Instructor: Ray Sin Teaching Assistant: Jessi Holzman Office: 4126C BSB Office: 4061 BSB Email: [email protected] edu Email: [email protected] edu Office Hours: Mon 1pm-2pm Office Hours: Tues 2pm-3pm This syllabus outlines the content of this course and my expectations of you for the semester. This is a very important course resource, so please read through it carefully. COURSE DESCRIPTION “Sexuality is something that society produces in complex ways.
It is a result of diverse social practices that give meaning to social activities, of struggles between those who have the power to define and regulate, and those who resist. Sexuality is not given, it is a product of negotiation, struggle and human agency. ” —Jeffrey Weeks (1986: 25) Sex is everywhere. We see sexuality present in advertising, political rhetoric, legislation, advice columns, television shows, music, movies and all other aspects of everyday life. How do we study sexuality then?
Sexuality is a phenomenon that goes beyond its common perception as something solely biological or a jumping off point for marketing. In short, I am inviting you to join me in discovering what makes sexuality sociologically interesting. This course is divided into five parts. In Part I, we will explore the different ways people have thought about sexuality across time, from framing it as purely biological to how it is socially produced to how queer theory burst onto the scene. In Part II, we will look at how sexuality is omnipresent, in multiple ways, in our everyday life.
In Part III, we will consider how sexuality goes hand in hand with health. In Part IV, we will discuss how sexuality, despite being a private matter, is a highly politicized issue. We will end with discussing how sexuality is policed and controlled. We will also consider how inequalities surrounding sexualities is linked to other forms of oppression such as race, class and gender. This course requires some reading as well as a substantial amount of mental/intellectual commitment. If you are unable to do so because of your other commitments within and outside of school, please reconsider taking the class.
Additionally, if you are uncomfortable with frank and open discussions on sexual matters, you might also want to reconsider enrolling. You are welcome to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. OFFICE HOURS AND CONTACT INFORMATION Learning is always in the process of happening and don’t be surprised if questions and concerns come up between classes. I will be available every Monday from 1pm to 2pm in my office. Outside office hours, he best way to reach me is through email. My email is [email protected] edu.
I usually check my email at least once a day and I will typically respond within 24-36 hours from Monday to Friday. In the situation where I have not responded to your email, even though you sent that email 24 hours ago between Monday to Friday, please send me a reminder email and put “REMINDER” in the email subject. During weekends and holidays, my response time will be slower. Similarly, your TA, Jessi is an excellent resource if you have any questions. The best way to reach her is either visiting her during office hours or emailing her at [email protected] edu.
She checks her email at least once a day and will try her best to respond to inquiries within 24 hours. However, please limit email questions to short inquiries (roughly between 1-2 sentences). Anything that require a lengthier response, please visit her during office hours. To facilitate quick email turn around, please remember to label Sexualities in the subject line and to include your name somewhere in the email. FACING CHALLENGES? If you have things going on in your life which will affect your ability to do your best, then let me or your TA know as soon as possible—don’t wait!
You may not be responsible for your circumstances, but you are responsible for letting us know if you need help or support as soon as possible. Attendance and Participation You are expected to attend class on a regular basis. Attendance will not be taken because of the sheer size of enrollment. However, I may administer in-class quiz if I feel that students are not participating or reading the required readings before class. Learning is collaborative and I will do my best to ensure that the classroom is conducive to collaborative learning. To facilitate this, I require participation from all students.
This can be in the form of asking questions, clarify doubts from the readings, raising interesting topics/points from your personal life when appropriate and any form of discussion. Diversity of Opinions Sex is a controversial topic. Please keep in mind that you might be exposed to opinion that differs from your own. You are welcome, in fact encouraged, to disagree with the readings, peers or even me but please do so respectfully. Derogatory statements and verbal abuses will not be tolerated and students will be asked to leave the class after multiple warnings. Sexually Related Materials
This class is about sex and sexualities. As a result, class materials, including films, might expose you to sexually explicit language and images. If you are offended by any discussion of sexuality or images/languages about sex or sexuality, please do not take this class. These materials are not intended to be offensive but rather highlight and contextualize the subject that we are discussing. Other Matters: 1) Plagiarism – very bad! It takes two primary forms: 1) handing in as your own the work of others; 2) incorporating the work of others into your own without giving clear and full credit.
