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ERIC Number: ED370117
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Constellation Prizes: Using Science Fiction for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues in College Classes.
Marchesani, Joseph J.
An English professor used science fiction to introduce his students to a range of questions about alternative sexualities. While a course proposal for a science fiction class being taught as a "diversity offering" with an emphasis on gender and sexual orientation was working its way through the bureaucracy at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, the professor used some of the same science fiction in his freshman composition course at the McKeesport campus. Reading and writing assignments progressed from topics that offered the students more common ground to topics that demanded more critical reassessment of their received beliefs. Assignments on the texts were designed to help students to hear the narrative voices that treated lesbian, gay, or bisexual characters as ordinary, even respectable, beings. The number of students who refused to stay in the classes was abnormally high. The average course rating was the lowest for any course taught by the professor. Written comments indicated that the focus in alternative sexuality in the assignments drove down course ratings. Many of the students had not reached an intellectual development that enabled them to reprocess their own belief structures or to construct alternative perspectives. Concentrating the entire syllabus on material with gay, lesbian and bisexual import may have worked against the intention to present these sexual minorities as ordinary, acceptable, human beings. Future offerings of the course will not focus exclusively on sexual minorities. One table of data is attached. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A