A Short Course on Bisexuality

Pedagogical Rationale

I have chosen to develop a two week mini-course focused on bisexuality. My own experiences with queer-centric classes have often not devoted a significant amount of time to bisexuality. There is not a comparable amount of academic study or even less formal serious discussion of bisexuality compared to gay, lesbian, or transgender studies.

The study of bisexuality is significant and beneficial to a wide range of audiences. But in producing this mini-course I have attempted to choose texts and create secondary materials that will benefit students beginning their undergraduate careers (ideally freshman and sophomores). The course may be of particular interests to bisexually identified students but there is no expectation of any specific sexual identity in producing this course. The mini-course similarly does not assume previous study in sexuality or queer theory, yet I believe the focus on bisexuality in particular would make this an attractive option to students whom have taken introduction classes in those fields wishing to learn more about bisexuality.

This topic should be of interest to students since it will allow them to learn more about an identity experienced by a large number of people. Furthermore I think this would be especially timely for entering college students especially as a time in which people are still unraveling their identities, and possibly meeting out bisexuals for the first time. Outside of a classroom setting this may be a useful course for a student gay straight alliance or a program similar to Stanford CASA, since even within the queer community bisexuality is often not afforded significant time.

There are several learning goals for students in this 2 week mini-course. The first is simply looking critically at the bisexual identity and particular issues facing the bisexual community. There will also be attention on the historical construction of bisexuality and an attempt to link some of the different historical views into a sort of bisexual genealogy. Finally students will learn the overarching premise of various foundations of queer theory and the intersections of queer theory and bisexuality. These frameworks will allow students to examine the courses primary works.

The texts described in the course sequence were chosen in support of the goals for the course listed above. I tried to find articles that presented queer theory’s relationship to bisexuality in a way that would be accessible to students. I especially like ‘Playing with Butler and Foucault…’ for providing an introduction to the queer works and gently working in bisexuality. Orlando by Virginia Woolf was included to both allow discussion of Woolf’s personal background and as an interesting treatment of sexuality. Imagine me and You was chosen as a modern representation of bisexuality in film.

In creating the materials included in the mini-course I aimed to provide handouts that would help students to provoke student engagement with the materials. The bisexual stereotyping activity was chosen to make students examine the ways in which bisexuality is currently being discussed; I thought it would be a helpful springboard for thinking more critically about bi portrayals. Similarly the reading questions for Orlando and Imagine Me and You are not the only things worth discussing in the film, but rather they made for interesting points of focus that could be taken in several different directions.

Course Sequence

Day One:

What Lesbians Think about Bisexuals YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUozcqlhX3w

What Gay Men Think about Bisexuals YouTube- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUXzNowXVwo

The Bizarre World of the Bisexual YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-4w6NqfLAc

‘Queering Queer Theory, or Why Bisexuality Matters’

‘Playing with Butler and Foucault: Bisexuality and Queer Theory’

Day Two and Day Three:

Orlando

“Passionate Debates on “Odious Subjects”: Bisexuality and Woolf’s Opposition to Theories of Androgyny and Sexual Identity”

Optional:

Mrs. Dalloway

“The Sane Woman in the Attic: Sexuality and Self-Authorship in Mrs. Dalloway”

Day Four:

Imagine Me and You

Vice Versa Ch.18 Erotic Triangles

Ch. 20 The Bisexual Plot

Optional:

The Hours (film)

Additional Links: 

Imagine Me And You-

Trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98erlm_4GE8

Commentary :

http://reelqueer.tumblr.com/post/21675605828/imagine-me-and-you

http://www.btchflcks.com/2012/06/lgbtqi-week-everything-you-need-to-know-about-space-10-reasons-to-watch-and-love-imagine-me-you.html#.UqlgS_RUeSo

Comparison with Blue is the Warmest Color:

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2OLRrocn3s

Lesbians React to Sex Scenes : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIjJ_VtU9PA

Commentary:

http://jezebel.com/blue-is-the-warmest-color-and-the-lesbian-experience-1459688416

http://www.autostraddle.com/blue-is-the-warmest-color-the-male-gaze-reigns-supreme-203158/

The Hours Trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbc7jtmuOJM

 

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