missing variable in intro courses

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Aug 14 03:01:42 UTC 2000

At 9:24 AM -0400 8/14/00, Your Name wrote:
>Thanks, Lynne, for your thoughtful response. Your course sounds (?) really
>I wonder why more men don't sign up. What's wrong with them?
>Joe Pickett

I don't know about Lynne's experience, but I've had similar ones.   I
once offered a course at Wisconsin called "Women and Language" (this
was back in the 70's, when that was the standard term for this area
of research) and ended up with 15 or so female students and no male
ones (beyond the first day, at which a couple of male students showed
up).  The next time I taught a similar course it was here at Yale,
but as a residential college seminar, which permits the instructor to
select applicants and therefore enabled me to make sure I had a mixed
clientele.  I have taught a regular linguistics curriculum course
twice in the last 6 years, now under the title "Language, Sex &
Gender". The first time my success in achieving a mixed group was as
non-existent as it had been in Wisconsin; I ended up with 18 women
and no men.   (Again, two or three men showed up during "shopping
period" but didn't return.) When I offered the course last spring,
three male students stuck it out to the end along with 14 female
students, and I think it made for somewhat livelier   discussions.
I'm not sure how to diagnose the problem, but for whatever reason
"gender" in a course title may frighten off some of the male
students, and then there's the critical mass problem, although Lynne
evidently manages to hold on to the solo male student who doesn't
mind being in that situation.


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