Course Sakai Site: Sakai.Allegheny.Edu

Course Sakai Site: Sakai.Allegheny.Edu

Professor Jennifer Hellwarth
FS101.43: Modern Sexualities
MWF 10-10:50 am
Oddfellows 206
Fall 2016 / Oddfellows 232
Phone: o.4324
Office Hours: M 2:30-3:30pm, T 9-11am, W 2:30-4:30, Th 11am-noon,and also by appointment.

FS101.43: Modern Sexualities

Course Sakai Site:

Professor Hellwarth’s webpage

Course Description and Objectives

Allegheny’s Institutional Learning Outcomes (as specified in the Allegheny College catalogue):

Allegheny’s educational program is designed so that its graduates are able to:

  • Communicate clearly and persuasively as speakers and writers;
  • Invoke multiple ways of understanding to organize and evaluate evidence, and to interpret and make sense of their experiences and the experiences of others;
  • Apply their knowledge and learning to engage in informed debate, and to analyze and solve problems.

Learning Outcomes Specific to FS 101:

  • To recognize and express interesting ideas of intellectual value;
  • To develop an engaging voice as a speaker and writer;
  • To organize ideas effectively to communicate in specific contexts;
  • To use language clearly, powerfully, and with appropriate detail.

To this end, this course will ask you to slow down and reflect through writing and speaking. This reflection will help you hone your skills in:

  • writing crisp, vivid summaries and descriptions, and developing argument;
  • speaking courageously and thoughtfully;
  • navigating your way through the library;
  • solving problems that initially may seem insurmountable, and
  • managing your time effectively.

This course focuses on developing descriptive skills, on synthesizing and summarizing multiple sources, on sustaining descriptive narrative, on developing argument (or a thesis), both in written and oral form, and on revising for clarity of style. Reading and writing assignments are drawn from the various academic disciplines including the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Humanities, with a focus on issues of sexuality and sexual identity.

Sexuality and sexual identities are represented and defined by our culture in a variety of ways. As a means for understanding this negotiation, we examine human sexual behavior and identities. Readings are drawn from fields that both challenge and complement one another, including biology, psychology, art, and literature. Topics of discussion include sexual identity formation, infant sex reassignment surgery, and popular representations of masculinity and femininity.

Course Requirements and Assignments

You will be asked to do various kinds of assignments over the course of the semester, both written and oral. You will write three formal papers, give two speeches, plus do various in-class and out-of-class exercises, including keeping areading journal and contributing questions to class discussion. We will also be doing grammar exercises during the course of the semester as needed. You must turn in all the major assignments listed below in order to pass the class!

Descriptive Essay 10%

Evaluating Websites10%

Summary Essay10%

Research Essay15%

Reading Presentation 5%

Summary Speech 10%

Final Speech15%

Journal/Questions 5%

Peer Review10%



When you write your journal, think about the following questions. You need not answer and respond to each of them, but they will give you a place to start.

  • Pick a sentence or two from the day’s reading that you find compelling. Do you agree with it, disagree with it, or partially agree with it? Bring in examples from your own life or from other readings you’ve done that seem relevant to the issue.
  • Connect the day’s course reading with some activity or other reading that we’ve done for this course. How are they similar or different?
  • Does the author ever seem to contradict him/herself? If so, what do you make of it?
  • What themes emerge for you as you read this author’s work?
  • What assumptions does the author seem to have? Do you agree with those assumptions?

***Please Read the attached criteria for class participation and essay grading***

A few notes and caveats:

In this class we will be discussing various aspects of sexuality that may provoke strong feelings and opinions. Be aware that sexual identities and sexual practicesthat may seem unfamiliar or unusual to you may be part of someone else’s daily life. You should assume that at least one person in your class has experience with the topic we are discussing (whether that topic is heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, transexuality, intersexuality, domestic violence, rape, etc.); actively keeping this in mind might make you think about the topic differently. If you can, please put aside judgments and visceral responses and try to respond to the evidence and arguments with a level head.

