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
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
TENTATIVE WEEKLY UNIT OUTLINE
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
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