UT Course Descriptions

HDF 378K:  Sexuality in Human Development and Families

FALL 2016

Professor:                          Stephen T. Russell

Email:                                  stephen.russell@utexas.edu


Course Description:

This course is designed to provide an introduction to contemporary understandings of sexuality in the context of human development and families. The course is organized around major topics in the field of sexuality studies. This is not primarily a lecture course: we will focus on contemporary research and debates in human sexuality, and strive for applied learning, critical reflection and synthesis, and discussion. The course is not “taken” or given” but will be an experience that we create together. Thus, class attendance and participation is required.

The primary course reading and classroom discussion materials will be original research articles. Through these readings we will explore contemporary research questions while:

  • Understanding and applying relevant theories for the study of human sexuality,
  • Understanding and interpreting research methods for the study of human sexuality,
  • Understanding and applying public policy (and policy debates) to human sexuality, and
  • Understanding and analyzing public debates and controversies regarding human sexuality and related research.

For reasons that we will discuss, sexuality has been a topic characterized by controversy, shame, sensation, and thus, misinformation and myth. The result has been cultural divisions for what is “normal” sexuality, thus defining everything outside of that as “abnormal” (notably there have been shifts across history in what is deemed “normal”). Thus in this class we will examine the boundaries or edges of sexuality in human development and in families / relationships; these are the places where we might learn most about how sexuality is managed socially, and experienced personally.