Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Matthew Kopas
SOC 287
Seattle Campus

Introduction of the Sociology of Sexuality

Investigates sexuality on the basis of social construction of norms and values, within the context of gender, race, class, and sub-cultures and in the social control of sexuality and why it is so highly regulated. Looks for social rather than biological or personal explanations for why human sexuality is conceptualized or practiced in a certain way.

Class description

This course explores the social and cultural aspects of sexuality, a topic sometimes thought to be intensely personal and private. As an alternative to the biological, medical, and psychological stories that commonly circulate in popular culture, we will take a social constructionist approach in order to examine how our understandings of sexuality are shaped by our societies and cultures, and how sexuality shapes those structures in turn. We will ask questions like: What does it mean to study sexuality "scientifically?" How does the law regulate sexuality? What does it mean to have a sexual orientation or gender identity?

Student learning goals

Link sociological thinking on sexuality to your own experiences and lives, as demonstrated by in-class writing and reading response posts

Discuss texts with an independent intellectual and ethical disposition, as demonstrated by reading response posts

Analyze your own and others' assumptions and evaluate the relevance of contexts when presenting a position, as demonstrated by comments on classmates' reading responses

Communicate, organize, and synthesize information from a variety of sources to achieve a specific purpose, as demonstrated by completion of the midterm exam and final project

General method of instruction

Lecture/discussion

Recommended preparation

There are no formal prerequisites for this course. However, this course is writing-intensive. Since each of us could always be a better writer, I encourage you to make use of the resources available to you on campus: http://www.washington.edu/uaa/advising/help/writecen.php

Additionally, this course involves explicit discussion of topics which are ubiquitous features of our society but which can create discomfort for some when spoken about directly. These include sexism, sexuality, and racism, to name a few. I encourage you to come to my office hours or email me if you have concerns or apprehensions about any course material. We will also draft up discussion ground rules on the first day of class in order to create as open a space as possible for these sometimes difficult conversations.

Class assignments and grading


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 Matthew Kopas
Date: 04/08/2013