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Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology

CRM 550, SOCL 550 & WMST592:


Dr P. S. Leighton

Winter 2001, Th 7:00 – 9:40, 415 PH

This is an archived version of the Domestic Violence class - An updated and expanded version is available

For additional resources, please see for information on Domestic Violence, Rape and men's groups Working to end violence against women

Office: 712 Pray Harrold, x 0012 Hours: Tues 3:00 – 4:00, Th 6:00 – 7:00 & by appointment. Please feel free to approach me & ask a question when I am in the Mudd House coffee shop, or drop me an e-mail


This class is an in-depth study of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. It recognizes that a disproportionate number of the victims are women, but that a strict feminist analysis needs to be modified to recognize abuse in same sex relationships and a growing literature on female offenders. A single semester devoted to this topic cannot be ‘comprehensive’ because the amount and forms of abuse are myriad. The goal is to (1) provide an overview into many facets of the problem, theories, and appropriate responses; (2) take an in depth look at the perpetrators; and (3) examine some of the larger cultural contexts within which the varieties of abuse occur.

Students have a wide range of academic and personal motivations for enrolling in this class, so it is designed to give flexibility in pursuing individual topics. The required readings are meant to create some foundation of common knowledge and the regular papers are to help ensure that discussions maximize the limited time available to study the topic. Seminar participants are encouraged to share their experiences and additional knowledge. Everyone has a role as co-teacher and it is expected that much of the learning will be from your peers.


Laura O’Toole and Jessica Schiffman (eds). Gender Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. New York University Press 1997. 0-8147-8041-5.

Diana Scully. Understanding Sexual Violence: A Study of Convicted Rapists. Routledge, Chapman & Hall 1990. 0-04-445846-0.

Healey, Smith & Sullivan. "Batterer Intervention: Program Approaches and Criminal Justice Strategies" National Institute of Justice

Barrie Levy (ed). Dating Violence. Seattle: Seal Press 1998. 1-508005-001-8.

Additional required readings will be from the Internet. Even though you do not have to buy them, they are still required.


45% Attendance & Participation (including weekly papers and internet based papers)

35% for a 15 page term paper on the topic of your choice using research from an interview, the internet and one paper source not mentioned on this syllabus. (These requirements are the minimum ones, so you are free to integrate information from class reading, library research and the internet as well.)

20% final paper of 5-7 pages based on ‘Violence in the Garden’ by Polly Peachum

Regular weekly papers should be 1 –2 typewritten pages that contains two or three of the quotes from the reading you found most provocative along with several sentences of commentary about why that quote that interested you. The narrative with the quote can also include any questions you had as you were reading. The idea of this paper is to ensure students have done the reading and some level of reflection on it as preparation for class. Thus, it is important to have them ready at the start of class and turn them in ON TIME. I will not accept papers as email attachments; if you cannot be present, please put them into my mailbox or FAX them to the department (487-7010). As the quality of this seminar rests on participation and everyone is expected to be a co-teacher, attendance is crucial. In addition, the syllabus mentions short papers based on internet sites or searches. These are in addition to, not instead of, the papers based on the reading.

The term paper is a research paper based on a topic you want to know more about. The research for this paper will come from an interview, published sources (journals and books) and the internet. Interviews can be over the phone or in person. Please write down a list of questions in advance and be prepared. Do not ask questions that could be easily answered by reading the organization’s pamphlet. The paper should list the people you talked to, their title, the organization they are affiliated with, and their contact information. (Interviewing victims is also acceptable & I realize there may be confidentiality issues.) For those students who work in the area of domestic violence, please do not interview co-workers or people you routinely talk to anyway. If you are feeling cynical or frustrated about all the violence, then use the paper to examine interventions and solutions.

In the body of the paper, cite the interview as the person’s last name and the year (Leighton 2000), then in the reference section include full information: Leighton, Paul. 2000. Personal communication, 15 August.

