Living in a Diverse World:

Women’s Voices/Women’s Lives

IS 201 - 03


Instructor:                  Dr. Erika Lindgren      

Phone:             352-8201                                 314 Luther

Office hours:              MF 9:05-10:05, T 1:30-2:30, and by appointment


This course uses autobiographies and memoirs to look at the experiences of women in various societies throughout history to discover how women viewed themselves and others, how they expressed themselves, and the events and influences of their lives. These societies will include Japan, Africa, China, Europe, and Russia. Course is writing intensive.


Goals and Outcomes

1. Students will recognize challenges and opportunities in a world characterized by a complex array of   cultures and subcultures.

· Students will be able to:

articulate the extent to which their own and society's perceptions, beliefs, and values are critically influenced by culture.

articulate the value of human diversity as an enriching aspect of personal and societal life.

connect their understanding of human diversity to a specific cultural topic/theme.


2. Students will connect a "widened view of the world" to liberal learning.

· Students will understand the connection between tolerance for ambiguity and an openness to diversity.


3. Students will become more sophisticated critical inquirers.

· Students will be able to

identify and explain the thesis of texts of various types
identify and explain the author's position.
identify and explain the assumptions, strengths & limitations in a text.
evaluate the quality of arguments/positions in a text.
synthesize information.

· Students will refine their information literacy skills by

designing & performing more sophisticated search strategies for gathering and using information & materials for projects and assignments.
evaluating more rigorously the quality of information sources.


4. Students will become more effective communicators.

· Students will develop skills of effective interaction with diverse others.

· Students will demonstrate effective communication through:

civil discourse.
small-group interaction.
various kinds of writing.




Required Texts/Materials

The Confessions of Lady Nijō (Stanford)


As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams (Penguin)


Hortense and Marie Mancini, Memoirs (Chicago)


Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe (Norton)


Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince (Penguin)


Tickets to the Vagina Monologues [about $8] and the Drag Show [about $3]



Responses- These 1-2 page writing assignments ask you to respond to and reflect upon diversity events that you attend.  Each is worth 25 points.  Three events have been pre-picked, and the remaining three (which should all be different) are at your discretion, but they must be related somehow to the issue of diversity.  Turn in assignments in the class following the event.

Annotated Bibliographies- Students will create three annotated bibliographies over the course of the semester.  More information will be provided closer to when the first bibliography is due.

Research paper- Each students will propose and conduct a research project related to the course theme.  The finished paper should be 8 pages long excluding bibliography and appendices (but including notes).  The proposal for the paper is due January 29. The draft is due March 17.  The final paper is due on the last day of class.  Presentations of students finding will be given on the last day of class and during the finals period.

Participation- Participation is key in this class.  Merely being present is not participating.  Much of class will be based on discussions of the readings, so students need to reflect on the reading before class and be willing to discuss the works and ask questions.  The more you participate the better your participation grade will be.  To that end students will sometimes be asked to submit questions or comments about the reading prior to class.  Any reading quizzes will also count toward participation.

Grading and Attendance Policy

MLK event response                                        25

Vagina Monologues response                           25

Drag show response                                         25

Extra diversity event response 1                        25

Extra diversity event response 2                        25

Extra diversity event response 3                        25

Annotated Bibliography 1                                 100

Annotated Bibliography 2                                 100

Annotated Bibliography 3                                 100

Research paper draft                                        0

Research paper revision                                    200

Research presentation                                       50

Participation                                                     300



You are responsible for all material covered in the classes you miss.  If you miss more than 10% of the class meetings, your final course grade will be docked.    Missing class also means you can not contribute to your participation in class. 


Special Needs:

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides protection from illegal discrimination for qualified individuals with disabilities.  Students requesting instructional accommodations due to disabilities must arrange for such accommodations by contacting Pathways Associate for Testing and Advising Carla Coates.  She can be reached at the Pathways Center, 314 Vogel Library, Wartburg College, Waverly, IA 50677, 352-8230, <>.   Presenting documentation of a student’s disability early (before the beginning of classes) is helpful and often necessary to secure needed materials in a timely way.  Accommodations should be requested PRIOR to affected assignment due dates.  For more detailed information, please see


Honor Code/Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the representation of the work or ideas of others as your own.  Plagiarism can result from failing to cite a source, giving sufficient credit to the original authors, closely paraphrasing without attribution, and direct copying.  The Academic Policies Committee of Student Senate and the Honor Council have asked faculty to remind students that they have a “…responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work”.  All forms of plagiarism and cheating will result in severe academic penalties.


By attending Wartburg College, students are demonstrating their dedication to the Honor Code.  The Honor Code reminds students of their responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work.  This is a reminder of your obligation to the Honor Code (from the policy developed by students and overseen by the Student Senate, the Honor Council, and the Academic Ombudsperson).




Classroom policies:

            1.   Arrive promptly

2.      Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, beepers, and noisy watches.

