Syllabus for the Course: Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies

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Syllabus for the Course: Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies

LGBT 2000/ WMST 2030

Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies

HUMN 1B80, T/TH 12:30-1:45

Instructor Jill Williams Fall 2000

Ketchum 35 303-735-5085

Office Hours: Thursdays 2:00 – 3:00 or by appointment 5-5085


Course Description:
This interdisciplinary course offers an introduction to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies. It traces the emergence of LGBT Studies as an academic field and considers its development, data, models, methodologies, and histories. The course is broken up into five sections, each of which deals with a particular aspect of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (or queer) studies. The first section is a short introduction designed to help “set the stage” for the class. Since this class takes a decidedly feminist and social construction approach to studying LGBT issues, these approaches will be discussed in section one. In section two we examine the history of LGBT Studies and consider questions of curricular development. Next, we trace the conceptual distinctions that have been drawn between the categories “sex,” “gender,” and “sexuality.” In this section we examine how these categories operate in other cultures as well as our own. The fourth part of the course examines the history of sexuality and science; it considers the impact of Michel Foucault’s writings on the development of queer theory and queer identities. In this section we also look at the articulation of LGBT identities and analyze the uses and limitations of “coming out” and “the closet” as metaphors for queer existence. The final part of the course examines contemporary issues facing queer communities such as legal rights and media representation.
Course Requirements:
Attendance and Participation (20%). Attendance at all class periods is required and will be noted. Participation will be measured by the completion of in-class activities and short homework assignments. Absences and in-class activities cannot be made up for credit. Late homework assignments will not be accepted for credit.
Commentaries (20%). Each student will write four one-page commentaries (typed and double-spaced) through the course of the semester. Due dates for these commentaries can be found on the reading list. Late commentaries will be penalized.
Midterm (20%) Take-home essay exam. Late exams will not be accepted.

Research Portfolio (20%) This assignment will require that you familiarize yourself with LGBT-related resources available in Norlin Library. You will choose a topic, create an annotated bibliography of resources on the topic, gather 5 documents from the bibliography and summarize these documents. A more detailed description will be provided in class. Late portfolios will be penalized.
Final Exam (20%) Your final exam will be on Saturday, December 15th in HUMN 1B80 at 7:30 – 10:00 am. Please bring a blue book to the final. Please check your schedule - if you have three or more finals scheduled for this day you must make arrangements prior to Oct. 8th to change the date of your final.
Disabilities Statement:
If you have specific physical, psychiatric or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please inform me during the first two weeks of the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. You will need to provide documentation from the Disability Services Office in Willard 322 (303-492-8671).
Required Materials:
Martin Duberman, ed., A Queer World: The Center For Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (NY: New York University Press, 1997). Available at Word is Out Bookstore, 1731 15th St., Boulder (303-449-1415). One copy of this book is on reserve at Norlin and available for 2-hour checkout.
All other readings are available at the Reserve Desk on the first floor of Norlin Library.
Course Reading Schedule
Prepare readings prior to class and be prepared to discuss readings in class. I suggest you take notes on each reading and bring both the reading and your notes to class. The following schedule is subject to change at my discretion.

Part One: Introduction - Why and how we study LGBT issues

August 28th : Presentation of syllabus and gathering of student information.

August 30th:

Optional - LGBT Fall 2001 Welcome Luncheon 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Koenig Alumni Center (corner of Broadway and University).

Due to this luncheon, class will start at 1:00 on this day only.
September 4:

Video: Frontline – The Assault on Gay America

September 6:

Sandra Harding, “Subjectivity, Experience, and Knowledge: An Epistemology from/for

Rainbow Coalition Politics” from Who Can Speak?, 120-136 (handed out in class).

Part Two: The History of Lesbian and Gay Studies

September 11:

Cheryl Clarke et al., “Twenty-five Years after Stonewall,” Queer World, 262-279.

Film: “Before Stonewall”

September 13:

*John D’Emilio, “Remaking the University,” from Making Trouble 117-127, 155-175.

September 18:

Martin Duberman, “Teaching our History,” The Advocate (Oct. 14, 1997) 99-100.

Erik Meers, “Gay to a Degree,” The Advocate (Sept. 30, 1997) 39-41.

Jill Dolan, “Out on Campus,” Academe (Sept. – Oct. 1998) 40-45.

Robert J. Corber, “Scholarship and Sexuality” Academe (Sept. – Oct. 1998) 46-49.

