Womens Studies: The Basics
I have doubts that my first and second year students will find it accessible. No complaints about the terminology and framework, other than there are terms and concepts used within this book that likely correlate with curriculum outcomes of U Mass Amherst, but do not correlate with my local outcomes. Since the text has a sociological bias, I assume that these terms I'm unfamiliar with are from that discipline. If I used this textbook in my class, I'd instruct students to ignore the several sections covering terms I'd not hold them responsible for learning.
Perfectly modular, easily divisible. It is formatted like a printed textbook, meaning that the pagination alternates from top left to top right. It's not a major problem, but a minor inconvenience. I know how some students struggle to decode information, so making things as simple and consistent as possible for users is best.
The choices the authors made in organizing the content is logical and clear. It is not a deterrent to teaching this material. Many of the paragraphs seem quite dense and lengthy. Chunking them smaller may help reading and engagement. The entire text is a. I'm unaware of how or whether navigation anchors can be implemented with pdf, but having navigation links that return one to the TOC or to the top of the unit, would save time and make browsing for information easier. Images and charts are generally okay, though there is minor pixellation with one or two images.
It is not an image-heavy text, so this is not a major concern. YouTube videos embedded within the textbook open and display with no problems. Highly culturally sensitive. One of its strengths is section 3 of Unit 1, which provides identity terms. For example, it posits "people of color" against "colored people" and explains what each term means, to whom it refers, and why or why not a person would choose to use those words, or to NOT choose to use the terms.
It does this with at least four or five other identity groups and suggests using terms that persons claiming those identities recognize and advocate using for themselves. This is ok. As an OER, it does a good job of introducing the majority of key concepts, philosophies and issues within the discipline. No one textbook can cover all the material that a professor deems essential, unless she creates it herself.
Conditions of Use
This text is great to use with undergraduate students who just beginning their college careers. It includes a historical analysis of the women's movements as well as the issues facing women today. The text includes historical data as well as data about our current state of affairs. Newer theories such as Intersectionality are included. Gender identity is covered as well. This is important because these issues are in the news and popular culture right now. The text is easy to read. Videos are included. This is a good book for college students beginning their academic career.
The text is consistent with its language. It discusses issues relevant today and uses language younger generations will be familiar with. The book is broken into smaller sections that can be assigned at different times during the term. The book is organized effectively. It details the history of feminist movements at the beginning and moves along from there talking about relevant topics of today such as non-binary genders, intersectionality, and body shaming. The book is easy to read as a PDF. It has youtube videos inserted thoughout giving the reader a visual snapshot of the theoretical topic discussed.
The book is culturally relevant. It is suited for a younger audience, using language of today's world. The text is distinctly more comprehensive in scope and content when contrasted to the unfortunately majority of current texts framed around gender studies. The text goes to great lengths to disrupt and unpack dominant discourses on gender and, The text goes to great lengths to disrupt and unpack dominant discourses on gender and, importantly, integrates this approach into the writing itself for example, the authors refer to an individual as 'female-assigned' rather than 'female,' which provides excellent modeling for students.
Of note, and a distinction from many 'gender, sex, sexuality' readers, this text weaves in many of the socio-political implications of ideologies for example, the prison industrial complex, multi-national corporations, etc around gender and sexuality, rather than simply providing definitions or presenting gender, sex or sexuality as enclosed systems. While the text does a truly excellent job unpacking gender with multiple frameworks, sex essentialism across disciplines, and feminist histories, we see far less on sexuality to the degree that it is perhaps misleading to describe this text as an introduction to women, gender, sexuality studies.
I would frame this book as extremely comprehensive with regard to contemporary gender studies and feminist studies, but as having, in contrast, very little content on critical sexuality studies. It is perhaps unfair or not entirely feasible for a social scientist, such as myself, to attempt to describe the accuracy or degrees of bias on topics that social scientists, such as myself, acknowledge are inherently subjective and require contextualization in time, place, and language.
That said, working within the same north Atlantic, anglo-phone and time frame as the production of this text, I would describe this text as 'accurate and unbiased' in the sense that it acknowledges the 'messiness' and extreme variability in lived experiences of gender. I would describe this book as very much 'up-to-date' on gender studies and I would envision it as remaining viable as up-to-date for at least several years. Due to the rapidly evolving language used around gender particularly trans studies and emerging forms of identity, this text in addition to every single text intended for the instruction of gender studies will need to be updated with a degree of frequency to remain as up-to-date as it is now.
