PubPol 225S : Women in the Public Sphere: History, Theory and Practice

Readers requirements: an interest in women’s issues, feminism, women in the workplace; journalism experience would be particularly useful, but not required.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Rachel Seidman

Why and how women who seek to practice leadership in public life operate within broad historical and theoretical contexts. Examine how American women have exercised leadership for social change over the last two centuries. Analyze current debates about gender and leadership in academic literature and the popular press, and discuss the opportunities and challenges facing women today. Explore the relationship between theory and practice by applying theory to current-day issues. This course serves as the preferred gateway course for The Moxie Project: Women and Leadership for Social Change (DukeEngage – 8 weeks in NYC working with a local or national organization serving women and girls).

Student Writing Assignment

What are students writing? Op-Ed.
For whom? For interested readers of newspapers–a general audience.
Where would such writing typically be found? An Op-Ed page of a newspaper.
Why would someone usually read it? For policy implications, or for deeper understanding of women in society.

See examples of bios of possible readers for this course


Student – Reader Interactions


  • draft due Oct 26 (to instructor and readers)
    • meeting to discuss 1st draft by Oct 30, if possible (focus on content, ideas)
  • 2nd draft due to readers by Nov 4
    • feedback on 2nd draft (in-person or written feedback) by Nov 7 (focus on prose: genre, audience, organization, etc)
  • final version due to instructor and reader: extended to Nov 9 for Reader Project participants

Link to full Syllabus:

Public Policy 225S Syllabus 2015

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More