(all handed out in class)

Film: “Out of the Past”

September 20:

Janice Irvine, “One Generation Post-Stonewall: Political Contests over Lesbian and Gay School Reform,” Queer World, 572-588.
September 25:

First Commentary Due

Film: “It’s Elementary”

Part Three: Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

September 27:

*Judith Shapiro, “Transsexualism: Reflections on the Persistence of Gender and the Mutability of Sex,” in Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity, 248-279
October 2:

Gilbert Herdt, “Third Sexes, Third Genders,” Queer World, 100-107.

Additional reading TBA
October 4: Fall Break – No Class – No Readings
October 9:

Will Roscoe, “Gender Diversity in Native North America,” Queer World, 65-81.

October 11:

Serena Nanda, “The Hijaras of India,” Queer World, 82-86.

*Arvind Kumar, “Hijras: Fighting Gender Dichotomies,” in A Lotus of Another Color, 85-91.

October 16:

*Glen Elder, “Of Moffies, Kaffirs and Perverts: Male Homosexuality and the Discourse

of Moral Order in the Apartheid State,” in Mapping Desire, 56-65.

Second Commentary Due

October 18:

*Anne Fausto Sterling, “The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female are Not Enough,”

The Sciences, May/Apr 1993, 20-25.

Nan Alamilla Boyd, “Bodies in Motion: Lesbian and Transsexual Histories,”

Queer World, 134-152.

Midterm Handed Out

Part Four: Sexology, Queer Theory, and LGBT Identity

October 23:

Jonathan Ned Katz, “’Homosexual’ and ‘Heterosexual,’” Queer World, 177-180.

Midterm Due

October 25:

*Siobhan Somerville, “Scientific Racism and the Invention of the Homosexual Body,” in

Queer Studies, 241-261.
October 30:

*Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents, (pages TBA).

November 1:

*Jennifer Terry, “Lesbians Under the Medical Gaze: Scientists’ Search for Remarkable

Differences,” Journal of Sex Research 27:3:317-339.

*George W. Henry, “Homosexual Cases,” in Sex Variants(1948), 730-748, 776-787.

November 6:

*Michel Foucault, “The Repressive Hypothesis,” The History of Sexuality: Volume

One: An Introduction, 15-49.
November 8:

*Paula C. Rust, “Sexual Identity and Bisexual Identities: The Struggle for Self

Description in a Changing Sexual Landscape,” in Queer Studies, 65-86.
November 13:

Shane Phelan, “(Be)Coming Out: Lesbian Identity and Politics,” Signs,18:4:765-790.

Third Commentary Due

Part Four: Contemporary Issues

Reading schedule TBA based on guest speaker availability and class selection of contemporary issues.
Research Portfolio
This assignment is intended to help you familiarize yourself with LGBT-related resources available in Norlin Library as well as to encourage you to further study a LGBT-related topic of your choice.
I must approve your topic in order for you to receive full credit for the portfolio. Please email or turn in a written description (no more than one paragraph is necessary) of your topic by Thursday, November 29th.
Gather and provide photocopies of:

  1. One historical document from the lesbian and gay periodicals collection on microfilm in the Media Library in Norlin

  2. One document from a popular contemporary LGBT source (for example, lesbian and gay magazines, newspapers, or newsletters such as Out Front, Circles, Girlfriends, Out Magazine, or The Advocate)

  3. One document from an academic LGBT source (for example, one of the many journals devoted to gay and lesbian studies in Norlin Library such as The Journal of Homosexuality, The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, The Journal of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identity, or The Journal of the History of Sexuality)


  1. One document from a “mainstream” (non-gay) newspaper, journal, or magazine

  2. One document from another source. For instance, you might cite discussions on the internet; “alternative” publications such as fan magazines (‘zines); a video, etc.


  1. An annotated bibliography of the above sources plus at least three books related to the topic. This may include edited books that have only one chapter or article related to your topic. Annotated bibliographies include the full citation and a short description (2-5 sentences) of the content. Please note in the case of your book, this does not require you to read the whole book, you should be able to get enough information about the book by browsing it, reading its introduction or finding a review of it at or other on-line bookstores.

  2. A three to five page essay describing the topic and the information found. Be sure to discuss why your topic is pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies. This essay should draw from (and appropriately cite) your source material. You may do this by choosing to give an overview of the topic and its relation to your source material, OR by synthesizing the information in your source material, OR by focusing on the main questions about the issue raised in your source material.

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