GGS 109 Intro to Sexuality Studies

What is sexuality? How is sex related to gender? Are sexuality and gender `natural? expressions or ones created by culture? This class will explore these questions and more. While we tend to think of men/women and homosexuality/heterosexuality as opposites, the reality is far more nuanced: a spectrum of genders and sexualities, rather than two opposing poles, which reflects a variety of cultural and historically specific meanings. This course will introduce students to a survey of those meanings (and the labels we attach to them), and to the social, cultural, religious, and legal practices that affect how they are created, understood, and policed. Beginning with the historical emergence of sexuality, we will examine the creation of the hetero/homo binary and the associated hierarchization based on sexual identity that results from the creation of these categories. We will examine the history and practices of the gay and lesbian liberation movements, the push for equality, and the impact of the AIDS crisis. Finally, students will apply the vocabulary and critical skills they have learned to an analysis of the expressions of sexuality in popular culture including literature, music, television and film.