Overview of Course
What is the role of society in constructing gender, sexuality, and culture? Neither gender nor sexuality are fixed, but are rather constructions of society. Our course starts with a human rights foundation and the assumption that diversity in sexuality and gender is a normal part of human experience and enriches society as a whole. It is also useful to explore how diversity of sexuality and gender can be considered sites of power and privilege. Gender, sexuality, and culture are increasingly important topics in the applied social sciences, yet people, environments, and time shape these understandings. This course explores the changing nature of gender and sexuality issues using an intersectional feminist and queer studies framework, examining how culture shifts over time and place. People’s experiences of the world, as well as their role within their families, groups, and communities, are influenced by their multiple identities. Through a contextual, strengths-based, and culturally responsive lens, we will explore essentialist and constructionist perspectives on gender and sexuality. Additionally, through readings and interactive activities, we will discuss queer identities and prevailing cultural contexts of cisgender femininity and masculinity. In particular, students will investigate the person, environment, and time dimensions of queer identities and the social positioning of cisgender and transgender people, especially in contemporary Asia-Pacific settings. A field advocacy project related to queer sexualities and genders will be undertaken by students for their future career goals in social sciences, social work, and human rights.