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.
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
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