About the first form: just don’t do it! It’s inexcusable. About the second form: it’s better to err on the side of caution: put quotes around the words of others instead of closely paraphrasing; do a footnote/endnote and cite the source for your information or ideas. Talk to me if you have any confusion about this. (For more information, please visit http:www. uic. edu/depts. /pols/Plagiarism1. pdf). 2) Disabilities and Accommodations. The Office of Disability Services facilitates access for students through consultation with faculty.
To be eligible for such accommodations, students should register with Disability Services. Students needing accommodation should check with me in the first two weeks of the semester. 3) Blackboard. There is a site for this course. The syllabus is located under “Course Information” and the readings under “Course Documents. ” I will tend to communicate with you via email rather than just by posting announcements on the site. There may be some times during the course where I ask you to post comments on the readings or on a particular topic on a discussion board on the site. ) Classroom Etiquette. The classroom is a learning environment. Any cellphone use (this includes texting), web surfing (that includes Facebook, Twitter and other forms of computer-mediated-communication such as IM) and any other activities that are not related to the subject matter of this class is strictly prohibited. And please switch your cellphone to silent before class begins. If you are anticipating an emergency phone call, please leave the classroom before answering the call. COURSE OBJECTIVES The main goal for this course is simple: to think sociologically about sexuality.
In order to achieve this overarching objective, we hope that by the end of the course you can demonstrate the following: ? A SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION. Cultivating a sociological imagination requires that you understand the connection between personal biographies and larger socio-historical patterns. By exercising your sociological imagination, you should be able to see how sexual phenomena—which we frequently view as “natural” or take for granted—are shaped by social and historical forces. ? YOUR OWN STANDPOINT.
By becoming aware of your own place and time in society, you should be able to examine how your social location (e. g. race/ethnicity, gender, social class, sexuality, age, ability, etc. ) shapes how you experience and understand sexuality. ? CRITICAL THINKING. Thinking critically means not just passively absorbing and regurgitating class material, but actively challenging and reflecting on it. This also involves challenging your own assumptions about sex and sexualities to consider how you are influenced by society and the ways in which our knowledge about sexuality is constructed.
Through the processes of developing a sociological imagination, actively examining your own standpoint, and thinking critically about course material, you should be able to seriously engage with the following questions by the end of the semester: ? Where do we draw the line between sexualities that are accepted and those that are rejected? ? What motivates people to draw lines between “good” and “bad” sexualities? ? Who gets to decide where to draw lines between “good” and “bad” sexualities? ? What are the consequences of dividing sexualities into “good” and “bad”?
REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS Sex Matters: The Sexuality and Society Reader, Third Edition. 2010. ISBN: 0205610617 Mindy Stombler, Dawn M. Baunach, Elisabeth O. Burgess, Denise Donnelly, Wendy Simonds, and Elroi J. Windsor (Eds. ). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Other readings will be posted on Blackboard. These are marked with a (BB) in our reading schedule. COURSE REQUIREMENTS Total Points = 100 points Short Response (blackboard) – 10 points Popular Culture Assignment – 25 points Sexual Assault Assignment – 25 Points Letter to Rep Assignment – 25 Points Short Response (blackboard) – 15 Points Short Response (BB) – A total of two short blackboard responses are required for this class. They are a general response to a statement regarding sexuality. There are no right or wrong answers. You are expected to be as truthful and reflexive as you can. The first is worth 10 points and must be completed by Jan 22nd the other is worth 15 POINTS and must be completed by May 7th. ? TAKE HOME ASSIGNMENTS – A total of three take home assignments are required for this class. More information about this is given later in the semester. Each assignment is worth 25 POINTS. First Short Response DUE Tuesday, Jan 22nd
Take Home Assignment #1 (Popular Culture) DUE Tuesday, February 5th Take Home Assignment #2 (Sexual Assault) DUE Tuesday, March 12th Take Home Assignment #3 (Letter to Rep) DUE Tuesday, April 9th Second Short Response DUE Tuesday, May 7th EXTRA CREDIT OPPORTUNITY There is NO opportunity for extra credit in this class. GRADING SCALE Above 90 points = A 80-89 points = B 70-79 points = C 60-69 points = D Below 60 points = F OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND COURSE POLICIES ? ATTENDANCE POLICY – Showing up to class and being prepared to discuss readings or take a quiz is your responsibility.
