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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2010

E 370W • Advanced Difficult Dialogues: Religion and Sexuality-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34960 TTh
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
PAR 303

Course Description

This course is an advanced (upper-division) version of the "Difficult Dialogues" courses that have been created to help promote open scholarly inquiry, academic freedom, and respect for different cultures and beliefs on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. The development of this course has been partially funded through a grant from the Ford Foundation to the University of Texas at Austin. This course 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, including sexuality and sexual education, women, gender, and sexuality within different religious cultures and traditions, abortion and reproductive rights, and homosexuality and gay marriage within the Christian church, especially in the U.S. Also central to the course will be discussion of academic freedom and the development of skills for facilitating dialogue.

Grading Policy

35%: 5 short papers on personal narrative; interview; outside research; academic freedom; open topic; 35%: final group presentation and paper; 30%: weekly discussion questions and regular participation


Readings will include selections from the following: 1915 Declaration of Principles of Academic Freedom and other statements on academic freedom Ann Pellegrini and Janet Jakobsen, Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance Jonathan Hinnells, ed. The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion Faye Ginsburg, Contested Lives: The Abortion Debates in an American Community Kristin Luker, When Sex Goes to School: Warring Views on Sex - and Sex Education – Since the Sixties Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject Films: After Stonewall; The Education of Shelby Knox; For the Bible Tells Me So; Jihad for Love; Silent Waters


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