However, the text is sectioned in ways that updates could be made with relative ease. The text is impressively accessible in fields known for jargon while also not overly simplifying importantly complex concepts. The prose is not overly 'conversational' nor is it as obtuse as likely this very review. This texts provides a clear means for students working at the introductory level to learn about gender critically without wading through oceans of words.
As a text that approaches and makes use of multiple frameworks in a field that is composed of multiple frameworks, the book remains internally consistent in that approach. I would describe this text's modularity as being as one of it's defining and most valuable characteristics. One could easily use only the first several chapters or even the later sections focusing on the history of feminist movements at no deficit to the concepts in the selected sections.
I find the organization and flow of the text to be clear, intuitive, and in line with how a course on gender studies might flow across a semester. The text does not appear to have any distorted images or text nor is it unclear at any point how to get from one point in the text to another. My only comment of concern--which is a critique that can be generalized to most, if not all, texts intended for an undergraduate audience--are the limited use of citations when discussing terms, concepts, or ideas that the authors did not themselves develop.
To be clear, the authors do engage, discuss, and cite far more theorists than a general reader including a clear and well-placed list of references at the end of each chapter and this contributes significantly to the overall quality of the book. Moreover, to provide the level of citations needed or expected of, say, a journal article would likely result in a diminished quality of clarity, which runs counter to the goal of the text. However, as an example of a concept or claim that would benefit from a citation, on page 20 the authors write " In short, those adopting this text and even those not adopting this text should remind students how and why citations are used.
The text provides a broad overview of key concepts, although some that would seem to me foundational are missing e. Intersectionality is woven in throughout, Intersectionality is woven in throughout, deeply enough for students to get a sense of its breadth, application, and usefulness but not so much or so deeply that the entire text is reduced to being a text on intersectionality.
A glossary and an index would be helpful; searching the text works but for some terms can be time-consuming and misleading. They need to be addressed separately, at least in passing, so as not to be confused in the minds of students. And, as with any text written by authors trained in specific disciplines, this text is deeply indebted to sociological thinking and only rarely explicitly includes other disciplinary approaches and methods.
While the instructor could easily add material to round out the text, it would be nice to have some of this in the text already. While some of the statistics and data are already starting to show their age, the brevity and organization of the text makes it easy for the authors to update. I would think a yearly update could be accomplished with relative ease.
The links worked but would need to be checked. The text is definitely chockful of concepts and terms that might be overwhelming on their own, but the brevity of the book suggests that it is designed to skeleton or frame a course and not be the sole or only text in the course. For that reason — and because the authors have chunked the text into units and sub-chapters — the relative density should be manageable, even for the first-semester college student.
This text flows well. Terms and concepts are standard throughout and the writing style is consistent. I appreciate the way this text is chunked into units and chapters that I believe I could assign in almost any order and that I could break up or group together to fit my course needs. The modularity or chunking also makes it easy for an instructor to insert additional introductory, supplementary, reinforcing, or mastery material of any type e.
The text flows well. One small issue is that the font-size of the attributions and captions is too large and distracting, especially when it is only an attribution. Some are oddly placed e. I reviewed this text for content and not closely for composition issues like grammar and punctuation. However, because of its brevity, the text sometimes glosses perhaps a tad lightly. For example, race is addressed and covered but I was left wondering if my students would leave the text with a more nuanced understanding of race or not. This is a clear and concise introduction, to women, gender and sexuality.
It provides a theoretical context and examines the various societal issues and constructs that shape individual beliefs. The book focuses on work and the economy, culture, The book focuses on work and the economy, culture, historical and contemporary movements, as well as the construction of binary systems, but not in isolation, it argues that the overlapping of systems reinforces beliefs. Given the comprehensiveness of the book, an interactive index and particularly a glossary would be helpful, as readers may find this a useful reference resource whilst reading, especially for keeping track of some of the acronyms and at a later date as a refresher for some of the terminology used within the subject.
It is written from an American perspective, so many of the illustrations reflect this, however, it would be of value for those that are researching the subject from a comparative perspective. The book is structured into Units with images and cleverly incorporates multimedia. It is a good starting point for readers who want to undertake further research, and the incorporated references will help with this. Given the nature of the subject keeping the content up-to-date may be a bit of a challenge, with respect to providing recent illustrations within the areas covered, and as terminology change.
