2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
    Sep 24, 2020  
2018-2019 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

PSYC 254 - Psychology of Sexual Orientation

This course will take an intersectional, life course approach to the topic of sexual orientation, attending to the various social locations that intersect with sexual orientation (e.g., gender, race, religion) and the shifting nature and meaning of sexual orientation at different stages of development. The course will begin with an overview of the history and politics of sexual orientation research, attending to controversial and timely issues such as the causality of sexual orientation and how we “count” sexual minorities in surveys. The focus will then shift to exploring the intersection of sexuality and gender. For example, we will discuss and interrogate “compulsive heterosexuality” and the construction of masculinity and femininity, attending to how family, peers, the media, and other key socialization agents (re)enforce our ideas about sexuality and gender. We will explore sexual identity development and sexual fluidity across the life course, and will attend to and critique dominant “coming out” narratives. We will critically examine the empirical research on sexual minority youths and adolescent sexual orientation, tackling complex topics such as media portrayals of gay teen suicide and the changing use and meaning of various sexual identity labels. We will address the intersection of sexual orientation and gender identity in young adulthood and beyond, examining, for example, the sexual identities of individuals who identify as transgender. Intimate relationship dynamics and family-building in LGBTQ communities, as well as aging issues, will also be discussed. Finally, tensions and conflicts surrounding LGBTQ activism and advocacy will be explored. Class assignments will include weekly reading response papers, experiential exercises and writing assignments, and a class project and presentation. Active class participation is a must; this is intended to be an engaged, dynamic seminar with 15 participants who are dedicated to thinking, learning, and growing.

Prerequisites for this course require a grade of C- or better

Prerequisites: PSYC 105  , PSYC 108  , PSYC 109  or Instructor’s permission.

Course Designation/Attribute: DI

Anticipated Terms Offered: Annually