such books. Please ensure access to as many of our course books as you can, bring those you have obtained or notes about them to the first class if possible.

You are required to read these books, not to buy them, or even to own them. All are on reserve at McKeldin and many are available at other libraries. Share them, rent them, borrow them, xerox them, scan them. Fair use means producing copies for your own private research use. Of course you can help others in obtaining originals for such fair use copying. Always be sure to locate your books long before you need to read them, even if one or more turn out to be just coming out or even out of print. Find what you can and read them anyway! ISBN numbers are included to make ordering them easier if you wish to buy them.

how the class will be organized

This will be a media and technology intensive course. So-called constructionist learning and collaboration open up our analysis of women, art, and culture, and our introduction to the field of women’s studies, as well as to activist practices. Bring your own laptop, netbook or iPad if you can, to connect across media, to become increasingly savvy about web resources, and to use data visualizations and virtual environments for cognition and collaboration. Throughout the course we will share resources for all these.

The course will involve both taking things in, absorbing them and learning to put them in context; and also actively using what we come to know, sharing it others, thinking on one's feet, brainstorming and speculating, figuring out how it all fits together. Both require careful preparation before class and keeping up with the reading. Some educators call these forms passive and active learning. One can take in and absorb more complicated stuff than one can work with and work out, at least at first. We do both in the class, but we also realize that active learning requires patience and imagination, a bit of courage to try things out without knowing something for sure yet, and a willingness to play around with being right and wrong, guessing and a lot of redoing.

The website for our entire class is located at:
This is where graphics, mini-lecture materials and notes, communications and assignment help, and other vital class information and presentations are displayed. You can complete your assignments properly only if you stay very familiar with this website. Bookmark it immediately! Plan on visiting our class site and reading email every couple of days, and not just a few minutes before class. These are class requirements. If you have any difficulties getting access to these resources come and talk to us as soon as possible. Any announcements about cancellations due to weather or other considerations, and general class requirements will be sent out on coursemail and put up on the website and you need to see them quickly. To get help go to OIT's Help Desk at the Computer and Space Sciences Building, Rm. 1400, or checkout the help desk webpage at:

Get to know as many people in the class as you can, especially those in your Thursday seminar group, share contact information with these folks and if in emergencies anyone must be absent, support each other with class notes and discussion. Everyone should also have several class buddies to rely on. We will introduce ourselves early in the semester, and buddies can help each other brainstorm projects, edit each others’ work, provide feedback before assignments are due, and help each other work in drafts, starting projects early and completing them in good time.

graded assignments: individual museum paper, group flyer and event, individual or partner curation project, individual learning analysis, logbook

Five kinds of assignments are required in this class: • an individual essay about your museum visits & how you know something is feminist, • a group (your section) project in which together you create a feminist event, real or fictional, a flyer to let folks know about it, and a collective definition of the term “feminist,” included on the flyer as an important feature of event; all presented by group in class (presentation participation is required to receive a grade) • an individual or partner curation project linking intersectional identities and feminist art activisms (a presentation of this work is also part of its grade) • a final learning analysis (a presentation of which will also be part of its grade) • a running cumulative logbook, turned in with each assignment, showing exactly which graded assignments you have done so far and what there is still to do. LOOK AT CLASS WEBSITE TO DOWNLOAD ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES FOR EACH ASSIGNMENT AS THEY ARE AVAILABLE!

The logbook will help you organize your projects. It also allows your TAs and Katie to know how you are progressing in the class and keeps open our lines of communication about assignments, attendance, and concerns. It is turned in four times during the semester, each time you get credit for that particular assignment only as accompanied by the logbook, and credit for all the assignments of the course requires the final cumulative version turned in on the last day of class with the final version of the learning analysis. Together the museum paper and the group feminism project count for 1/3 of your grade, the curation project for another 1/3, and the learning analysis, info sheet, and all logbooks together count for the final 1/3.

Notice that presentations are an essential part of most assignments, necessary in order to receive credit for the assignment. That means you must build into your understanding of each one the idea that anything written is not all that is necessary to complete your work and to get credit for it. If an emergency or illness kept you from participation in presentations, to get full credit you will have to meet with three other students to share your work and their work outside class, and write up the experience and what you learned from it to complete the presentation portion and to get your grade.

Obviously attending class faithfully and taking good notes will make all this work a lot easier. Lecture materials are displayed on the class website, to be reviewed at any time. In college courses ALWAYS use your projects to demonstrate how you uniquely put together, or synthesize, class readings, lectures and discussion. Make a point of displaying that you are doing all the reading and attending all the classes. Doing this clearly and carefully will demonstrate that this is your own work, and ensure your credit for honesty and for real engagement with the course.

Wondering how grades are determined? What they mean?

v  A work is excellent, unusually creative and/or analytically striking
v  B is fine work of high quality, though not as skilled, ambitious, or carefully presented as A
v  C is average or usual work fulfilling the assignment; should not be hasty, or insufficiently collaborated 
v  D work is below average or incomplete; shows many difficulties or cannot follow instructions
v  F work is not sufficient to pass; unwillingness to do the work, or so many difficulties unable to complete

Remember, you can always talk to Katie and / or your TA about grades and your evaluation concerns during office hours anytime. Feedback is always available, be sure to ask for it when you are concerned about it and note that grades are not the only sort of feedback either, or even the best sorts. Indeed, try not to let the grades structure your learning experiences wholly: it is the learning that matters most! Don’t eat the menu (the grades) instead of the meal (learning)!

what to do when you must unavoidably miss class, perhaps for illness:  

·       TALK TO AT LEAST TWO CLASS BUDDIES IMMEDIATELY. Before you even come back to class, call them up or email them and find out if any thing you need to plan for is happening the day you return, and make sure that you know about any changes in the syllabus. Try to have done the reading and be as prepared as possible to participate in class and with your projects when you return.
·       MAKE A DATE TO MEET WITH CLASS BUDDY TO GET NOTES AND DISCUSS WHAT WENT ON IN CLASS WHILE YOU WERE GONE. You are responsible for what happened in class while you were gone. As soon as possible, get caught up with notes, with discussions with buddies and finally with all the readings and assignments. Always talk with class buddies first. This is the most important way to know what went on when you were gone and what you should do.
·       AFTER YOU HAVE GOTTEN CLASS NOTES AND TALKED ABOUT WHAT WENT ON IN CLASS WITH BUDDIES, THEN MAKE APPOINTMENT TO SEE YOUR TA. If you just miss one class, getting the notes and such should be enough. But if you've been absent for more than a week, be sure you make an appointment with your TA and possible with Katie, and come in and discuss what is going on. We all want to know how you are doing and how we can help. Or, while you are out, if it's as long as a week, send your TA or Katie email (Katie at and let us know what is happening with you, so we can figure out what sort of help is needed. You may need to contact section members or class buddies as well.
·       IF YOU ARE OUT FOR ANY EXTENDED TIME be sure you contact Katie as well as your TA. Keep all of us up to date on what is happening, so that any arrangements necessary can be made. If you miss too much class you will have to retake the course at another time. But if you keep in contact, depending on the situation, perhaps accommodations can be made. Since attendance is crucial for the process of this special course and thus for your final grade LET KATIE AND TA KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING so that we can help as much and as soon as possible.

·       THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN EXCUSED ABSENCE AND ANYTHING ELSE: generally speaking you are only allowed to make up work you missed if you have an excused absence. That the absence is excused does not mean you are excused from doing the work you missed, but that you allowed to make it up. Katie usually permits people to make up any work they miss, and does not generally require documentation for absences. Be sure to give explanations in your logbook and do make up all work you have missed. 



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