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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Grants expand LGBT courses

Professors in several different fields will create and expand courses to include content relevant to the LGBT community.

The Institute for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies awarded six grants for curriculum development in subjects ranging from Near Eastern Studies to anthropology last semester. Several of these courses are core components of undergraduate and graduate degree paths.

Current social and political issues have sparked student awareness of LGBT issues, according to Susan Shaw, assistant professor of anthropology. Shaw received $2,000 which she will use to develop a new graduate seminar and upper-division undergraduate course concerning feminism, gender and sexuality over the summer.

The courses will discuss topics such as how societies think of bodies as male or female and how this varies across cultures. The courses will be offered as early as spring 2012, Shaw said.

“”Students are increasingly interested in sexuality and sexual difference,”” she said. “”It’s becoming increasingly political.””

Knowledge about LGBT issues is important for students regardless of their majors, according to Miranda Joseph, associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies. Joseph is using the $5,000 grant she received to redevelop the general education course Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.

The course has been offered for nearly a decade to about 50 to 80 students, Joseph said. Budget cuts have required the class to accommodate 168 students this semester.

“”In some ways, I’m happy I’m serving more students with the course,”” Joseph said. “”It’s important for any educated person to have exposure to.””

The graduate assistant funded by the grant is helping to redesign lectures to include multimedia to engage the large class. The course covers topics like the theories of sexuality, social movements, the politics of representation and stereotypes.

“”Issues related to sexuality are in the news media every day,”” Joseph said. “”We all play a role in the decision making about that.””

A mandatory course in the James E. Rogers College of Law will also include LGBT content this semester.

Barak Orbach, an associate professor of law, has taught the course The Regulatory State for six years. Grant funding will help Orbach to incorporate LGBT content into discussion of government regulation, he said.

“”Many of us don’t think about how regulation affects certain individuals,”” Orbach said. “”This is one of the things the course tries at the very least to emphasize.””

Laws regarding rights such as marriage affect people who identify with the LGBT community or are family or friends of those who do, Orbach said.

“”This is something students should know regardless of what they think about it, regardless of what conclusions they come to,”” he said.

Orbach said the course is a work in progress, which he has already added material to. He is also working on developing a book based on the course.

Orbach also mentioned his appreciation of the affiliation with the Institute for LGBT Studies the grant provides.

“”I think we need to discuss (issues) in a civilized manner,”” he said. “”It’s a stamp to discuss things inclusively.””

Knowledge of LGBT issues is useful for all students, said business marketing freshman Paige Kratzke. Kratzke said she decided to take the course Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies to learn about the history of gay and lesbian people in the United States.

“”It’s important to know about everyone who makes up our society,”” Kratzke said. “”People don’t realize there are so many groups.””

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