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CAS 455 - Gender Roles in Communication

Professor: Anne Demo
Office: 216 Sparks
Phone: (814) 865-6255
Email: atd1@psu.edu 

Historically, the study of gender involved examining the diverse ways that societies organize individuals into binary categories (men and women) and attached meaning to those categories.  In Gender Roles in Communication, we will explore the role of communication in constructing, normalizing, and challenging binary conceptions of gender.  We will also connect the assigned theories and research to events unfolding outside the classroom.  As a result, your experience, ideas, and questions are a key part of this course!  Throughout the semester, we’ll consider not only what gender norms currently inform U.S. culture but also imagine what might be and how we, as change agents, could act to improve our individual and collective lives.

Course Objectives

  1. Develop a critical vocabulary for analyzing how gender is constructed and normalized through language, communicative norms, and cultural patterns;
  2. Understand the interconnectedness of gender, sexuality, race, and identity;
  3. Differentiate between gender norms in different eras and settings;
  4. Apply theoretical concepts addressed in readings to diverse texts (cartoons, ads, films, conversations, social media campaigns, etc.).