home


"La Tierra Santa"
by Cecilia Concepcion Alvarez
Women and the Law







WS 370: Women and the Law

The purpose of this course is to gain a better understanding of the legal system and its impact on the lives of women individually and collectively.

Topics include: equal protection, education, employment, family law, criminal law, reproductive freedom and violence against women.



The Course | Course Schedule | Newsgroup


Prof. Patricia Huckle, PhD
Department of Women's Studies
Office: AH 3168
Hours: by appointment
phone: 594-1561
email: huckle@mail.sdsu.edu



Important Quotations:

"I think the Constitution is one of the great documents in the world. How has it survived two hundred years? Because it's not what it was. We ought to look at the Constitution through its metamorphosis - from a document that denied the personhood of black people and denied the political reality of women, to a document that has, in part through war and struggle, come to encompass them and others."
--------------Eleanor Holmes Norton, p 147 in I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America, B. Lanker. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, NY, 1989.

RESOLVED, that the women in this country ought to be enlightened in regard to the laws under which they live, that they may no longer publish their degradation by declaring themselves satisfied with their present position, nor their ignorance, by asserting that they have all the rights they want.
--------------Declaration of Sentiments and Resolution, Seneca Falls Convention, 1848.


The Course:

The purpose of this course is to gain a better understanding of the legal system and its impact on the lives of women individually and collectively. Topics include: equal protection, education, employment, family law, criminal law, reproductive freedom and violence against women.

Students should be able to:

  • Understand basic legal vocabulary and the operation of the judicial system

  • Trace the evolution of the legal rights of women in the United States

  • Think and write critically about historical and contemporary legal issues which affect women's lives

  • Comprehend the connections among law, public policy and social action

Required Text: Women's Rights in the USA: Policy Debates and Gender
Roles, Dorothy McBride Stetson, 2d edition, Garland Publishing, Inc. 1997

Recommended: The Rights of Women, 3d edition, Susan D. Ross et al, Southern Illinois University Press, 1993.

Course Requirements: (Each will be explained further in class)

Examinations (60% of grade). There will be two, based on text readings, lectures, films and guest speakers. Each will include multiple choice, definitions and essay questions. No make up exams permitted without consultation.

Participation in class (5%). You are expected to come to class prepared to discuss issues raised in the readings. This section of your grade will consist of my overall assessment of your level of preparation and contributions to discussion.

Oral Report on Supreme Court case. (10%) A two-page summary of a Supreme Court case, presented orally in class according to the schedule.

Research on a contemporary legal issue. (25%) You are required to develop a 3-5 page paper on an issue currently being debated. You are required to use at least 3 Internet sites, and one reference from supplementary readings in the text.

No late papers will be accepted without prior discussion with me. In any case, all materials for the course must be completed no later than noon on June 18.


Course Schedule
WS 370, Summer 1999

Note: Not all cases in each chapter will be discussed. You are responsible for cases listed in the syllabus, and others identified in class.

Tues., June 1: Introduction to the course. Discussion of the legal system and vocabulary, film on the Supreme Court.

Wed., June 2: Historical context. Read Chapter 1.
Cases: Bradwell v Illinois, Minor v Happersett., Muller v Oregon and Goesart v Cleary. Film: One Woman, One Vote.

Thurs., June 3: Constitutional Rights since 1971. Read Ch. 2. Cases:
Reed v Reed, Michael M. v Sonoma, Rostker v Goldberg, Frontiero v Richardson, Craig v Boren,

Friday. June 4: Political Resources. Read: Chapter 3

Monday, June 7: Review and Exam

Tues. June 8: The Womb Factor. Read Chapter 4. Cases: Roe v Wade, Planned Parenthood v Casey

Wed. June 9: Education and Title IX. Read Chapter 5 Case: U.S. v Virginia, Gebser v Lago

Thurs. June 10: Work and Pay. Read Ch 7. Cases: Dothard v Rawlinson, LA v Manhart, Griggs v Duke Power

Fri., June 11: Employment issues continued. Sexual harassment. Cases: Meritor Savings v Vinson, Harris v Forklift, Burlington Industris v Ellerth, Faragher v City of Boca Raton, Oncale v Sundowner Offshoreay

Mon., June 14: Review and Exam #2 on Ch 4, 5, 7

Tues., June 15: Family Law. Read: Chapter 6 and chapter 10. Discuss:
Divorce and Child Custody, and Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 and the "feminization of poverty.

Wed. June 16: Work and Family. Read Chapter 8

Thurs, June 17: Sexuality. Read Chapter 9

Fri. June 18: Final papers are due no later than noon.



WS 370 Newsgroup

The WS370 Newsgroup is a forum where you can discuss topics related to Women and the Law.

Instructions for Subscribing to the Newsgroup

Now, after familiarizing yourself with the steps found on the Instructions Page above, click here:WS 370 Newsgroup





Return Home