Although we expect that all students will come to each lecture, we will not be grading you on your attendance. But be aware that there is a strong relationship between attendance and class performance – those students who regularly show up to class overwhelmingly report learning more and receive much higher grades than those students whose attendance is poor. ? BLACKBOARD – We will use Blackboard to post class announcements, assignments, grades, and reading materials; therefore, it is your responsibility to regularly visit our Blackboard course page.
Let your TA know as soon as possible if you are not linked to our course website. ? CELL PHONES, LAPTOPS, AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES – Please silence your cell phone and other electronic devices during class. Laptops are welcome in the classroom, but please use them only for note-taking. Text messaging, cell phones ringing, and using laptops to check your email or update your Facebook status during class are distracting to your colleagues and to me. If I’m distracted, I cannot teach you and your fellow students effectively, and your classmates cannot participate successfully.
So if you want to check your email, browse Facebook, or text your friend, do it after class. ? EXCUSED ABSENCES –What counts as an excused absence? Generally, excused absences include the following: UIC-sponsored activities (please notify your TA at least 3 days in advance), unforeseen family emergency, and illness serious enough to seek the attention of a health-care professional (please note that this excludes routine medical appointments that you choose to schedule during class time). For an absence to be excused, you must provide us with acceptable written documentation.
Whether or not your absences are excused, you are responsible for all missed work. You might consider exchanging contact information with another classmate so that if you do miss a class, that person can share their notes and fill you in on what happened in class. ? LATE POLICY – Late application papers (i. e. , those not submitted to me or your TA by 1:45PM on the due date) will automatically lose one letter grade for each day the paper is late. Papers more than three days late will receive a grade of zero. Whether your paper is late or on time, we will not accept any emailed assignments.
Remember that it is your responsibility to begin working on assignments so that you have enough time to complete them even if a computer or printer malfunctions. Lack of backing up and computer or printer malfunctions are unacceptable excuses for late assignments. ? MANAGING YOUR TIME – Planning ahead is essential for balancing your course load, work schedule, and other events going on in your life. To help you plan in advance, I have included due dates for assignments on the syllabus so that you can plan accordingly. If you see a potential conflict, let me or your TA know right away so that we can work something out. POWERPOINT SLIDES – I will post PowerPoint slides to Blackboard the night before lecture. I do this so that you don’t have to worry about frantically writing down everything from the slides during class, hopefully allowing you to pay more attention to what is said during lecture. But please remember that there is more to lecture than PowerPoint slides. Not coming to class but reviewing the slides is a poor substitute for actually attending lecture. Additionally, slides do not cover all the material that will be on quizzes. If I notice that attendance is consistently poor, I will stop posting slides to Blackboard. PREREQUISTIE – Students taking this course should have already taken the pre-requisite, Intro to Sociology. I also recommend that you have already taken a college-level English Composition course. This is a writing intensive course and lack of good writing skills can impact your grade. ? RETURNING YOUR ASSIGNMENTS – We strive to return graded assignments as quickly as possible. Once assignments have been handed back, we follow the “24/7 rule” regarding any questions about your grade. That means that we will not respond to any grade questions until at least 24 hours after graded assignments were passed back.
Additionally, all grade queries must be made within 7 calendar days from when assignments were returned to make sure that the assignment remains fresh in your TA’s mind. Any questions about grades must be submitted to your TA in writing and explain how and where you met the requirements that your TA’s written comments indicate you did not. Once your TA receives your grade query, they will schedule a meeting with you to talk about it more in person. ? TURNING IN ASSIGNMENTS – All papers are to be uploaded to blackboard by 5pm on the date that it is due.
Any assignments received after that (both in the office and mailbox) will be considered late. We typically won’t have class on the day that assignments are due. Whether turning in an assignment early or late, you should not submit it by slipping it under my or your TA’s office door. A NOTE ON PARTICIPATION During class, I expect you to ask questions or make comments about the material. That said, I understand that talking in class can be relatively easy and exciting for some students, but difficult and stressful for others, especially in larger classes.
It is important that a few students do not dominate discussions while other students do not participate. In order to encourage participation from everyone, make sure that you come to each class prepared. This means thinking about and reflecting on the material before coming to class. You might consider preparing questions or comments on the material. If you write out your thoughts ahead of time, it makes it easier to talk in class because you have already written out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Also keep in mind that we are going to talk about some contentious issues throughout the semester.
