Communication and Culture | Gender and Communication
C450 | 14276 | Pezzullo, P.

TR, 1:00 PM-2:15 PM, 800 E. 3rd St. – room 203

Carries College Intensive Writing Credit

Instructor: Phaedra Pezzullo
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 231
Phone: 855-2106
Instructor’s Website:

There are no simple answers about sex, gender, and sexuality today.
But, the questions remain as serious as ever before.  If your child
is born intersex (with both male and female sex organs), will you
operate immediately or not?  Why do assumptions about gender
continue to shape perceptions about what you should—or should not—do
for pleasure or for a living?  How does sex pervade popular culture
perhaps more than ever before in history and, yet, still struggle
with basic rights about sexuality, including a lack of sex
education, safe contraceptives, and the right for all to marriage?
This course is designed with the belief that anything that ever has
or ever will change our cultural perceptions about sex, gender, and
sexuality is grounded in communication.  Whether is it the way
we “send signals” from what we wear or debate the merits of the “War
on Terror,” communication is vital.  In fact, without it, we would
not even have words such as “sex,” “gender,” and “sexuality.”

To ground our discussions in these times, we will focus on two main
arenas of public culture where communication practices of and about
sex, gender, and sexuality are negotiated: popular media and
policy.  First, we will explore the ways popular media portrays
everyday people and celebrities to come to terms with the way our
culture disciplines and punishes those of us who do not easily fit
into neat categories.  Second, we will focus on U.S. President
George W. Bush’s national and global policy decisions that impact
the lives of people every day.  Finally, we will focus on emergent
tactics of resistance used in the media and to change policy.
Informed by a rhetorical perspective, this class will require you to
develop your own voice in relation to these media discourses and
policy decisions by honing your written and oral argument skills.

Required texts likely will be:

• John M. Sloop (2004) Disciplining Gender: Rhetorics of Sex
Identity in Contemporary U.S. Culture
• Laura Flanders, Editor (2004) The W Effect: Bush’s War on Women
• E-Reserves

As an Intensive Writing Course, course assignments include:

15% Engaged, informed, and thoughtful participation
(5% attendance; 5% reading responses; 5% oral participation in class)

15% Critical Media Paper (5 pages + works cited) on the rhetorical
construction of sex, sexuality, and/or gender in a specific media

15% Group Presentation on a policy debate impacting sex, sexuality,
and/or gender

25% Critical Policy Paper (5 pages + works cited) on the rhetorical
constructions of a specific policy about sex, gender, and/or
sexuality domestically or globally

30% Final Critical Paper (10 pages + works cited) a revision and
extension of one of the previous papers