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Queer studies explored

October 14th, 2010

Beginning in the 2011 spring semester, John Carroll will be offering a new course to students, Queer Studies. 

The course, which was first under consideration last fall, will be considered interdisciplinary, focusing on topics of gender and sexuality. 

Historically, the term “queer” has been considered a derogatory term, but in recent years the word has been reclaimed by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community as a more positive term. Queer Studies considers the serious issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lauren Bowen, associate academic vice president for academic programs and faculty diversity, said, “Many of us were aware there was a gap in the curriculum. So at least 12 faculty from different departments decided to come together to create the new course.” 

Bowen will be the main professor for the course, but other faculty members will also teach lessons. Teachers from other departments will take the class for a week or two and teach the topic from the view of their area of study. This will allow students to compare how different discipline areas view sexuality. 

Departments that will provide professors include sociology, history and philosophy. 

The course, which is an elective and will not count toward the core curriculum, is open to all students and no prerequisites are necessary. 

According to Bowen, the campus overall is very supportive of incorporating the new course into the curriculum. Bowen said that the goal of implementing the new course is “synthesis and integration.”

Although the class does not start until next semester, students have already shown interest. 

Senior Amanda Papa, president of the Student Union, is one of those students. Papa has always liked special topic classes and loves the aspect of diversity involved. 

Papa said, “I’ve taken classes on race and sexuality, classes that deal with different populations of people. Queer Studies deals with an issue that is very up and coming and very useful now. It is very pertinent to today.”

Deanna Bouchahine, also a senior, is planning on taking Queer Studies. 

In an e-mail, Bouchahine said, she is happy the course is interdisciplinary because it will incorporate the views of students and professors from many disciplines. 

According to Bouchahine, the course will illuminate where society is on LGBTQ issues. 

”Therefore, how we can think of challenging and ultimately changing negative stereotypes held over the LGBTQ community,” said Bouchahine. 

Queer Studies will be offered as a three credit course in the College of Arts and Sciences, English or Psychology departments. The class will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 – 4:45 p.m.