Important: As members of this class we agree that (1) we have the right to test ideas, voice our thoughts, and change our minds throughout the semester, (2) we will respect confidentiality, (3)we will listen carefully and respect someone else’s point of view, and (4) we will consider twicebefore sharing personal information, asking ourselves if it helps illustrate a point/fit into the readings and how we might feel after sharing it.

Attendance and Participation

Attendance is Required! Allegheny policy requires class attendance. I expect that you will come to every class and be present in mind as well as body. That means being prepared. Come to class having done the assigned reading (take notes, record comments!) listed for that day and with at least one thing in mind that you would like to contribute to the class. I understand that life happens and sometimes you must be absent. If this is the case and you know you will be absent, please let me know (by phone message or e-mail).

An absence can be excused with proof of cause: either a College obligation (e.g., sports event away, a class field trip) or illness (requiring a note from a doctor or the health center). Each student is permitted two unexcused absences; each unexcused absence beyond this number will result in a penalty of 2 points off your final grade. (For example, if you earn a final grade of 85, but have three additional unexcused absences, your final grade becomes a 79.)

Also remember: if you miss class YOU are responsible for finding out what you have missed; check with a classmate about readings and assignments. (Please please,please do not ask if you have missed anything!!)

Participation includes oral contribution to class discussion in the form of answers, questions, comments, and disagreements both in small group work as well as paired activities, and peer responses to writing and speeches.

Oral Presentations


A poll of Allegheny alumni suggested that speaking effectively was one of the core workplace skills that Allegheny graduates had that many others did not. As with writing, such skills are developed over time and with much practice. We’ll provide a supportive atmosphere for one another so that speaking publicly starts to become second nature to you.


  • Speeches must be accompanied by a full sentence outline and, when appropriate, a works cited page (details on what precisely a full sentence outline is will accompany the first assignment).
  • It is vital that you come prepared to present on the days you are assigned to give an oral presentation. Failing to do so lets down the entire class and disrupts the course significantly. It there are extenuating circumstances that will prevent you from presenting on your assigned day, you must discuss with me ahead of time.

A Note on Plagiarism

Plagiarism will not be tolerated in this class. Please read the Honor Code in the College Catalogue. We will discuss various ways to avoid unintentional plagiarism. Please note that plagiarism includes direct or indirect use of any words or ideas other than your own without proper acknowledgment. Using the words of ideas of another person, including internet sources, without proper citation is a crime and could result in failure of the assignment or course. In addition, all cases of plagiarism are to be reported to the Honor Committee.

Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices: Unless instructed to use them or you have

documentation from the Learning Commons, cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices

are not permitted during our class sessions. If a phone rings, text messages are sent, or if a

student is surfing the web, I have a clear policy: the first time the student will be warned publicly

and/or privately that this is disrespectful behavior; the second time, the student will bring us light

snacks to atone; a third time (and I know this will never happen), we will have lunch on you! Before you come to class, turn off/completely silence your phone/put them

away as not to be tempted by them. We all ask for your attention, engagement, participation, and

respect. If you are in the middle of an emergency and expect the phone to ring, please come see

me before class and we will decide if it is appropriate for you to be in the classroom that day.

Specific Needs for Success in the Classroom: Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact Disability Services at (814) 332-2898. Disability Services is part of the Learning Commons and is located in Pelletier Library. Please do this as soon as possible to ensure that approved accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.


•Take notes while you read. Write down what you think are important points and ask questions of the authors’ arguments as you go through the material. Doing so will facilitate learning and retention, and save you an enormous amount of time over the term.

•Take notes on our discussions ... not just what the professor says! In a discussion-based class, it is important to write down everyone’s good points, so you can think through them later.

•Stay up with the reading—learn to read strategically; catching up is always a more difficult.

•If you have unanswered questions and/or would like to discuss issues in more depth, let’s talk during office hours or make an appointment.

*Please note that you might include some of these as part of your journal.

