Returning Expository Writing class to take a new look at gender norms
Heather Brown, The Oklahoma Daily
AT A GLANCE:
Monday and Wednesday
1:30 to 2:45 p.m.
Monday and Wednesday
3 to 4:15 p.m.
Next semester Sooners will have the chance to take a new look at gender and its implications in a refurbished class in the Expository Writing Program.
Transcending Gender, taught by expository writing professor Eric Bosse, will teach students about gender and how it relates to society. The class will feature a particular interest on how transgender individuals fit into society, although the main goal of the class is to teach academic writing, Bosse said.
Bosse first taught the class during the fall 2010 semester and continued to teach it through the fall 2011 semester. He then dropped the class for the spring 2012 semester to make room for another expository writing class, The Writing Life, and hasn’t taught the gender course since.
After recognizing that Transcending Gender is the class he is most compelled to teach, Bosse is bringing back the class for the spring 2013 semester, this time adding a second section.
“I realized that of the three courses I teach, the Transcending Gender course was the one that spoke to me, the one calling me,” he said.
While the course will have some similar elements from the previous courses, the focus has changed. Instead of concentrating primarily on transgender, Bosse said he is going to open the class up to gender in general so students will have a better vocabulary to discuss transgender later on.
“Society sort of can’t handle transgender,” he said. “We have a very regulated system of gender as either A or B. If you’re neither, if you’re crossing over from one to the other, the world doesn’t know how to handle it.”
Bosse’s course satisfies part of the general education English composition curriculum, according to oZONE, but at least one student was attracted to the course for another reason.
“This class is also interesting to me because, although I feel very strongly about the rights of LGBTQ people, I have no experience with and hardly know anything about transgendered individuals and I want to be pushed out of my comfort zone as far as learning new things,” said Ali Baker, a university college freshman enrolled in the class.
Bosse has been interested in gender for a large part of his life. The fascination really began when he was about 12 and saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” for the first time, which introduced him to cross-dressing. From there he became interested in a play by Harvey Fierstein, called the “Torch Song Trilogy,” which essentially followed a drag queen through various parts of his life.
The fascination stayed with Bosse all the way through college, and now it’s a topic he tries to study.
“A lot of professors sort of have this wish in the back of our heads that we could be students forever…," he said. "Right now, if I could go back to college and study anything … I would pick gender studies."
The class will be broken into the four sections, each one dealing with gender as reviewed under a different scope. While Bosse hasn’t finished his syllabus, he said he has a loose idea of how the course will be structured.
The first unit will deal with gender and privileges, focusing on how typically members of the privileged group are unaware they are privileged.
“[The unit] deals with all sorts of privileges that to you are invisible," Bosse said. "It’s just the way the world works, but to people who aren’t members of the group you belong to, those are, of course, privileges they don’t have access to."
The second unit will deal with social justice and how society regulates gender, with a focus on transgender. The third and fourth units haven’t yet been determined.
Issues of gender exist in all facets of society and often appear in other classes he teaches, Bosse said, so he is excited to teach a course that he feels really matters.
“I’m chomping at the bit. I can’t wait to get going,” he said.