Course Spotlight: WGS 335

 20th Century United States Lesbian and Gay History 

AMS f370/HIS f365G/WGS f335, 80865/84260/87495

Winyan Soo Hoo

Think you know everything there is to know about American history? Well, think again. Instead of registering for a large U.S. History survey course, you should check out “20th Century United States Lesbian and Gay History” which will be taught by Dr. Mollie Marchione (Mar-ki-o-nay) this summer.

So, what makes this course so different from other American history courses?

Dr. Marchione leads students through an American timeline of sorts, examining LGBT history throughout the decades of the 20th century. The class embraces social history – stories about ordinary people just like us – and how it fits into the bigger picture of major historical events. For instance, did you know that the terms homosexuality and heterosexuality, which many of us now take for granted when we distinguish and identify ourselves, are 20th-century creations?

This course also introduces students to classic gay and lesbian texts, not usually covered in other history courses, to pinpoint the social groups during various eras of American history. From the turn of the century through the World Wars to present day, students will examine what was happening to society in the shadow of war and nuclear threat as people retreated to home and hearth, and what that meant for the gay and lesbian community. Military service, urban migration, anti-homosexual movements in the government, and many more topics are addressed in class. Race and class within the lesbian and gay communities are also studied.

Trent Kelly Hidden in the Open photo essay

Students will undertake a self-reflective mini-ethnography, tracing early LGBT activity at UT in the 1970s and the current campus perceptions regarding the LGBTQ community. Ultimately, Dr. Marchione hopes that students will have a richer understanding of the world around them and examine present-day LGBTQ struggles with a new awareness.

“I think my students are enjoying it, as much as students can enjoy coming to class,” Dr. Marchione describes the class this semester. She notes that there has been an equal number of both males and females enrolled in her previous classes with different backgrounds but all having receptive minds.

In addition to a PhD in History, Dr. Marchione is the Associate Director for the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, where she also currently serves as the Graduate Adviser.


This course partially fulfills the legislative requirement for American history and carries both a Cultural Diversity in the U.S. and a Writing flag.


Summer 15 Snapshots

Islam in Southeastern Europe, The Writer Within, The Worlds of Hip-Hop

EUS s346/HIS s364G/REE s335 Islam in Southeastern Europe


During its 400 year reign, the vast and powerful nation known as the Ottoman Empire came to control much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. So, it should come as no surprise that its influence still remains in these areas today. Particularly in southeastern Europe, where the Ottomans ruled from the 14th through 20th centuries, influences of Islamic religion and culture are still apparent.

Mehmet Celik‘s course will explore and discuss how Islamic civilization made its way across southern Europe under Ottoman rule. This course will also look at the changing relationship between Christians, Muslims, and Jews, while looking at the area as a site of “multiple spheres of contact.” Here, the cooperative efforts of the three faiths were as common as their conflicts. So whether you’re looking to get your global cultures flag taken care of, or you’re simply interested in learning about the interactions and influences of a powerful empire in this part of the world, consider registering for this thought-provoking course.

This course carries a Global Cultures flag.

J S s363/CRW s325, The Writer Within

Those who love writing: Rejoice! Those who want to learn more about writing: Rejoice!

Visiting Professor Ofir Gafla, author of bestseller and award-winning The World of the End, will be teaching students how to access their own “writer within.” Gafla, who is an established author on the Israeli literary scene, will divide the course into two parts: writing techniques and developing The Character.

The first part of the course will help students develop their inner writer, create a writing discipline, and access their personal voice. Students will have a variety of writing assignments and receive constructive feedback, while differentiating their writing amid literary noise. The second part involves creating a character, an imaginary human being, to write about for the rest of the semester. This will help students foster continuity, commitment, and perseverance in their writing endeavors.

From Breaking Bad’s Walter White to Raskolnikov, the course will touch upon facets of popular culture and different mediums such as music, cinema, TV, and film. If you didn’t think this class could get any better – there is no final exam!

This course carries a Writing Flag.

AFR f372E, The Worlds of Hip-Hop

This is Hip-Hop

Tupac. Notorious B.I.G. Lil Wayne. Drake. Jay-Z. Nicki Minaj. Rihanna. Sarkodie.

These names have one thing in common: all of these people are symbols and popular icons of the global arts movement of hip-hop.

Spend your summer learning about how hip-hop has transformed and shaped America over the last thirty years. From its origins as a local South Bronx cultural phenomena marked by rapping, b-boying, graffiti art, DJing, etc, hip-hop has blossomed into an arts force that includes dynamic political elements.

This course, taught by Dr. Minkah Makalani, aims to assess the impact of hip-hop in a political and social sphere around topics such as electoral politics, justice, youth movements, a post-racial world, and black death. Track the evolution of hip-hop from the United States to an international stage, especially in the Caribbean, Brazil, and Ghana.

As Notorious B.I.G. said: “If you don’t know, now you know.”

