Murray Syllabus Fall 2011

Politics of Sexuality 21:988:325:Q1                                                                           Fall 2011

Wednesday/Friday 11:30am-12:50pm                                               Classroom: Hill Hall 115

Assistant Instructor: Connie Murray                                                        Office: Hill Hall 724

Office Hours: Wednesday 2:30-4:00pm                                      Office Phone 973-353-5753

This course is writing intensive.

The texts and a reader for the course are available only from New Jersey Books. Rubyf[uit Jungle

by Rita Mae Brown

New York: Bantam Books, 1973

Abortion: The Supreme Court Decisions 1965-2007

edited by Ian Shapiro

Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company, 2007 (third edition)

She's Not There

by Jennifer Finney Boylan

New York: Broadway Books, 2003

Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex Alice Domurat Dreger

Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998

The Politics of Sexuality examines debates surrounding sex and sexuality in recent decades, while offering an historical perspective regarding other times and places. The course addresses such realms as the family, the state, the church, school, and the law.

The course will be interactive. Each session students will begin with news topics addressing the subject of sexuality from the elite press, National Public Radio, or the Public Broadcasting System. Sources should include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Time, Newsweek, U. S. News and World Report, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Monday through Friday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. and CNN. Students may also bring relevant videotaped television segments or CD's to be reviewed by the professor and shown in class.

A strict attendance policy will be applied. Two inexcusable absences will be allowed during the semester. Each subsequent absence will result in the reduction of the student's grade. Excusable absences include a student's illness, the illness of the student's child or parent, or a death in the immediate family. Excusable absences should be reported to the professor so that they might be recorded. Students may also be excused for university sanctioned religious holidays. The allowance for two inexcusable absences should not be interpreted as permission to be absent twice for no reason. Missing lectures always means a lower grade on an exam when students have not actually heard and taken notes on the material themselves.

Students should carefully adhere to the university's policy on academic integrity. Cheating on exams or plagiarizing writing assignments will result in failure for the semester and will be reported to the proper university authority. Students should treat each other and the professor with respect. Lack of civility will not be tolerated.

Grades will be based on class participation 15% (participation means presenting current,
relevant news), 3 writing assignments each worth 15%, a midterm (20%) and a final (20%). The

midterm will be October 21 (during class period) and the final will be December 21, 11:45am­2:45pm. The final exam is not comprehensive (it only covers the last half of the semester). The exams are multiple choice. Do not miss exams. The department administrator cannot administer .i makeup exams. Make travel plans that do not interfere with scheduled exams. Do not ask to take an exam earlier or later than scheduled. There will be no extra credit opportunities. A grade earned is a grade received. Do not bring electronic equipment to the midterm or final exam. Leave it with the professor or, better yet, do not bring it into the classroom.

Students will be given one rewrite opportunity for each writing assignment. Turn in papers on the required date. Late papers will be penalized one grade for each day late. Writing assignment 1 is due September 30.Writing assignment 2 is due November 2. Writing assignment 3 is due November 30 There are several conditions upon which a rewrite might be necessary such as a failure to cite a quote, failure to include a bibliography where additional sources have been used,, mistakes made by those for whom English is a second language, mistakes made in grammar or punctuation, etc. Those papers earning an A or a B on the first writing attempt should not request a rewrite.

Academic Calendar Changes

Thursday, September 8, follows a Monday class schedule Monday, November 21, follows a Wednesday class schedule Tuesday, November 22, follows a Thursday schedule

Order of Topics and Readings:

First Class

Introduction of Class Members Rules for Class Discussion

Discussion of Course Requirements

The Kinsey Reports lecture Video: Kinsey PBS

Masters and Johnson lecture

The Hite Reports, Shere Hite lecture

Women's Sexuality as the Source of Women's Oppression

Reader: ShuIamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1970, "Conclusion: The Ultimate Revolution,"pages 205-242.

Video: Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Art as an expression of women's sexuality: Georgia O'Keeffe

Video: Still Killing Us Softly (advertising's construction of women's sexuality)

Reproductive Rights

Reader: excerpt from Margaret Sanger, Woman and the New Race in Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings, edited by Miriam Schneir, New York: Vintage Books, 1994, pages 325-334.

"An Abortion Battle, Fought to the Death" by David Barstow in The New York Times, July 26, 2009, pages 1, 16, 17.

"Fetal Animation" in At Women's Expense by Cynthia Daniels, Harvard University


Press: Cambridge University Press, 1993, pages 9-29.