3.      You may only record my classes with my permission.

4.      If you know you must leave early, let me know before class and sit near the door.

5.      Limit exiting and reentering the classroom during the class period.  It is disruptive to your fellow students and distracting to the professor.

6.      Make sure you put your name on everything you turn in!

7.      Follow the directions on all assignments!  It will save headaches and heartaches.

8.      I have nothing against food and drink in the classroom.  Just make sure it is not too messy, smelly, or noisy- NO chips!!  AND PICK UP AFTER YOURSELF!




Schedule of classes: When texts are listed for a class session, students should arrive having already read and reflected on this material.  Assignments are listed on the dates they are due.



1/6       Introduction.  Wartburg College Diversity and Inclusion Plan.

1/8       Court Life in Heian Japan

Read: As I Crossed. . Introduction


1/13     Lady Sarashina’s youth

            Read: As I Crossed. . 31-68

1/15     Lady Sarashina’s later life

            Read: As I Crossed. . 69-110


1/19     MLK Day Festivities

1/20     ILAC session.  MLK discussion.  Meet in Classroom 2 in Library.  MLK response due

            Read: Confessions, Introduction and Major Characters

1/22     Kamakura Japan

            Read: Confessions, Book 1


1/27     Lady Nijō

            Read: Confessions, Book 2

1/29     Lady Nijō                                             Project proposal due

            Read: Confessions, Book 3


2/3       Lady Nijō

            Read: Confessions, Book 4

2/5       Lady Nijō

            Read: Confessions, Book 5

2/5, 2/6, 2/7 Performances of the Vagina Monologues at 7:30 in McCaskey Lyceum. Gather after.


2/10     Late Medieval Europe                          Monologues Response due

            Read: Kempe

2/12     Margery Kempe                                   Annotated bibliography 1 due (Medieval Japan)

            Read: Kempe


2/17     Oh Margery

            Read: Kempe

2/19     Oh Margery

            Read: Kempe


2/24     Oh Margery

            Read: Kempe

2/26     NO CLASS




3/10     Renaissance Women                            

            Read: Joan Kelly, “Did Women Have a Renaissance?”

3/12     Early Modern European Women                Annotated Bibliography 2 due (Medieval Europe)

            Read: Memoirs, “Series Editors Introduction” and “The Memoirs of Hortense and Marie Mancini”



3/17     Hortense’s life                                     

            Read: Memoirs, “To M ***”

3/19     Marie’s life

            Read: “The Truth in Its Own Light,” 83-128                 


3/24     Marie’s Life continued                     Draft of research paper due

            Read: “The Truth in Its Own Light,” 129-174

3/26     A history of drag and crossdressing                  

3/28     GALA week Drag show.


3/31     African women                         Drag show response due

            Read: Mary Prince

4/2       TBA                                                     Annotated Bibliography 3 due (Early Modern Europe)


4/7       TBA

4/9       Presentations                                        Research paper due


Tuesday April 14, 8:30-10:30 Final Activity- Presentations.

The professor reserves the right to make changes to syllabus, and will notify students when she does so.


Grading standards for essays and papers          Dr. Lindgren


An “A” essay is excellent in nearly all respects.  An “A” essay:

-is well-argued and well-organized, with a clear thesis.

-is well-developed, with content that is original, specific, interesting, appropriate, and convincing.

-has logical transitions that contribute to a fluent style of writing.

-has varied and sophisticated sentence structure.

-has few, if any, mechanical, grammatical, spelling, or diction errors (no more than 3).

-demonstrates command of a mature, unpretentious diction.

-uses the sources extremely well.


A “B” essay shares most characteristics of an “A” essay, but:

-may have some minor lapses in organization and development.

-may contain some sentence structures that are awkward or ineffective.

-may have minor mechanical, grammatical, or diction problems.

-may be less distinguished in its use of language.

-may not use the sources as well.


A “C” essay is competent, but compared to a “B” essay it:

-may have a weaker thesis and less effective development.

-may contain some lapses in organization.

-may have poor or awkward transitions.

-may have less varied sentence structures that tend toward monotony.

-may have more mechanical, grammatical, and diction problems.

-is likely to be less distinguished in its handling of the topic.


A “D” essay is likely to:

-present a thesis too vague or too obvious to be developed.

-display major organization problems.

-lack adequate support for its thesis.

-have confusing or non-existent transitions.

-have ungrammatical or poorly constructed sentences.

-demonstrate problems with spelling, punctuation, diction, or syntax that impede understanding.

-not cite sources.

-be sloppy.


An “F” essay is seriously flawed.  It is likely to:

-have no clear thesis or central topic.

-display random organization.

-lack adequate support or specific development.

-include irrelevant details.

-fail to fulfill the assignment or be unfairly brief.

-contain major or repeated errors in diction, syntax, grammar, punctuation, or spelling.



Adapted from Carol Engelhardt, Ph.D.