Opinion
Dartmouth College. Photo - public domain Dartmouth College. Photo - public domain  

Outlandish college courses: the Ivy League Dirty Dozen

Dartmouth College, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies: Queer Marriage, Hate Crimes, and Will and Grace: Contemporary Issues in LGBT Studies

This course will explore a wide range of contemporary issues and debates in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies. We will do this by examining, in some detail, several issues now integral to present LGBT rights movements, but will expand our focus beyond the immediate concerns of political organizing to the broader questions these issues raise. The LGBT movement, now three decades old, is facing serious growing pains. It has won toleration and some mainstream acceptance, but must now decide its current needs, agendas, social and political goals. We will look at three important areas of discussion: challenges to the legal system such as the repeal of sodomy laws and hate crime legislation; evolving social constructions of LGBT life such as gay marriage, the “gayby-boom,” and the effect of AIDS on community formation; the threat of queer sexuality especially as it relates to issues of childhood sexuality, public sex, and transgender identity. We will be reading primary source material, including Supreme Court decisions, as well as critical theory by writers such as Lani Guinier and Samuel Delany. We will also look at how popular culture movies like “Basic Instinct” “‘Scary Movie,” “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and television’s “Will and Grace” and “Six Feet Under” both reflect and shape popular opinion. We will also examine how race, class, gender, and “the body” are integral to these topics and how queer representation in popular culture shapes both public discourse, and the LGBT cultural and political agendas.

Brown University, American Studies: Crises in American Capitalism

We are now in the midst of what is commonly called the Great Recession — the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. This course investigates these two crises in American capitalism: how they were caused, resisted, represented, and remembered. Students will be asked to interrogate the meanings of these economic crises, and to consider their various political and cultural uses.