Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
english masthead
english masthead
Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2007

E 314J • Difficult Dialogues: Religion and Sexuality

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34900 T
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
wel 2.312

Course Description

Restricted to freshmen who have completed at least 12 semester hours of coursework in residence at UT and to sophomores; others may register for this course with consent of instructor.

As one of four Difficult Dialogues Forum Seminars sponsored by UT's Connexus program and a grant from the Ford Foundation, this seminar seeks to explore the tensions and conflicts between sexuality and religion in contemporary public life. How do these two dimensions of experience and identity, often cast as deeply personal matters of choice and/or belief, play themselves out in public? One goal of the course is for students to learn to discuss these issues with respect for differences in religious beliefs and sexual identities.

We will explore these general issues through attention to particular controversies and case studies. The course content will draw significantly from the input of a group of eight participating faculty from across the campus, who will develop topics and readings based on their areas of expertise. These might include: abortion and reproductive rights; homosexuality, gay marriage, and the church, including African American churches in the US and Orthodox Judaism; the controversy over the lesbian representations in the film Fire from Hindu nationalists in India; the Virgin of Guadalupe as national symbol and as reinterpreted by feminist visual artists and writers such as Sandra Cisneros, Gloria Anzaldua, Alma Lopez, Yolanda Lopez, and Ester Hernandez; the veil and women's sexuality in Muslim cultures; the use of performance and theater, such as the work of Anna Deavere Smith, to foster public debate and dialogue.

Grading Policy

Short writing assignments -- 35%
(Short 1-page position papers, Blackboard posts, journals)
Final Project -- 35%
(Proposal, group presentation, 5-page paper)
Attendance and Class Participation --30%


Legal cases on academic freedom
Fire, dir Deepa Mehta
Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek
Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/ La Frontera
Anna Deavere Smith, Fires in the Mirror
Ann Pellegrini and Janet Jakobsen, Love the Sin


bottom border