Revamped course next semester… on sexuality and violence…

I was recently really pleased to receive an Affordable Learning Exchange grant to revamp my course ‘Sexuality and Violence.’ Here’s how it looks for next semester.


Sexuality Studies 5620:

Sexuality and Violence


Tuesday / Thursday 2.20pm – 3.40pm

Ohio State University

Spring 2019

ZoëBrigley Thompson


Figure 1: Change Mural by Krystal Roig-Palmer, fair use,

Course Overview

“It is unacceptable that one person feels he or she has the right to torment another because he or she does not like what the other stands for. Being a woman, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning, being mentally or physically disabled, … being a member of a minority or of different faith, ethnicity, body type or being a combination of any of these does not make a person less worthy of our care or protection.”

– Archie Panjabi in Bullying: Experiences and Discourses of Sexuality and Gender

This course considers the relationship between sexuality and violence. An act of violence is often a traumatic event whether it takes place in the context of war, bullying, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, sexual trafficking or anti-LGBTQ violence. On this course, however, we will be asking how myths about sexuality might contribute to acts of violence, whether personal, cultural, or institutional?

Case studies will play a significant role in this course. For example, what are the problems and possibilities of the #metoo movement? What have we learned in the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings? How do American institutions respond to cases of domestic violence like that of footballer Ray Rice? Why is there a need for charities like It Gets Better, which supports LGBTQ youth who are subject to bullying and consequent self-harm? What cultural myths contribute to alarming rates of violence against trans people? Why has the response to Anita Sarkeesian, critic of violence in computer games, been to vilify and abuse her online? What is the current state of the debates around reproductive rights in the United States?

After running for a number of years, this course has been redesigned thanks to an Affordable Learning Grant. Instead of a regular textbook, we will use cutting edge journal articles, podcasts by local experts, and creative responses.

This year, and in light on the National Women’s studies Association conference theme on ‘The Radical Politics of Futures,’ the class will also bring a greater focus on possibilities for anti-violence advocacy, thinking both in practical terms of what can be done in our immediate communities, and also by imagining future possibilities beyond acts of violence that we currently see.

This class is open to both undergraduates and graduate students. Graduates can choose to write a research essay, or to work on a substantial creative writing project. Undergraduates are assessed through reflective writing, nonfiction essays, and writing up public service projects.