When I taught “Women and Work” this winter, I had a great time experimenting with regular use of music videos. I played one just before class as students were coming in each day. I selected some of the songs myself (with help from the Sociologists for Women in Society listserve – thanks!), and others were suggested by students as part of an extra credit assignment (see more on the logic of incorporating student-generated content into the classroom in my post on the subject here). After the song finished, the person who proposed using it said a few words about why s/he chose it. Then, we might have a brief class discussion about the song and/or refer back to it for more analysis later in the class. Some of the songs expressed feminist ideals, some the opposite of that, and many were in ambiguous middle ground.
I found that playing songs as students are coming in had a number of benefits. First, it made it easier to start class on time with little disruption from late or chatty students. As they arrive they focus on watching the video and by the time it ends they are quiet and ready to start class. For the first half of the quarter or so, students also seemed to be arriving earlier than usual so as not to miss the song. Second, it gave us a fun way to expand the reach of our reading beyond the classroom and out into the pop culture in which they are immersed in day-to-day life.
See the complete syllabus, including the extra-credit assignment, here.
Here’s what we listened to, listed with my reading assignments so you can see how the songs relate to the class content.
UNIT 1: INTRODUCTION
- SONG: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
- Corbett, Christianne & Catherine Hill. 2012. “Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year After College Graduation.” Washington, D.C.: AAUW.
- SONG: Gonna Be an Engineer by Peggy Seeger
- Amott, Teresa and Julie Matthaei. 2001. “Race, Class, Gender, and Women’s Works.” Pp. 234-242 in Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology, 4th ed., edited by M. L. Andersen and P. H. Collins. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
- Padavic, Irene & Barbara Reskin. 2002. Women and Men at Work. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. Ch. 3: “An Overview of Sex Inequality at Work”
UNIT 2: KEY CONCEPTS
January 14th Progress and Virtue
- SONG: If You See(k) Amy by Brittany Spears
- Faludi, Susan. 1991. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. New York: Crown Publishers. Ch. 3: Backlashes Then and Now.
- Boryczka, Jocelyn M. 2012. Suspect Citizens: Women, Virtue and Vice in Backlash Politics. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Introduction: Moral Guardians but Suspect Citizens: Women, Virtue and Vice in the Western Political Imaginary
January 16th Wages and Work
- SONG: She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summers
- Kessler-Harris, Alice. 2001. “The Wage Conceived: Value and Need as Measures of a Woman’s Worth.” Pp. 239-252 in Feminist Frontiers, 5th ed., edited by L. Richardson, V. Taylor and N. Whittier. New York: McGraw Hill.
- Sacks, N. E. and C. Marrone. 2004. Gender and Work in Today’s World: A Reader. Cambridge: Westview Press. Ehrenreich: “Nickel and Dimed: Selling in Minnesota”
January 21st Gendered Organizations
- ADVERTISEMENT: Virgin Atlantic – 25 Years, Still Red Hot (thanks Meeno Kohli!)
- Acker, Joan. 1990. “Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations,” Gender & Society 4(2):139-158.
- Schilt, Kristen. 2006. “Just One of the Guys? How Transmen Make Gender Visible at Work.” Gender & Society 20(4):465-490.
January 23rd Structure and Choice
- TRAILER: The Wolf of Wall Street
- England, Paula. 2010. “The Gender Revolution: Uneven and Stalled.” Gender & Society 24:149-166.
- Reskin, Barbara F., & Michelle L. Maroto. 2011. “What Trends? Whose Choices?: Comment on England.” Gender & Society 25:81-87.
UNIT 3: WOMEN’S WORK THROUGHOUT US HISTORY
January 28th Historical Overview
- SONG: Rosie the Riveter by The Four Vagabonds
- Coleman, Margaret S. 2000. “Undercounted and Underpaid Heroines: The Path to Equal Opportunity in Employment During the Twentieth Century.” WorkingUSA 3(5):37-65.