However, the historical observations will still remain relevant. The book is clear and concise give the complexity of the subject areas. The inclusion of images and multimedia helps to consolidate the observations and the arguments within the text. Terminology and theory are necessary to explain the overlapping systems identified within the book, but these are written in a straightforward manner although a glossary would also help here.
Despite there being several authors of this book the text remains consistent throughout. The division into units and chapters within the units helps to pace the reader and would also help any teacher who would like to repurpose any aspect and integrate into their learning materials. The terminology is illustrated with real life examples which also assists understanding. The modularity of the book is one if its strengths. Given that this can be a complex subject, as it refers to social theory, history, medicine and science the structure and the pacing helps the reader to digest this.
The visuals and multimedia also break up the text. The writing is consistent and clear throughout and the units and chapters are not to onerous or large which is important in an introductory text. The book flows well, and the Units interrelate but can equally standalone. The theoretical start frames the subject well, before moving into the societal and historical units. The clear text is written within a critical context. The PDF format is not interactive, but it is possible to search the text.
The units and the chapters, however, help with the navigation. There was no issue navigating to the videos, and images rendered well and clearly captioned, including the creative commons licence. I could not see any errors with the book. One of the strengths of this book is its accessibly writing style throughout. The book is written in an inclusive way, the illustrations are also representative, although from an American perspective which is not particularly clear in the title and the introduction.
However, the theoretical overviews could be usefully integrated within any teaching within the area. The subject matter is presented from a cross cultural perspective, including, observations about race, class, globalisation,social activism and justice and the intersections between these in developing individual beliefs. The title clearly states that this is an introduction to women gender and sexuality studies which is clearly is. It opens the door to the subject and the lively writing style would help the reader to look further into the subject, and possibly more complex work.
Apart from theoretical observation, it is very much from an American perspective which could be made a little bit clearer, but nevertheless given that it is not too lengthy and well set out it would be of useful to any reader studying or interested in the subject. The authors are very comprehensive in their topic coverage. I particularly like how discussion of intersectionality permeates the text outside of its specific chapter. I also like how the authors supplemented their text with embedded videos, I also like how the authors supplemented their text with embedded videos, which heightened the accessibility of some of the material.
One limitation is that there is no glossary, so readers would need to keyword search within the document and to do that, they'd need to know what they were looking for. The authors use sociological and other social science research to back up their work, and provide reference lists for each unit.
It is possible that there are new data that could challenge some of the statements since the text was published, but it's quite current e. The language is unbiased in that it centers marginalized experiences. The language used to describe and refer to marginalized identities is current and explained well.
The units are arranged in reasonable chunks, and the content groups make sense. The writing is very clear, and speaking to the comprehensiveness of content, covers a large amount of terms and material. For an introductory text, there are a lot of social science terms, but I think the authors do a good job of explaining them, in addition to providing sources for further information, including videos. The consistency is great across all sections of the text. Intersectional perspectives inform all relevant content areas. The paragraphs are also manageable. As the chapters are short, they can be assigned individually or in groups.
For some chapters, it will make more sense to have other content explained first e. Some including me might want to start a class with a historical perspective of women's movements, though the authors put this content at the end of the text. The units are organized into groups of topics that make sense. Due to the modularity of some topics, the order could be arbitrary, but some later topics definitely benefit from the foundation of earlier topics e.
As I mentioned earlier, the terminology is up-to-date. The only area I found deficient was a discussion of religious identity. Religion is mentioned in passing a few times, but does not have its own chapter. As women comprise the majority of religious adherents, and several major religions have oppressive roots which have many implications for women and trans folks , I would like to have seen some coverage.
I think the authors provide an excellent introduction to the sociological perspective of women, gender, and sexuality. Reviewed by Maina C. The title of the book itself reflects its wide span of coverage -- from women and gender to more complex debates in Sexuality Studies.
It covers each of these areas in great detail providing examples which would be familiar and relevant to It covers each of these areas in great detail providing examples which would be familiar and relevant to students in the US. I don't believe that the content of this book will become obsolete anytime soon.watch
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However, textbooks such as this one, which provide several examples from contemporary American society and politics may require updates in due course. Should a future instructor desire to add or substitute examples, I believe that it should be easy to make modifications. A major strength of this book is its overall clarity and lucidity in explaining important concepts. Teaching courses on Gender and Sexuality requires unpacking wide-ranging concepts like Race, Class , Hegemony and so forth in order to contextualize gender in terms of structural inequalities rooted in colonialism, global production patterns , labor migrations etc.
