Gender and Communication

Dr. Marcia D. Dixson

Building Bridges Between the Sexes

through Understanding of our Differences and Similarities



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Summer, 2008

Office hours: MT 3:00 - 5:00 and by appt.
Office: NF 230B
Phone: 481-6558 Email:

Course objectives:

1) To understand the influence of sexist communication on thoughts and behaviors;
2) To recognize sexist practices in interpersonal, family, organizational and mediated contexts;
3) To value equality and fairness for men and women.

Course textbook:

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Ivy, D.K. & Backlund, P. (2008). Genderspeak: Personal Effectiveness in Gender and Communication. Fourth Edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Note: Be sure you get the new edition as both the third and fourth editions are in the bookstore.

Course requirements:

Mini-projects (3) 30%
Midterm 10%
Weekly Readings 25%
Theory Webpage 15%
Gender Issues Project 20%

Mini-projects: You will be required to do three mini-projects which ask you to apply what you are learning to the rest of the world to see where/when sexist practices might still be going on. For each of these you will add what you have learned to your webpage. These may include web or popular media based empirical research, they are not academic journal research projects. Due the weeks of the topics you choose. Grading criteria. Kevin's page

Webpage: A compilation of what you have learned about the various topics of the mini-projects, your gender issues project and your theory teaching page. This is part of the grade for each of these assignments. Kevin's page

Weekly Readings: Most weeks there will be readings with assigned questions. Answer the questions in the discussion forum in Blackboard by Friday at 5:00 pm

Theories teaching page : Choose either Standpoint Theory, Social Construction Theory, or Muted Group Theory. Create a webpage/website which "teaches" the primary concepts of this theory within the context of gender and communication. Due either July 11th or 18th depending on theory. Kevin's page

Midterm: Individual test over the content in the book.

Gender issues project: This is a research project webpage (not a paper) about a gender topic of interest to you. It may be something covered in the readings that you want to look into more deeply, it may be a topic we do not get to in class: i.e., women or gays in the military, gay marriage, discrimination in other nations, religious discrimination etc. This is a research (scholarly journal articles, academic books, credible popular/news, and credible web sources) based project. I encourage you to delve deeper into some of the sources your book mentions. It may also include original research (coding, interviews, surveys etc.). However, this is not expected to be a thorough/exhaustive literature review on the topic. Three to five sources is plenty. You may use credible popular/news sources as well as scholarly sources. Grading criteria Kevin's page


Course policies:

Assignments: Papers are expected to be typed, double-spaced. Turn them in on time. Late assignments (papers, presentations etc.) (up to one class period) are subject to up to a 20% reduction of points (two letter grades). If you have a bona fide excuse (hospitalization, car accident etc.), talk to me.

Missed classes: If you cannot or do not attend class, get the notes from someone. Group presentation points can only obtained by being here and active. If you know you must miss class, talk to me and your group ahead of time. In case of emergency, call ASAP. Treat this like you would a job! Good work habits are an asset in many situations.

Grade complaint/question policy: Except in the case of error (I added wrong), all grades are final. I will be happy to discuss your grade, i.e., why you received it, how you can improve it the next time, etc. I won’t change it.

Civility expectations: While you are not required to agree with everyone's opinions, you are required to respect them in class. However, because you have an opinion, does not mean it is a valid opinion! Back up your statements with facts, direct experiences etc.

Helpful places on campus:
Services for Students with a Disability: If you have a disability or acquire one and want to find out about what special services and accommodations are available, you may contact Services for Students with Disabilities in WALB 113.
Writing Center: Can help you with general writing problems or specific assignments (including APA research papers) in KT G19.
CASA (Center for Academic Support and Advancement): Offers many kinds of services to students including tutoring in KT G23.

Helmke Library offers research librarians who can help you find what you need.


All assignments are due on Friday, except the midterm.


3 Prologue and Chapter One: Gender Jargon

11 Chapter 2 Gender Socialization and Standpoint Theory and Chapter 3 Gender and Media and Social Construction Theory

18 Chapter 4 Gendered Language and Muted Group Theory and
Chapter 5: Relationships and gender

Midterm Due

25 Chapter 6: Friendships and Chapter 7 Romantic relationships


1 Chapter 8 Power and gender and Chapter 9 Workplace and gender

8 Chapter 10 Education and Gender and Gender Issue Project Due