Required Texts

Finnley Boylan, Jennifer. She’s Not There. Broadway Books, 2002. (SNT)

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. New York: Norton. 2006. (TSIS)

Hacker, Diana. A Writers Reference, Seventh Edition. Bedford, St. Martin’s Press, 2007. (WR)

Kimmel, Michael S. and Rebecca F. Plante, eds. Sexualities.2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. (S)

****Please Note: The syllabus is subject to change! Please pay attention to announcements regarding any changes in course readings and assignments!***

Week 1

Wed / 31 Aug /

First Day. What/Why is Sex? What/Why is Gender?Read: “Introduction” in Sexualities, pp.ix-xv; TSIS, “Preface,” pp xvi-xxv; Read “Classical Inquiries,” pp. 2-3. Answer in one paragraph one of the discussion questions on page 3.

Quiz: The Syllabus

Week 2 / 2 Sept /

“Classical Inquiries” into Defining Sexuality and Understanding Desire. Read “Conceptualizing Sexuality” pp. 4-8 and 9-21.

Mon / 5Sept /

Read “The Social Origins of Sexual Development” pp.22-31;TSIS “Introduction” pp. 1-15 + exercise 1 on page 14.

Wed / 7 Sept / Becoming Sexual—Childhood Sexual Socialization. Read,74-76 + answer 1 of the questions on p. 75(short written response—put in the Sakai Dropbox by 9am).
Week 3 / 9 Sept / Read “Primary School ‘Studs’” pp. 77-92.
Mon / 12 Sept / Read“Dating and Romantic Relationships Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youths” pp. 112-122; 123-125; TSIS “Chapter One” pp. 19-29 + question 2 on page 29 (choose gender relations or sexual identity as your subject).
Week 4 / 14 Sept
16 Sept
17 Sept / Collegiate Sexualities. Read pp. 126-128 + choose a discussion question and respond to it.
Read “The Gender of Desire” pp. 129-144.
Descriptive Narrative Paper: 1st Draft due to your peer editing group and Prof. Hellwarth by 5pm
Tues / 19 Sept
20 Sept / Peer Editing in class—come to class with drafts and having read your peers’ papers.Read TSIS “Chapter Two” pp. 30-41, exercise 1.
Final Draft of Descriptive Narrative Paper due by 11:59 pm in Dropbox.
Wed / 21 Sept / Read “Gender, Agency, and Sexual Decision Making in Collegiate Hookups” pp. 155-170.
Week 5 / 23Sept / “The Basics of Female Orgasm” (handout) and “Faking It” pp. 412-421.
Mon / 26 Sept / Heterosexualities. Read pp. 236-239 + respond to one of the discussion questions on p. 237; pp. 267-276.
Fri / 28 Sept
30 Sept /

Read “Critique of Compulsory Heterosexuality” pp. 240-252; TSIS “Chapter Three: “As He Himself Puts It” pp.42-51 +question #1.

LGBT Identities. pp. 277-280 + answer one question on page 278; “Lesbian Identities” pp. 281-294.

Sat 1 OctSummary Paper: 1st Draft due to your peer editing group and
Prof Hellwarth

Week 6

Week 7
Week 8
Wed / 3 Oct
5 Oct
7 Oct
10 Oct
12 Oct
14 Oct
17 Oct
19 Oct / Peer Editing in class—come to class with drafts and having read your peers’ papers.
Evaluating Websites--Library Trip
Summary Paper: Final Draft Due by 11:59 pm
Read “Transgender Youth” pp. 295-305.
Fall Break—No Class
Read “The Gay-Friendly Closet” pp.305-326; pp.326-332; TSIS “Chapter Seven: So What? Who Cares?” pp. 92-101 + #2 exercise on p.101.
Read She’s Not There, Parts 1 & 2
Visit from Peterson Toscano
Read She’s Not There, Parts 3& 4.
Fri / 21 Oct / Read “The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough” Anne Fausto-Sterling, pp. 39-44 (handout).

Sat 22 Oct Evaluating Websites Paper due in Dropbox by 11:59pm.

Week 9
Mon / 24Oct /

Read “Creating Good-Looking Genitals” Suzanne Kessler, pp.64-70 (handout).

