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January 22, 2009

Rubric for Reading Reflection Assignments

Rubric for weekly Women and Religion Reading Reflection assignments.

I. Weekly entries show evidence of having read and understood the reading assignment before writing, and have taken a minimum of 30-60 minutes each week of thoughtful writing time in doing the Reading Reflection assignment.

II. Word count is a minimum of 250 words, with 500 words preferred.

III. Writing has responded to the assigned reading and to the posted Reading Reflection question(s) in ways that shows understanding of key points of the reading and/or asks thoughtful questions. Responds to reading rather than just summarizing material or ideas.

IV. When appropriate, writing makes reference to other readings, to other class members’ ideas, or to personal experiences in ways that that shows meaningful connections to the week’s reading assignment.

V. Writes in a manner that conveys ideas clearly. Attributes ideas or quoted material appropriately.

Excellent = “A? range
Good = “B? range
Satisfactory = “C? range
Partially Satisfactory =?D? range

Point value: 8 points possible for each Reading Response. 8=A; 7=B; 6=C; 5=D; less than 5 = not passing for this assignment.

Late Reading Reflections can be posted up to one week late, but will lose one point (one grade level), unless I have given you permission for the late assignment due to unusual extenuating circumstances.

January 15, 2009

Reading Reflection Weekly Assignment Overview

Women and Religion – Reading Responses Weekly Assignment

The purpose of writing these responses to the reading is to help you reflect personally on the concepts and issues you are being exposed to, and to prepare you to contribute to group learning through your later responses to others’ ideas. This writing will require between 30-60 minutes each week. The reading response is due for full points no later than NOON each Thursday that the reading is due, posted as instructed on the course Web site. The "grace period" for postings with one point lost is noon the following Thursday.

Writing reading responses is intended to help you:
- reflect on, clarify, question, and respond to class readings
- understand these concepts and issues in light of your own life experience
- raise questions about women’s experience in religion to share with others in the class.

How to Begin
1. You may want to hand write your entries initially, but will need to record them electronically via word processing to post on the Web.

2. When you are done with your reading (use the "Reading Discussion" questions as a guide to reading in depth), start writing in response to the Reading Reflection question for the week. Set aside enough time that you can spend 30-60 minutes in thoughtful writing on the question. You may also wish to add some reflection on events happening in your life or in the public realm that connect to class discussion and readings, as long as you pay some substantial attention to the reading reflection question posed for that week.

3. Your comments can be personal, drawing upon memories and observations from your experience, but they should relate to things we are working on in the class.

4. Please write in complete sentences, not bullet-points or lists. I won’t be expecting polished academic prose in these reading reflections, but clear writing does communicate your thoughts better than garbled or "stream of consciousness" writing. Also, since others in the class will be able to read your thoughts, you want to make them coherent and interesting.

5. Please conform to the rules governing good usage of quoted material. Don't write down information from a text without using quotes and giving a page number. If you are paraphrasing ideas from the text, you need to mention this informally (as in, "Jones describes. . . . , Smith suggests that. . . ."), rather than having it be ambiguous as to whether this is your thought or a thought from the reading. (In a more formal paper, you would need to add a footnote for paraphrases as well.)

6. Even though this is relatively informal writing, I will be checking for instances of plagiarism. Here’s what I would suggest: If you are responding to an article, PUT IT ASIDE as you write, so you don’t inadvertently “borrow? language from the text in your own response. That will encourage you to really put your ideas into your own language. If there is something striking that you want to quote directly, do so, using quotation marks. However, it is best to keep any direct quotations to a minimum, as the important thing here is what YOU think about the ideas you have just been exposed to.

