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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kathleen Noble
WOMEN 417
Seattle Campus

The Politics of Talent Development

Investigation of the psychological, cultural, socioeconomic, and political factors that enhance or inhibit the development of exceptional ability, focusing principally, but not exclusively, on women and girls. Pays special attention to issues of race, class, gender, geography, and an individual' s orientation to the mainstream of her culture.

Class description

Society looks to exceptional individuals to lead its institutions, to transform aesthetic expression, to solve significant problems, and to produce ideas that change profoundly our conceptual, material, and spiritual lives. Until recently, the study of talent development was restricted to the lives of eminent men. As women’s access to and participation in the public sphere has increased, so has our understanding of the complex dynamics that determine whether a person’s abilities will be recognized, developed, expressed, and rewarded in any given culture.

This inquiry-based course will explore the psychological, socioeconomic, cultural, and political factors that enhance or inhibit the recognition, cultivation, and expression of ability. Special attention will be paid to issues of race, class, gender, and individuals’ orientation to the mainstream of their culture.

Student learning goals

1. To appreciate the psychological, cultural, and political aspects of talent identification, development, and expression.

2. To increase your ability to think, write, and converse about these ideas.

3. To better understand your own background, dreams, and aspirations and how they influence the development and expression of your talents and abilities.

General method of instruction

Lecture, seminar, discussion.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Required Texts: 1. Remarkable Women: Perspectives in Female Talent Development. Karen Arnold, Kathleen Noble, & Rena Subotnik (Eds.). NJ: Hampton Press, 1996. 2. Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams. Alfred Lubrano. NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004. 3. The Black-White Test Score Gap. Christopher Jencks & Meredith Phillips (Eds.). Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1998.

Films (In class): •Barak Obama: Speech on Race in America •The Hobart Shakespeareans •Good Will Hunting •Real Women Have Curves •Girl Wrestler •People Like Us: Social Class in America •Freedom Writers •Neuroplasticity and the Brain

Grading is based on daily written assignments and final essay.

The following data will contribute equally to your final grade.

1. Study Questions: Written responses to questions drawn from the texts will help you to read carefully and critically. 1 page for each assigned chapter, due each class. Hard-copies only (do not email). Must be typed, 12 point font, double spaced. No late or handwritten papers accepted.

2. Final Essay: Using the model of talent development presented in class as a guide, reflect on the development of your own talents and abilities and your future plans. What texts have resonance in your own life? How might your personal experiences augment the model and further elucidate the process – and politics - of talent development? How might you use what you’ve learned in class in your current and future work? 5 pages, typed, double-spaced, 12 point font. Due last day of class. No late papers accepted.

3. Participation: Using the study questions as a guide, your reading should prepare you to participate in a stimulating, productive exchange of ideas. Please come to class prepared to discuss specific questions, problems, and/or ideas that were raised by the readings, and to listen actively and respectfully to other students


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Kathleen Noble
Date: 06/26/2009