Intro to Gender, Race, and Sexuality
This course introduces students to the foundational methods and theories of women's and gender studies through a focus on cultural analysis. Students will discuss the relationship between identities including gender, race, sexuality, national origin, class status, and disability as lived experiences. Additionally, students will analyze documentary and narrative film, first person essays, poetry, short stories, and manifestos for what they express about these identities. In connecting artistic expression to the theoretical frames of women's and gender studies, this course aims to help students to contextualize their own lived experiences of race, gender, and sexuality. Thus this course encourages students to make connections between course material and their own lives.
This completely online course has three components: online forum participation, an essay, and a presentation. This essay assignment asks students to chose a piece of popular media (i.e. a summer blockbuster) and analyze its messages concerning gender, race, and sexuality using course material. Students are encouraged to connect course material to their own experiences and the media around them. For their presentations, students select a cutting edge topic in the field of women's and gender studies and are responsible for presenting it to their peers. This assignment requires students to synthesize academic and creative theoretical work and find a manner with which to convey it. While the paper assignment is more formal, presentations in all forms are welcome.
This course builds student skills in writing and analysis while introducing them to the tools and topics of women's and gender studies, which are applicable in a broad range of fields including the sciences. Additionally, course material supports students in understanding the formation of their own subject positions and the systems of power that surround them.
Course instructor, Sarah Orsak, focuses her research on the relations between poetry, performance, and racialized, queer, and disabled experiences of the body. She brings to this course an ongoing interest in popular culture and subcultural artistic expression as related to lived experiences of gender, sexuality, and race.
Intro to Gender, Race, and Sexuality fulfills the 21st century challenges core curriculum requirement.