Course Evaluation and Policies

Assignments and Evaluation Criteria (more instructions and details will be provided for each area)

Contributions to group learning -- 10% of grade
Reading responses -- 30% of grade
Two short papers -- 30% of grade (15% each)
Major project paper -- 30% of grade

Evaluation criteria:
• show reasoning/analytic skills by summarizing complex positions from the reading, supporting conclusions drawn from comparing and contrasting different texts;
• demonstrate in an understanding of American women’s experience of religion and of the development in recent decades of scholarship on women and religion;
• give evidence in of an understanding of the ways contemporary American women have participated in, contributed to, and sought changes in religious traditions;
• show an appreciation for the values, aspirations, and life circumstances of writers and fellow class members related to the impact of gender and sexual preference in shaping experience of contemporary religious institutions.
• show an ability to find information from community resources.

Late work: For full credit, reading responses must be posted on the Web site no later than noon on the date due. Late reading responses will be accepted only up to one week past the posted due date, and will be graded down one letter grade. Beyond the week, no late reading responses will be accepted. The same rule will apply to late short papers – accepted only up to one week late, but graded down one letter grade. The final paper will not be accepted late. If you experience extremely extenuating circumstances, please discuss your situation with me to see if you qualify for an incomplete.

Essays are graded according to Metro State standards:
A - for consistently outstanding work which surpasses the course requirements,
which exhibits mastery of the subject and is interesting to read. Excellent.
B - for work significantly better than course requirements, work which is interesting to read but which
may exhibit problems of a minor nature. Good.
C - for work which meets the basic course requirements. Adequate.
D - for work which merits credit but is below average. Partially Adequate.
F - No Credit.
N - No Credit.
S - Satisfactory. A “C-? or better.

Plagiarism (from the Student Handbook)

In simple terms, plagiarism is using another person's words or ideas and presenting them as your own, without acknowledging the original source. This is a very serious offense and qualifies as grounds for expulsion.
Plagiarism often takes the form of a student copying information from one source and presenting it in a paper or report without the use of footnotes or direct mention of the source in the body of the paper. Naturally, students are expected to read and use a variety of sources when writing a paper, but when the exact words (or words with slight modification) or ideas of others are used, the sources should be properly acknowledged. When instructors read student papers, they want to know which ideas are the student's and which belong to other sources.

It is also unacceptable to submit another person's paper or examination as your own. You should be aware that the university subscribes to plagiarism detection software, and that your papers may be selected randomly for plagiarism checking. In instances of plagiarism, instructors may impose sanctions such as a failing grade. If you have questions about the use of footnotes or other notations, talk to your instructor, consult the Library and Information Services web site, or seek assistance in the proper way of writing a paper by contacting the Writing Center.

Instructor Availability:

I will respond promptly to e-mail questions or inquiries, and will be available by phone as indicated on the printed syllabus. In person meetings will be available on Thursday evenings.

Course Calendar of Assignment Due Dates

Calendar for Course

Course activities, and many due dates, are Thursdays 1-15-09 – 4-30-09. (Note January 18 is the last day to cancel with refund; March 9-13 Spring Break; April 12 last day to withdraw; April 30 is Commencement).

This assignment calendar is subject to changes as the course moves on. Check this site at least twice weekly!

= = = = = = = = = = =

Week #2 - Readings for January 22: Womanspirit Rising, Preface, pp. 1-62 (required). Bednarowski pp. 1-15 (recommended - skim for overview of feminist studies of religion over time).

Week #3 - Readings for January 29: Womanspirit Rising pp. 63-130

Week #4 - Readings for February 5: Womanspirit Rising pp. 131-192.

Week #5 - Readings for February 12: -- Womanspirit Rising pp. 193-286.

Week #6 - Readings for February 19: -- WTV pp. ix-92.

Week #7 - Readings for February 26: WTV pp. 92-170.

** February 28 (Saturday) First Short Paper Due via e-mail: "Foremothers" - changed date**

Week #8 - Readings for March 5: WTV pp. 171-266.

March 9-13: Spring Break – No Class

Week #9 - Readings for March 19: WTV pp. 267-356.

Week #10 - Readings for March 26: BWOE pp. 3-12, 51-80, 93-104, 133-150.

Project #2 (participation/observation) due as e-mail attachment by midnight, Saturday, April 4 (changed date).

