Gender Studies News Updates and new classes for Spring '12

News update

Students in Sexuality, Society and Culture create sex positive public service announcements! To view their awesome work:

       Gender and Sexuality Studies is offering two new special topics courses this spring!


  GNDR 248 Dreams, Desire and Madness in Literature and Film with Professor Egan and Professor Stoddard  (this course is dual listed with Film Studies and English)


Literary representations of the alienated mind interrogate the relationship between social definitions of normality and seeing otherwise, whether that is manifested as vision, rebellion, disease, or fantasy. Seeing otherwise is often thought of as symptom (e.g., mental illness), but it can also be symptomatic—a reaction to a cultural condition that is repressive, oppressive or quite literally maddening.  To deal with the unsustainable societal demands we often repress our desires, but this does not make them disappear—instead they make themselves felt through expressions of the unconscious in our dreams, fantasies, slips of the tongue and somatic symptoms. Art and artistic expression have often represented or explored such mechanisms. Literature and film can enact the operations Freud found in the dream: condensation, displacement, and wish fulfillment in order to highlight the demands of society and seeing otherwise. In addition, when societies suppress the expression of sexualities and desires, literature and film often portrays the encoded and diseased ways that repressed desires express themselves through madness and hysteria.  In this course we will explore these psychodynamics in 19th and 20th-century writing. Students will also connect the personal (experience, dreams and affect) to better understand the materials we are reading and watching over the course of the semester.

 GNDR 348 Autoethnography and the Body with Assistant Professor Evette Hornsby Minor (this course is dual listed with Performance and Communication Arts)Description:In this course students will read and engage in autoethnographic methods and performance to examine how our identities are situated in the complex mesh of socio-historical context. 


  • GSS minor, Jonathan Stoprya, wrote Virginity: A Meta-Literature Review, 1970-2010” for his McNair Fellowship with Professor Egan over the summer. This sixty-three page project maps the literature on virginity from public health, psychology and sociology and illustrates the dearth of information on queer youth.  A key finding of this paper was that the construction of sex within the literature speaks to the heteronormative bias in much of research on the topic. Stoprya points toward the need for a different definition of sex and the need for gay, lesbian and bisexual viewpoints and experiences. He plans to conduct this research during his junior and senior year.