Syllabus: Fall 2015

Course Description

English / Women’s Studies 245: Introduction to Lesbian and Gay Studies is the introductory course in the Sexuality and Gender Studies minor. Throughout the course of the semester, we will investigate some of the most important concepts in queer studies, including identity, gender, sex, sexuality, style, and culture. Furthermore, this course emphasizes the diverse artistic traditions, including theory, fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, journalism, film, television, music, and art, that contribute to what we might loosely call queer culture.

Required Texts

Djuna Barnes, Ladies Almanack (Champaign, IL: Dalkey, 1992). ISBN: 9780916583880

Course Expectations

Participation The success of our class session depends on your active participation. I expect that you come to class not only having read the required readings, but also having thought about them. I also expect that you contribute to our classroom discussion every day. I understand that some of you might be shy or unfamiliar with the material, but my expectation of lively participation stands. What’s more, participation is not just voicing what you think about an idea or a text; it is responding to what others think. Listening carefully to and being respectful of your fellow classmates’ contributions are essential to the success of our learning community.

Reading Quizzes From time to time, I will give unannounced reading quizzes. They will be easy if you have completed the readings; they will be near impossible if you have not. In these quizzes I will mostly ask for your initial thoughts and reactions to the required reading(s), so being able to articulate what is most persuasive, most seductive, most touching, most offensive, most shocking in any reading will, along with some textual evidence for support, ensure that you score well.

If you are not in class the day we take a quiz, you must schedule an appointment to make it up within a week. Quizzes will be graded on a ✓ scale: ✓+ is equivalent to an A; ✓ to a B; ✓- to a C.

Archive Project The Archive Project is our most significant endeavor this semester. In last spring’s course, students and I began to construct a digital archive using the Sites@PSU platform. Students contributed to this archive posts that reviewed and analyzed artistic expressions that could be considered in the very broad category of “queer culture.”

This semester we will be continuing the work that last semester’s class began. Each of you will be in charge of finding, researching, and analyzing three items that represent, theorize, or give voice to queer lives and experience. These items could range from literature to music, film, television, dance, visual art, non-fiction writing, internet sites, or whatever you can make an argument for.

By the end of the semester, the two classes together will have posted nearly two hundred artifacts accompanied by evaluations and critical analysis–a substantial resource for LGBTQ representation, for diverse queer expression, and for further critical analysis.

Final Exam Your final exam will be a five page paper that considers artifacts that your classmates posted to our digital archive. It will be due during finals week. For further instructions regarding the final paper, click here.

Course Policies

Attendance Attendance is required. I will only excuse absences for university-sponsored events. Otherwise, you are allowed three unexcused absences before your attendance record starts impacting your grade. As per faculty senate policy, a student whose absences are excessive “may run the risk of receiving a lower grade or a failing grade.” Likewise, excessive tardiness will be treated as absences.

Readings In addition to the one required text, I will also post scans of the course readings to our course schedule, or link to various resources on the internet.

Films Throughout the semester, we will be watching a number of films. We will watch clips of the film in class during our discussion, but it is your responsibility to watch the film in its entirety before coming to class. Some of the films are available through library databases, and you will be able to stream them through Angel or a web browser on any computer. Others are not available through library databases. For those films, there will be a copy on reserve in the Arts and Humanities Library on the second floor of Pattee Library West. These films are also widely available in both DVD or streaming versions on sites like Amazon and Netflix.

Grading Grades reflect my evaluation of the quality of your work (not of you as a person). The major course expectations are weighted according to the following percentages: Participation (20%), Reading Quizzes (20%), Archive Project (30%), Final Exam (30%).

Late Work Late work will receive a deduction of one grade increment per day (meaning, B+ to B, C to C-). If you are having trouble meeting deadlines, please let me know, and we can work things out. I am more than willing to make accommodations if you let me know in advance; I am not so willing if you send me an email at 2 AM the night before something is due.

Email I will try to respond to all emails within twenty-four hours. However, email should be reserved for short and efficient communication. If you think that your question might require substantial detail, please come to my office hours, or contact me to make an appointment.

Academic Integrity Penn State defines academic integrity as the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. All students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts (Faculty Senate Policy 4920). Any plagiarism will result in a grade of F for that assignment, and any students who violate the University’s standards of academic integrity will be reported to the University’s Judicial Affairs office for possible further disciplinary sanction.

Statement of Nondiscrimination The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff, or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University.