Week #11 - Readings for April 2: BWOE pp. CHANGED - SEE BELOW
1) bell hooks, p. 287, "Contemplation and Transformation"
2) Pema Chodron, p. 293, "No Right, No Wrong"
3) Jan Willis, p. 81, "Buddhism and Race."
4) Thubten Chodron, p. 223, "Living as a Western Buddhist Nun"
5) Rita Gross, p. 133, "Renunciation and Balance in American Buddhist Practice"


Week #12 - Readings for April 9: Bednarowski pp. ix -- 85.

Week #13 - Readings for April 16: Bednarowski pp. 86-149.

Week #14 - Readings for April 23: Bednarowski pp. 150-188.

Week #15 - April 30: Final papers due by midnight as e-mail attachment.

Overview of Course

Description: Does religion view women positively? Do certain religious teachings impact the quality of women’s lives and their role and status at home and in society? From a religious viewpoint, how can women and men work together toward change for the betterment of society? This upper-level (intended for experienced students) course examines religious teachings and treatment of women as well as the role of religion in women’s struggle for social change. Topics include analyses of women’s structural and personal oppression; critique of the role of gender, race, class and other diversity issues as they impact religious doctrines; and religious teachings about women and women’s spirituality.

This offering of the course will emphasize attention to women’s history and experience in contemporary American Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist traditions, while paying attention as well to women’s experience, leadership, and involvement in other contemporary American religious traditions. Historical and contemporary traditions will be studied through autobiography, films, arts, cultural studies and religious studies documents.

Competence Statement:
Knows features of women’s historical experience of religion as well as women’s contemporary contributions to religious thought and practice; can apply analytic frameworks from feminist scholarship to the study of women and religion; has demonstrated an appreciation for the creativity and diversity of women’s religious expression; recognizes the interlocking dimensions of gender, race, culture, sexual preference, and class in women’s experience in religion and in society; and understands and can articulate areas of ongoing challenge that both men and women face in society and religious institutions, including issues of unequal power, oppression, community building, resilience, and transformation.

Learning Outcomes:

A) To understand the historical framework of American women’s religious experiences, including an understanding of women’s contributions to American religion.

B) To be able to apply analytic frameworks and concepts from feminist scholarship in religious studies over the past thirty years.

C) To gain an appreciation for ethical and social contributions made by particular women in their development of religious innovations, leadership in creating social change, and serving as models of personal transformation.

D) To recognize and respect differences among groups and individuals, including the dimensions of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual preference, and nationality, and to understand how these differences can contribute to conflicts between religious groups, or to oppression of classes of people such as women or gay and lesbian people.

E) To understand how women’s spiritual traditions are preserved and passed on through families, through art, through ceremony, through teaching, and through women’s friendship groups.

F) To experience some form of community women’s culture during the period of this class.


Required Texts:

Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion –Christ & Plaskow, Eds.

Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality – Plaskow & Christ, Eds.

Buddhist Women on the Edge: Contemporary Perspectives from the Western Frontier – Marianne Dresser, Ed.

The Religious Imagination of American Women – Mary Farrell Bednarowski

Here is a link to the Word copy of the syllabus: Download file

January 14, 2009

Ground Rules (Netiquette)

Ground Rules Suggested by Prior Students

• Respect others' opinions; exercise toleration.

• No anger or malice if disagreeing.

• Learn peoples' names.

• Use non-judgmental language.

• Don't take things personally.

• Respond and let them know if someone unintentionally offends you.

• Use memories as well as intellect.

• Don’t proselytize or preach.

• Don’t use the class as an opportunity for personal therapy.

Instructor-Generated Ground Rules

• Be prepared (with reading completed, journal up to date) so you can contribute to group learning, via discussion or blog.

• Respect differences.

• Ground our positions in "I" statements.

• Celebrate our own heritages, and study, understand and respect the heritage and traditions of others.

• Use language that is respectful of all people.