- Padavic, Irene & Barbara Reskin. 2002. Women and Men at Work. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press. Ch. 2: Gendered Work in Time and Place
January 30th Racialized Experiences over Time
- SONG: Strange Fruit by Billy Holiday
- Ammott, Teresa & Julie Matthaei. 1996. Race, Gender and Work: A Multicultural Economic History of Women in the United States. Boston, MA: South End Press. “Climbing Gold Mountain: Asian American Women” and “We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible: African-American Women”
UNIT 4: THE DAILY EXPERIENCE OF WORK
February 4th Race, Class and Gender at Work
- SONG: El Picket Sign by El Teatro Campesino (on the Rolas de Aztlan: Songs of the Chicano Movement cd)
- García-Lopez, Gladys & Denise A. Segura. 2008. “’They are testing you all the time’: Negotiating Dual Femininities among Chicana Attorneys.” Feminist Studies 34(1/2):229-258.
- Castaneda, Xochitl & Patricia Zavella. 2003. “Changing Constructions of Sexuality and Risk: Migrant Mexican Women Farmworkers in California.” The Journal of Latin American Anthropology 8(2):126-151.
February 6th Sexualized Workplaces
- SONG: I’m ‘n Luv Wit A Stripper by T-Pain
- Jefreys, Sheila. 2009. Keeping Women Down and Out: The Strip Club Boom and the Reinforcement of Male Dominance. Signs 34(1):151-173.
- Zinn, Maxin Baca, Pierette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Michael A. Messner, eds. 2011. Gender Through the Prism of Difference. New York: Oxford University Press. Patti A. Guiffre and Christine L. Williams: “Boundary Lines: Labeling Sexual Harassment in Restaurants”
February 11th Emotional Labor
- SONG: Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé
- Wharton, Amy S. 2009. “The Sociology of Emotional Labor.” Annual Review of Sociology. 35:147-165.
- Lois: “Peaks and Valleys: The Gendered Emotional Culture of Rescue Workers”
UNIT 5: FAMILY LIFE AND WORK
February 13th Parenting and Work
- SONG: Mr. Mom by Lonestar
- Legerski, Elizabeth Miklya & Marie Cornwall. 2010. “Working-Class Job Loss, Gender, and the Negotiation of Household Labor” Gender & Society 24:447-474.
- Warner, Judith. 2013. “The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In.” The New York Times. Retrieved on January 3, 2013 at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/magazine/the-opt-out-generation-wants-back-in.html?pagewanted=1&emc=eta1
February 18th Outsourcing Family Work
- SONG: Sadie’s Servant Room Blues by Hattie Burleson
- Duffy, Mignon. 2007. “Doing the Dirty Work: Gender, Race, and Reproductive Labor in Historical Perspective.” Gender and Society 21:313-336.
- Sacks, N. E. and C. Marrone. 2004. Gender and Work in Today’s World: A Reader. Cambridge: Westview Press. Hondagneu-Sotelo: “Domestica: Maid in L.A.”
UNIT 6: WOMEN MAKING CHANGE
February 20th Women and Activism
- SONG: Girls Lie Too by Terri Clark
- Wallace, Aubrey. 1993. Eco-Heroes: Twelve Tales of Environmental Victory. San Francisco, CA: Mercury House. “Mrs. Gibbs Goes to Washington.”
- Perkins, Tracy. 2012. “Women’s Pathways Into Activism: Rethinking the Women’s Environmental Justice Narrative in California’s San Joaquin Valley.” Organization & Environment 25(1):76-94.
February 25th Women and the Labor Movement
- SONG: We Were There by Bev Grant and the Brooklyn Women’s Chorus
- Boris, Eileen and Annelise Orleck. 2011. “Feminism and the Labor Movement: A Century of Collaboration and Conflict.” New Labor Forum 20(1):33-41.
March 4th Case Study: Facebook’s Cheryl Sandberg
- Sandberg, Cheryl. 2013. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Chapters 1-6
March 6th Case Study: Facebook’s Cheryl Sandberg
- SONG: Independent Woman by Destiny’s Child
- Sandberg, Cheryl. 2013. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Chapters 7-11
- Losse, Kate. 2014. “Feminism’s Tipping Point: Who Wins from Leaning in?” Dissent: A Quarterly of Politics and Culture March 26. Retrieved on January 3, 2013 from http://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/feminisms-tipping-point-who-wins-from-leaning-in
UNIT 7: STUDENT-LED LEARNING
March 11th Student Presentations
March 13th Student Presentations
March 19th Student Presentations