Perspectives on Sexual and Gender Diversity

Gender Freedom
Core Course
Course Description

Satisfies Humanities General Education Requirement

What is gender and how do we define its boundaries?  How are “male” and “female” bodies and identities produced by culture?  How do societies and cultures that recognize a “third gender” or nonbinary gender challenge dominant ideas about the relations between sex, gender, and sexuality?  What does gender freedom look like?  These are a few of the questions we will explore in this cross-cultural course on gender and sexual diversity.   Investigating the roles of race/ethnicity, class, region, religion, and sexuality in modern constructions of sexed bodies, we will study the diverse lives of gender nonconforming, gender nonbinary, and LGBTQ+ people including how they have been represented—and how they have represented themselves—in literature and film.  Throughout the course, we will pay particular attention to those systems of gender-based oppression that suppress multiple gender identities and expressions.  Readings and other course materials are interdisciplinary, including anthropological and historical perspectives, gender theory, literary texts, and documentary films.