Wed / 26 Oct /

Summary Speeches

Fri / 28 Oct / Summary Speeches
Mon / 31 Oct / Summary Speeches
Wed / 2 Nov / Pornography. Read pp. 525-529 + answer one of the discussion questions on p. 526.
Fri / 4 Nov / Read “Pornography and Media” pp. 530-541.
Mon / 7 Nov / Library Trip: Final Paper Topics/Research Primer for FinalPaper
Wed / 9 Nov / Read “Pornography, Women, and Feminism” pp. 452-55; pp. 567-570.
Fri / 11 Nov / Sexual Violence. Read pp. 571-574; “Rape, Racism, and the Myth of the Black Racist” pp. 575-586.

Week 12

Mon 14 NovRead “Male Sexual Victimization” pp. 587-605.

Wed 16 NovRead “Involving Men in Efforts to End Violence Against Women”

pp. 606-620; pp. 620-628.

Fri 18 Nov Writing Workshop: preparing for your final paper

Week 13

Mon / 21 Nov / Peer Editing Workshop; bring drafts for peer editing group
Wed / 23 Nov / No Class: Thanksgiving Break
Fri / 25 Nov / No Class: Thanksgiving Break

Week 14

Mon 28 Nov No Class: Individual Meetings with Instructor

Wed 30 Nov No Class: Individual Meetings with Instructor

Fri 1 Dec TBD—what’s needed

Week 15

Mon / 5 Dec / Final Speeches; FreshmanRegistration Begins
Wed / 7 Dec / Final Speeches
Fri / 9 Dec / Final Speeches

Week 16

Mon / 13Dec / Last Day of Class. Final Speeches; Reflection Essay, Self and Group Evaluation: Due in class.

Criteria for Grading Class Contributions:

A participation is marked by its active nature, its consistency, and its quality. An A participant doesn't wait to respond to questions that the professor poses but initiates discussion by coming prepared with questions, ideas, observations about the reading assigned that day. This participant will also be consistently engaged in class discussion, always letting us know that she/he has engaged the reading thoroughly and thoughtfully. Finally an A participant will not try to substitute quantityof participation for quality (being consistent is not the same thing as dominating a discussion). To earn the highest grade for your participation, you will want to make it possible for others to participate productively too (this is not a competition); thus, habits such as interrupting others and taking up too much conversational space will not enhance your grade. It will also do you no good to participate if you haven't done the reading. I expect participation to be firmly grounded in careful and thoughtful reading. As the A reader reads, she or he prepares to participate in a class discussion with other readers.

A B discussant is less consistent than an A in initiating discussion but is active in responding to questions or problems posed by the teachers and other students. To get a B in participation, you will need to be in class and talk regularly--more, certainly, than once a week or so. Regular means regular. This level of class participation will also communicate clearly to me that you have doneall the reading for the day and that you have done it thoughtfully. This level will also include productive discussion habits, such as engaging the ideas of others, not dominating, listening carefully, etc.

A C grade for participation means that you have contributed in an average way to the discussion. Your contributions have been less frequent than those of the B participant or have let me know that you are not always keeping up with the reading or have, in some way, interfered with good discussion. In short, you have not been silent or absent or altogether uninvolved, but your involvement did not work consistently to make the class a productive learning experience.

A D grade means that you were there physically most of the time and maybe even piped up three or four times during the semester but that's it. It's just the grade it should be--a minimal passing grade.

An F grade should need no explanation. I do give “F” participation grades when warranted.

Essay-grading criteria:

An essay in the A range is founded on an original, logical and coherently organized set of ideas; it makes a clearly discernible and persuasive argument (even if the reader disagrees with its argument); its thinking is, at each turn, absolutely clearly articulated: words carry thought, they don't obscure it; its sentences use only the words their ideas require, not any more; its paragraphs have distinct though related roles in the essay's larger argument, each holding one thoroughly asserted idea (not two competing ideas, not one idea half-asserted); if appropriate it accurately and thoughtfully uses other sources; and its sentences are without the grammatical, spelling or typographical mistakes that exacting proofreading would catch. (All of this takes a lot of work. If it is all very nearly accomplished, the essay usually earns an A-.)

An essay in the B range: a very good paper, founded on solid, persuasive thinking, the writing of which is clearly and effectively executed. What usually prevents an "A" is a lack of originality, thorough thinking or careful proofreading. If two of these virtues are absent, the essay will usually earn a B-.