The terminology and framework of the book create consistent flow. The book displays a student-centric approach to learning. The structure of the book enables easy insertion or modifications for future Instructors who may wish to assign only parts of this textbook. In fact, for the same reason, this textbook can be productively used for Online Teaching as well, where it would be easy to assign certain sections to any module which may require a discussion of Gender issues.
From Unit 1 which introduces the subject terrain to Units 4 'Gender and Work in the Global Economy' and finally Unit 5 'Historical and Contemporary Feminist Social Movements' , the book expands its canvas and deepens its critique with a wealth of detail and commentary that is commendable.
The text is culturally sensitive but is firmly rooted in a North American context. Thus, ' inclusiveness' of the authors is reflected in the attention that they pay to examining gender and power as it relates to the underprivileged and minority groups whether they may be oppressed due to Race, Class or Sexuality.
All of this has a North American focus-- even when there is a discussion of "Gender and Work in the Global Economy" Therefore, if an Instructor wishes to offer a course on Gender Studies encompassing a wider transnational canvas, then the examples presented here offer limited possibilities. The units in this textbook which explain concepts, terms and frameworks related to Gender and Sexuality are of immense value.
However, if OER initiatives are aimed at cost-reduction not only for for students in the US, but also transnationally, then for students of 'Gender and Sexuality Studies' outside the US, this textbook would have limited value because the debates presented herein are predominantly US-centric.
Even the last Unit which discusses "Historical and Contemporary Feminist Social Movements" , would have limited resonance for students in the Global South. Since OER initiatives also seek to provide cost-free textbooks globally, this is an important factor to bear in mind. I was impressed with the book's comprehensiveness.
I particularly appreciated the book's discussion of the field of sexuality studies, the binary, media and the importance of language. I also loved how the book incorporated videos.
This book would This book would work well for a survey or introductory course in sexuality studies. But, it's comprehensive enough to also be utilized for discrete class topics. And, finally, I liked how each unit had references at the end. That would make it easy for a junior or senior to use the text to provide a clear overview about a topic and then delve into the sources for a research paper. I regard the text to be accurate. With that said, this is a broad-brush approach to the subject matter.
If someone requires an in-depth examination of a topic in sexuality studies, I would then check the sources that the book references for that. The section on race could have been strengthened, though. I like the inclusion of scientific racism, But I wish that the authors had discussed: 1 that there is no such thing as a pure genetically homogeneous race; and 2 that there is no genetic basis for race.
With that said, I was surprised that the book didn't reference Stonewall at all. I felt as though Black Lives Matter and the Women's March should have been addressed in the body of the text and not just in photographs. I also wish that there was a discussion on post-feminism. I don't agree that we live in a post-feminist world, but some people do. Finally, I anticipate that students who read this book will appreciate the inclusion of videos and graphs.
With that said, I hope that these will be updated. Videos reflect popular culture, which changes with the time. And, the graphs will lose their relevance with each passing year. This book is exceptionally clear. I particularly appreciate the use of bold for key phrases, the definitions in the first unit, and the inclusion of videos and graphs.
I found the book to be internally consistent, but also to effectively present points in different contexts. This was evident in the book's discussion of intersectionality and feminism. I really appreciated how the text was divided. This book could easily be assigned as sub-sections, units or in its entirety. It seemed odd to me to have the history unit at the end of the book. To me, it would have made more sense to discuss history in the second or third unit in the book.
I wish that the table of contents had page numbers. But, overall, I thought that the book was easy to navigate and read. I wasn't reading with eagle-eye editing in mind, but the chapters appear to be grammatically correct. I appreciated the discussion about intersectionality, but if I'm teaching about race as a social construct or Black Lives Matter, I would assign another resource. I teach a class entitled Sexuality and Social Media. I would recommend this book -- or sections of this book -- for an Introduction to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies class or for other classes that incorporate WGSS concepts and theories into their curricula.
I know that students appreciate online resources and how that makes materials more accessible to a larger number of students. I will be assigning portions of this book next semester and letting other instructors in the WGSS program know about it. The text is brief. It is pages, covering the following topics: 1. Critical Introduction to the Field 2.
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