This graduate level course will provide an in-depth analysis of gender and sexuality policy in the United States. We will focus on the role that criminalization plays in this area, examining topics such abortion and regulation of intimate partner behavior, including sodomy. Practical application on how policy is made will be intertwined throughout the course and we will use case studies to examine why certain policy efforts, such as marriage equality was successful, while the Equal Rights Amendment failed. Focus will also include the impact that the current political climate is having on women, LGBTQ and gender nonconforming individuals and an effort will be made to weave in current events, as well as pop culture throughout our learning. Finally, we will study the impact existent and nonexistent policy protections have on people of color, the economically disadvantaged, immigrants, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. Incorporated into our analysis will be readings from queer liberation scholars and feminist theorists to help us evaluate the pros and cons of existing policy gains. The course will explore what full equality might look like in the United States with an examination of what can and cannot be achieved through policy advancements.
Upon completion of Gender & Sexuality in U.S. Policy Formation, students should be able to:
1. Understand the evolution of gender and sexuality policy in the United States;
2. Think analytically and strategically about policy formation and opportunities for pragmatic and transformational change;
3. Articulate how social justice policy is created, including the individual, contextual, and environmental factors that influence policy shifts;
4. Be a step closer to becoming reflective practitioners, i.e. professionals endowed with a sophisticated grasp of the art, science, opportunities, limits of crafting public policy.