Read the excerpts of the following cases in Shapiro: Griswold v. Connecticut

Roe v. Wade

Webster v. Reproductive Health Services Hodgson v. Minnesota

Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey Stenber v. Carhart

Gonzales v. Carhart

Pro-choice and anti-choice interest groups lecture

Abortion and Public opinion lecture

Video: Abortion for Survival, Fund for the Feminist Majority

Silent Scream, a production of the anti-choice movement

Abortion: Desperate Choices HBO

Homosexual and Bisexual

History of the Gay Rights Movement lecture

Constitutional cases lecture: Bowers v. Hardwick 1986

Romer v. Evans 1996

Lawrence v. Texas 2003

Federal Legislative History lecture

Public Opinion and Homosexual Rights lecture

Pro-gay rights and anti-gay rights interest groups: Video: News Hour with Jim Lehrer Video: Castro section of San Francisco Read: Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Reader: "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" by Adrienne Rich in Signs 5 (Summer 1980):631-660.

"Down Low" by Benoit Denizet-Lewis in the New York Times Magazine, August 3, 2003, Section 6, pages 28,30-33,48,52-53.

"Backers of Gay Marriage Rethink California Push" by Jesse McKinley in The New York Times, July 27, 2009, page A11, A 15.

Transsexual, Transgender

Definitions and Review of the Research lecture Read: She's Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan Video: Boys Don't Cry


Read: Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex by Alice Domurat Dreger


Perspectives on Pornography lecture

Reader: "Erotica v. Pornography" in Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions by Gloria

Steinham, New York: Henry Holt and Company,1983, pages 238-251. "Feminism, Moralism, and Pornography" in Powers of Desire by Ellen Willis "Excerpt on Pornography from Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape" by Susan Brownmiller in Take Back the Night edited by Laura Lederer

Writing Assignment l

In the spirit of Tina Turner's "What's love got to do with it?", address the question "What's politics got to do with it?" Traditionally politics has been seen as that which affects government or that which arises out of government. This is not the only way to see "the political". Using a transformed notion of politics as a very broad notion of analysis, discuss how politics affected the work and research of Alfred Kinsey (The Kinsey Reports), Masters and Johnson, and Shere Hite (The Hite Reports).

The paper should be 2-4 pages, typewritten, and double spaced. Use a font size similar to the one used here. If you quote from any of the works, indicate the page number and the work cited. This is not a research paper so no formal citation method or bibliography is required. Of course, you. may do further research to help you understand the three if you desire to do so.

Here are some suggestions to get you started thinking about how you might approach the paper:


How did the politics and decisions of the Ford Foundation affect Kinsey's work? How did the media construct America's reaction to Kinsey's findings?

How did religious institutions and leaders construct the reaction to Kinsey's work? How did gender play out in his eventual loss of funding and in reactions to his work?

Masters and Johnson:

How did traditional constructions of female sexuality construct their research? How did society react to their findings and their methods?

What lasting effects has their research had on societal attitudes about sex?

Shere Hite:

How did the women's movement affect her research and findings? And how were her findings different than Kinsey's and Masters and Johnson's?

What lasting effect did her research have on women's sexuality and liberation?

Generally: How were attacks on their work constructed by the research community and its traditional notions of what scientific research should look like?

How did the patriarchal system affect their approach, their research and their conclusions?

You need not address any of the questions above if you see a different approach to the analysis. Creativity will be rewarded.

Writing Assignment 2
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Researchers have looked to many possible biological sources of homosexuality (such as genes, brains, or hormones) and have come to no definitive scientific conclusions. However, social scientists have found that gays and lesbians feel that they are somehow different from the: socially constructed "heterosexual norm" from the time they are very young and exhibit gender non-conformity (this means that they don't always act like boys or girls, men or women, "are supposed to act"). Rita Mae Brown demonstrates this in her novel Rubyfruit Jungle. The midterm essay asks that you write about how Brown demonstrates these findings of social scientists. Your discussion of the feelings and thoughts of the main character, Molly, in the novel must be assisted by quoting from the novel in order to demonstrate your assertions in the essay. Please cite the pages from which you extract the quotations used.

Writing Assignment 3

Compare the video, Boys Don't Cry, with the book, She's Not There. Use the information from lecture as a tool of analysis.

Below are questions that might help construct your essay. Do not let the questions limit your analysis, however. Creativity will be rewarded.

Categorize TeenafBrandon and Jennifer. Are they bisexual, homosexual, transgender, transsexual? If transgender, which kind?

What do their stories tell us about whether sexuality is natural or socially constructed?

What do their histories tell us about social attitudes about homosexuality, transgender individuals, and transsexuality?

What do their experiences tell us about the effect of socioeconomic class on transgender individuals?

What do you think of the ability of each work to help those who have not learned about homsexuality, transgender individuals or transsexuality? Will they fail to understand the point of the work? Have the works helped you to understand?

Do you think that in a democracy that all humans should be treated equally? What are the components of political equality? Does it include the right to be free from job discrimination, discrimination in public accommodations, discrimination in housing and credit? Does equality include the right to express ones sexuality freely? Does it include the right to marry whomever one pleases? Does it include the right to be free from hate crimes and be protected from hate crimes (perhaps through legislation, police protection, or other government policies)?