Summer 2015 Course Snapshots

MES s341/ GOV s365N: Contemporary Politics in the Middle East

MES 341

We are constantly bombarded with news of the Middle East every time we turn on the TV. From news of brutal ISIS atrocities to falling gas prices to the Arab Spring, this turbulent region undeniably impacts our daily life here in the United States. However, ask yourself this question: How much do you actually know about what is going on in the Middle East? Well enough to speak on how its culture and history has shaped the region to what it is today? Well enough to debate contemporary issues and discuss current politics with confidence? Find out more about this relevant topic with the perfect summer course to increase your knowledge and gain valuable insights.

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the most vital debates in modern Middle East politics. These debates involve colonial legacies, the role of state in politics, economic development, natural resources, Arab nationalism, Islam and identity, and civil-military relations. This class hits all of the hot-button issues that leave many intrigued. Not only will students be examining current issues, they will also be looking at the Middle East’s rich history, culture, and society on a broader context to develop skills in assessing, analyzing, and debating politics and current events.

This course carries a Global Cultures flag.

ANT s345C/URB s354: Urban Cultures

City Life

Photo, City Life, by eflon

New York, Paris, London, Shanghai. These are some of the great international cities, all profoundly impacted by new technologies, immigration, and shifting urban community lifestyles. But how did these great cities come into being? And, today, how do expressive culture, ethnic and racial conflict, and political and economic activities influence these major urban areas and others like them? Professor John Hartigan aims to help students better understand urbanism through a range of disciplinary perspectives in his course, “Urban Cultures.”

What is urbanism? Well, simply put, it can be described as the lifestyle of city-dwellers. This course will offer vivid, engaging depictions of particular dynamics related to city life. According to Professor Hartigan, in order to understand urbanism, it is also important to look at how people create meaningful lives in these places. This course sets out to be as interesting and dynamic as the cities it encounters through readings, lectures, and films, so join Professor Hartigan in a metropolitan mash up this summer!

This course carries a Cultural Diversity in the U.S. flag.

EUS f346/HIS f343W/WGS f345: Witches, Workers, and Wives: Gender and Family in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800

Women Working on Pillow Case by Giacomo Ceruti

Women Working on Pillow Case by Giacomo Ceruti

The stereotypical images of an early-modern woman is either a well-bred, upper-class woman with little to no financial worries or a witch that needs to be cast out from polite society. What were the real roles and lives of women during this time period?

We’ve all heard of the thousands of witch trials that took place during this time, but what did they have to do with the shaping of ideas involving gender, family, and power in early modern Europe? This was a period of religious reformations, European colonization, and rapid economic transformation.

Professor Julie Hardwick’s course “Witches, Workers, and Wives” plans to explore how women’s experiences as workers, criminals, political subjects, spouses, and parents compared to men’s in early modern Europe. Students will also try to understand why this led to a rapid increase in the number of “witches” during that time. Did men fear powerful women and condemn them for it? Learn more this summer in Professor Hardwick’s class!

This course carries a Global Cultures flag.

Spotlight: MAS 374

Course Spotlight: A Case of Conflicting Identities?

MAS f374, American Indian & Mexican American Literature and Film


American Indian, Mexican American, and African American are often terms we use to describe groups of people in a way that frames them as not entirely American, even if they, and generations before them, were born here. Imagine the confusion of your identity and culture. Where do you belong? Especially in Texas and neighboring areas, this is still an ongoing struggle for the descendants of people who were displaced by Spanish and Anglo colonization. These groups share a similar history full of conflict against greater powers, and how they live their lives today is still connected to their past.

This summer, Dr. James Cox will explore narratives about these experiences in his course, “American Indian and Mexican American Literature and Film.” He is an Associate Professor in the English department and an affiliate of the Center for Mexican American Studies. Growing up, he was exposed to Native American histories by his father, who often would share stories with him about American Indians, such as Geronimo. His fascination grew when he got to college where classes in Native American, Mexican American, and African American literature and culture grabbed his attention. Professor Cox eventually completed his Ph.D. degree in English with a focus on these ethnic American groups.


According to the professor, when reading the literature and watching the films (including La Mission) for this course, it is important for students to keep in mind that the authors and filmmakers are trying to tell alternative stories to the dominant ones that we have likely heard, and that these stories will be new and unfamiliar. They will challenge expectations and stereotypes, pushing back against pop culture representations of these groups and also humanizing them in order to show their struggles and their hopes for a better future. These representative pieces from both traditions work together to speak about similar concerns, such as immigration and what’s it’s like crossing cultural or ethnic borders, while also trying to tear down severe borders between groups of people that exist.

Professor Cox feels that it is important for people to understand the struggles that Mexican Americans and American Indians have gone through and continue to go through because we are all part of this history. Although these narratives matter differently to different groups of people, they do matter to everyone. The authors and filmmakers featured in the course explore what it means to live in a country that was created from a great amount of conflict, which still resonates today and influences how we understand where we live.

Students will hopefully leave the class with a better understanding of the way in which we all need communities and the importance for individuals in communities to have a strong sense of who their identity.

This class carries a Cultural Diversity in the US flag.