You may or may not have a reaction to them, but either way, it’s okay. What’s important is that we are respectful of each other while we discuss these issues. Among other things, this means not blurting out “ew” or “gross” when we are discussing sexual behaviors, desires, or identities that are not to your liking. Additionally, homophobic, racist, or sexist comments create a disrespectful environment and will not be tolerated. Our focus will be on discussing and debating ideas and issues. Personal attacks against people or groups undermine a respectful environment and debate. Course Calendar
This course schedule is a guide. As the semester moves forward, I reserve the right to make changes. Part I: (Many Ways to) Think About Sex ; Doing It Well Week 1 Tuesday, Jan 15th : Reviewing Syllabus Reading – None Thursday, Jan 17th : Why and How Do Sociologists Study Sex? Reading – Kimmel, Michael and Rebecca Plante. 2007. “Sexualities. ” Contexts 6(2): 63-5 [BB] SHORT RESPONSE QUESTION (BLACKBOARD) DUE NEXT TUES Week 2 Tuesday, Jan 22nd: Defining Sex Reading – “Are We Having Sex Now or What? ” 4 “Would You Say You ‘Had Sex’ If…? ” 7 Thursday, Jan 24th: Representing Sex, Part I
Reading – “Hip Hop Honey or Video Ho? ” 97 Week 3 Tuesday, Jan 29th: Representing Sex, Part II Reading – “Geisha of a Different Kind? ” 109 Thursday, Jan 31st: Representing Sex, Part III Reading – “The Porning of America” 141 Part II: Sexuality in Everyday Life Week 4 Tuesday, February 5th: Assignment #1 Due (DO NOT COME TO CLASS) Thursday, February 7th: Learning About Sex Readings -“The Death of the Stork: Sex Education Books for Children” 157 “In the Trenches: LGBT Students Struggle with School and Sexual Identity” 185 Week 5 Tuesday, February 12th: Defining the Body
Readings – “Who Will Make Room for the Intersexed? ” 9 “Sex and the Trans Man” 24 “In Search of (Better) Sexual Pleasure: Female Genital “Cosmetic Surgery” 251 Thursday, February 14th: Intersectionality And the Body Readings -“Hung: A Mediation on the Measure of Black Men in America” 223 “ Defining Genitals: Size Does Matter” 23 “In Search of (Better) Sexual Pleasure: Female Genital “Cosmetic Surgery” 251 Week 6 Tuesday, February 19th: Private Dicks: Men Exposed Thursday, February 21st: Sexual Violence Readings – “I wasn’t Rape but…” 469 Week 7 Tuesday, February 26th: Sexual Violence, Part II
Readings – “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape” 480 Thursday, February 28th: Sexual Violence, Part III Guest Speaker – Rachel Durchslag, CAASE. Week 8 Tuesday, March 5th: Sexuality and Personal Relationships Readings -“The Hook Up Culture on Campus” 306 Thursday, March 7th: Sexuality and Personal Relationships of the Forgotten Readings – “Visibility as Privilege and Danger: Heterosexual and Same-Sex Interracial Intimacy” 314 Part III: Sexuality and Health Week 9 Tuesday, March 12th: Assignment #2 Due (DO NOT COME TO CLASS)
Thursday, March 14th: Sexuality and Health: How to Survive a Plague, Part I Week 10 Tuesday, March 19th: Sexuality and Health: How to Survive a Plague, Part II Thursday, March 21st: Sex and the City Readings – ““Why Do Gay Men Live in San Francisco? ” [BB] Week 11 [Spring Break] – No Class Part IV: Politics of Sexual Identities Week 12 Tuesday, April 2nd: Born Gay or Becoming Gay Readings – “Straight Dude Seeks Same” 27 “Gay by Choice? ” 33 “In the Closet” 444 Thursday, April 4th: More Than Just Gay Readings – “Hiding in the Closet” 38 “Gay for Pay” 119 Part V: Social Control of Sexuality
Week 13 Tuesday, April 9th: Assignment #3 Due (DO NOT COME TO CLASS) Thursday, April 11th: Governing Sexuality Readings – “A Blueprint for Exclusion: The Page Law, Prostitution, and Discrimination Against Chinese Women. ” [BB] Week 14 Tuesday, April 16th: Medicalizing Sexuality Readings – “Pinking of Viagra Culture” 460 Thursday, April 18th: Intersectionality and Social Control Readings – “Dude, You’re a Fag” 430 Week 15 Tuesday, April 23th: Unrepresented Voices – Asexuality + Polyamory Readings – TBA Thursday, April 26th: Wrap Up Week 16 Tuesday, May 3rd: Final Short Response Due (No CLASSES)