missing variable in intro courses

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Mon Aug 14 15:12:53 UTC 2000

> At 9:24 AM -0400 8/14/00, Your Name wrote:
> >Thanks, Lynne, for your thoughtful response. Your course sounds (?) really
> >interesting.
> >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
> 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.
> larry

My courses have never been 'language and gender' courses (I've never been at
a univ that could afford that in a curriculum).  I was referring to courses
in which I had a week or so on gender issues.  At Wits, this course was for
Speech and Hearing majors, and if there was one guy, then that was a big
deal.  (Want to go where the girls are?  Become a speech and hearing major.)
The Baylor course was a mix of Linguistics students and Education students,
and women linguistics students outnumbered male ones by about 4-to-1 (and the
Education proportion is even more lopsided).  I've taught several all-female
linguistics classes that have nothing to do with gender (including syntax
courses).  My most evenly proportioned male/female course was here last year,
in the English Language Studies major.


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