[sixties-l] after-afterthoughts

From: Charlotte Pagni (pagni@umich.edu)
Date: Fri Feb 02 2001 - 09:21:24 EST

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    Dear Rich,

    Forgot to send you my Sex Rev course description and unit outline; find
    them below. When I taught an English Composition course on the theme of
    the sexual revolution, I had particular success with the cross-generational
    interview assignment. Students had to interview a boomer about personal
    experiences related to the sex rev, based on some preparatory readings and
    classroom brainstorming about how to approach the interview. Some students
    wrote their essays in the first person. They really enjoyed the
    assignment, and some reported having had unusually meaningful engagements
    with older family members and friends.

    wishing you an enjoyable weekend,
    AC Humanities Theme Course Proposal for Fall 2001: The Sexual Revolution

    Charlotte Pagni
    Submitted January 18, 2001


    This course explores the post-WWII Sexual Revolution as an historical
    phenomenon which resonates in contemporary American culture. Taught from a
    multicultural and interdisciplinary perspective, the course offers an
    introduction to sexuality studies and cultural criticism, while providing
    the foundation for practical and engaging research and writing experiences.
    The course is designed to help students situate their academic work
    historically, and in relation to their everyday lives.


    Upon completion, students should be able to identify the major themes and
    issues of the postwar sexual revolution, and to trace their impact on
    today?s culture. They should also be able to demonstrate proficiency in
    interview, archival, library, and Internet research methods; as well as
    written and oral critical analysis.


    Teaching units are organized historically and by topic (see "Tentative
    Weekly Unit Outline"), though most themes and issues are developed across
    several units in an integrative fashion. Class meetings combine lecture
    and group discussion based on assigned readings, with frequent classroom
    presentation of print, graphic, audio/visual, and musical artifacts (see
    "Preliminary Readings and Support Materials"). There may be two or three
    guest speakers. Assigned readings include scholarly and popular print
    texts, 1950s-present. Students may be required to view one or two
    videotapes outside of class. [Appropriate notice will be given regarding
    the sexually explicit nature of some course materials and discussion


    Preparation and participation in classroom discussions.

    Occasional, brief, written and/or oral responses to selected reading

    Short essay quiz on introductory concepts.

    An essay based on a cross-generational interview of a "baby boomer? about
    coming of age during the postwar sexual revolution (3-5 pages).

    Critical analysis of a print, graphic, audiovisual, or musical text from
    the 1950s-1970s (6-8 pages).

    A field notebook (minimum 12 entries) on a contemporary sexuality topic of
    his or her choice, in preparation for a culminating analytical paper
    situating the issue in historical relation to the sexual revolution (10-12
    pages). At least one notebook entry will comment on a period document or
    artifact from the Labadie Special Collections Library.

    Technical Support and Cost

    The course requires a TV-VCR setup for each meeting; occasionally, audio
    equipment and a video opaque projector are required (all available through
    LSA Media Services). Photocopying needs fall within the usual course
    allotment. No lab fee is required, as support media are drawn from the
    instructor's personal collection.

    Pagni AC Humanities Theme Course Proposal for Fall 2001: The Sexual

     1 Introduction
            Introduction to course design and topic; approaches to sexuality studies;
    the social construction of sexuality; broad historical overview of
    sexuality and its cultural regulation; global camparisons.

     2 History of Sexuality in American Culture
            Long overview; Fin de Siecle; The Jazz Age; the sex radicals; sex in the
    public sphere; introduction to the Post-WWII Sexual Revolution; social,
    economic, and political contexts; philosophical roots; the Kinsey Reports;
    postmodern sensibility and institutional instability; politicization of
    sexuality; themes and issues of the revolution.

     3 Economics of the Revolution
            Global, national, and regional economic factors; class considerations;
    commodification of sex; the popularization of sexology;
    "sex-acquisitiveness"; sexual aids and paraphernalia; sex in advertising.
     4 Focus on Youth
            The Baby Boom, and the emergence of youth culture and youth consumer
    market; sex education; the double standard; sex on campus; the twist; "sex,
    drugs, and rock and roll"; teenpics and other representations of adolescent

     5 Focus on Women
            Shifting cultural constructions of female sexuality; the Women's
    Liberation Movement; female sexual pleasure; virginity; "frigidity";
    "nymphomania"; the Pill; the feminization of sex; representing female

     6 Focus on Men
            Shifting cultural constructions of male sexuality; the "men's liberation
    movement"; the Playboy Philosophy; performance anxiety and the new male
    impotence; representing male sexuality.

     7 Race and Ethnicity
            Neglect in sexual science; alternative family structure; the Civil Rights
    Movement; the exotic and the erotic; miscegenation; underrepresentation and
    misrepresentation of racial and ethnic sexual identities. [Introduction to
    the Labadie Special Collections Library.]

     8 Multiplication of Sexualities
            Defining gay and lesbian sexualities; the Gay Liberation Movement in
    historical context; representing homosexuality; bisexuality;
    transsexuality; hippies and the Free Love Movement; swapping and swinging;
    group sex; STDs.

    9 & 10 Sexual Representation and Regulation
            Sex representational strategies; censorship and The Free Speech Movement;
    de- and reregulation; "high" literature; pulp fiction; newspapers,
    magazines, and tabloids; cinema; emergence of hard core; television; fine
    11 Contemporary Sex Activism
            Fundamentalist Conservatism; backlash against feminism and sexual
    liberation; gay rights and pro-pleasure sex activists; case study: Safety
    Girl and the Ann Arbor Public Access TV regulation controversy.

    12 Legacies of the Sexual Revolution
            The contemporary crisis; negotiating sexual rights and responsibilities;
    redefining sexual criminality; new sexual agendas; public policy

    [The thirteenth week is dedicated to discussion of students' final projects
    and debriefing.]

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