More information on citing internet sources and avoiding plagiarism is from the link on the opening page of

The final paper is based on a reading from the internet and is by a woman writing to defend her position as a full-time contractual slave and sexual submissive.

Education involves not just getting a degree but a search for truth, which requires honesty and personal integrity. Thus, students at all times will behave in accordance with EMU’s policy on Academic Integrity forbidding such activities as plagiarism, fraud, cheating and knowingly assisting another student who is engaged in one of these acts. Penalties can affect both your grade in this class and your continued presence at the university. More information on citing internet sources and avoiding plagiarism is from the link on the opening page of


Circumstances sometimes require flexibility and students are responsible for any departures that are announced in class.

Internet assignments are part of the required reading unless otherwise noted.

Internet assignments listed here are for quick reference only. The complete and ‘official’ versions of the assignment, with working links and additional recommended resources, can be found through - look for the EMU info section.

Jan 11 Introduction and Greeting.

Jan 18 O’Toole & Schiffman: Part I, Introduction to sections 1 & 2 (including opening poems); ch 6 Scheffield; ch 11 Donat & D’emelio; ch 24 Jaffee, et al; ch 32 Kurz.

Levy: Part I, two stories

Internet exercise on global issues

Jan 25 O’Toole & Schiffman: ch 2 Kaufman; ch 5 Messerchmidt; ch 13 Pelka; ch 20 Whittaker

Internet exercise about men’s groups that are working against battering, rape and men’s violence against women

Feb 1 O’Toole & Schiffman: Part II, Introduction to Section 2; ch 12 Adise; Scully, ch 1 – 2; Levy, from Part III read Gallers & Lawrence

Internet exploration about the topic for your term paper.

Feb 8 Scully, ch 3-5

Internet exercise about date rape drugs

Feb 15 Scully, ch 6 - 7 & Afterword

Levy, Part II: Greene & Chadwick

Internet exercise how to help a rape victim

Feb 22 O’Toole & Schiffman: Part II, Introduction to Section 3.

Levy: Part I, two stories; Part II, Gamache + Graham & Rawlings

NIJ: ch 1 & 2

Internet reading about the laws in Michigan

Internet exercise about he next topic that should be added to the stopviolence website

March 1 O’Toole & Schiffman: ch 17 Dobash; ch 18 hooks; ch 19 Renzeti

NIJ: ch 3

Internet reading on Why Some Battered Women Sometimes Stay + the "Guide to Domestic Violence and Risk Assessment"

Spring Break March 5-9

March 15 NIJ: ch 4 – 5;

Levy, Part II: Sugerman & Hotaling; White

Internet reading about Safety Plan

Internet exercise on batterer intervention programs

March 22 O’Toole & Schiffman: ch 9 Gutek & Koss; ch 10 Quina.

Internet reading on sexual harassment

Internet exercise on sexual harassment

Take EMU’s online sexual harassment training and include the ‘certificate’ stating that

March 29 O’Toole & Schiffman: 29 Segal; ch 33 Brod; ch 28 Mackinnon

Due: regular paper

Internet exercise on pornography, prostitution & sex work


April 12 O’Toole & Schiffman:ch 30 Miedzian

Levy, Part III: three chapters, your choice

Internet reading from the US Dept of Justice, Violence Against Women Office

Internet exercise to fulfill ideas for adding to the stopviolence website.

April 19 final paper due

When writer Rebecca Walker was browsing the Internet’s discussion group, she was impressed by the writing of Polly Peachum and asked her for a chapter to be included in Walker’s book To Be Real: Telling the Truth & Changing the Face of Feminism. Peachum’s chapter was on the pleasure of being sexually submissive in a contractually subordinate relationship that only her Master can end, and it was deleted from the book when Walker (who liked the chapter) bowed to pressure from her editors. The writing, however, is available on the Internet and will be the basis for the final paper, whose general goal is to reflect on whether and in what ways such writings can inform the study of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

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