PRLS 3251: Latinos: Sexuality and Gender
Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-4:45 PM
Storrs 002

Instructor:  Jorge A.Castillo
Office: El Instituto, Ryan Building 244
Office Hours:  Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:00 PM & by apt.
Skype: jorge.castillo.uconn

Course Description
This course is intended to: 1) use the lens of sexuality and gender as a way to expand our understanding of Latina/os; and 2) use the experiences of Latina/os as a way to expand our understanding of gender and sexuality.  The sexualities of Latina/os in the United States will be discussed critically and with particular attention to issues of gender, race/racialization, ethnicity/ country of origin, socioeconomic and political status, migration, global exchanges, and sexual health. While the main focus is U.S. Latina/os and their sexualities, the class will also draw from the experience of other groups in the United States and people in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Required Texts
You must always bring texts to class the day they are being discussed. Remember you can always use our library’s ILL program to borrow the texts or if you prefer to purchase digital versions of the texts, when available, feel free to do so.

  1. Asencio, Marysol, ed. Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2010.
  2. Cruz-Malavé, Arnaldo. Queer Latino Testimonio, Keith Haring, and Juanito Xtravaganza: Hard Tails. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  3. Santos-Febres, Mayra. Sirena Selena. New York: Picador, 2001.

    All other readings will be available as PDF files (hyperlinked) on our course blog.

Course Objectives

  1. To recognize the relevance of gender and sexuality in understanding the Latina/o population.
  2. To explore Latina/o populations’ social construction of gender and sexuality.
  3. To examine selected social variables (e.g., race, migration, political and socioeconomic status, religion, and the family) that influence gender and sexuality.
  4. To critically evaluate Latina/o “cultural” constructs (and stereotypes) related to sexuality and gender.
  5. To understand major social and health issues involving sexuality and gender among the Latina/o populations.
  6. To learn how to evaluate and analyze the research literature on sexuality and gender among Latina/o, Caribbean and Latin American populations.

Course Evaluation

Participation         20%
Blog posts           10%
Blog comments   10%
Lead discussion  20%
Term Project        30%
Midterm &            10%
Final Self Evaluation

Attendance and active participation in class discussions are essential to this course. Only properly documented and university excused absences will be accepted. If you miss class, you are responsible for getting notes from a classmate and keeping up with assigned readings. You will be counted absent if you are significantly late to class, do not have the assigned reading, or are not on task (e.g., texting, checking Facebook or email on laptops).

Attendance alone will not ensure you get full credit for participation. You must actively engage in our class discussions. Sometimes we may discuss sensitive topics, and while you may not always agree with the views presented in the material or the ideas expressed by our fellow classmates, we must always remain civil and respectful of each other. Derogatory remarks of any nature will not be tolerated. See this course as an opportunity to challenge yourself by bringing your personal experiences and interests while thinking critically about a variety of issues.

If at any point, I feel that not enough students are doing the assigned readings, we will start having random readings quizzes to encourage everyone to come prepared to class.

Blog Contributions
Throughout the semester, we will continue discussing Latinas/os’ sexualities and genders outside of class through the use of a course blog. Your blog posts should critically reflect on the assigned readings, in-class discussions, additional research you are doing, as well as personal insights you might be comfortable sharing that relate to the issues being discussed.

  • Your blog posts need to be the rough equivalent of two, well-developed paragraphs, and they should demonstrate how you are critically engaging the assigned texts. When referencing a particular text, you should quote and cite that text appropriately using MLA style. If you are referring to a source available online, make sure to hyperlink said source so anyone interested can access it. You should also use your posts to develop questions you would like to address in class. As the blog develops, you may also want to refer back to previous posts: your own or your classmates’. Perhaps you answered your own questions and inquiries or perhaps you’ve changed your mind about something. Please do not summarize any readings or texts, unless you are discussing an additional text not assigned (and do so very briefly if needed). You will write a minimum of 10 posts due before class on Tuesdays.
  • Your blog comments should directly engage with the content of your colleagues’ posts. These can be short and informal, at least 5 sentences, but should demonstrate that you have given some thought to what they posted and are furthering the discussion along. You will write at least 20 comments during the semester due before class on Thursdays.

You should not wait to start writing posts and commenting as I will “close” sections of the blog as we move forward in our discussions. Remember this should be a tool to help you engage with the readings and assist you to actively participate. You can always comment on your classmates’ posts or answer any comments made to your posts at a later time.

It is your responsibility alone to ensure that your full name is identifiable with your posts/comments (not a username), and that your posts/comments are saved and published appropriately. Please keep an electronic document with all your posts/comments (including date/time stamp). You will submit this along with your midterm and final self-evaluation as evidence of your blog contributions. However, if a post/comment is not on the blog, it will not be counted. Make sure that your posts/comments follow proper English grammar rules (spelling, capitalization, punctuation). Even though we are blogging our reflections, do not write the way you speak or text.

Lead discussions
Students will lead a class discussions based on the assigned text, film, author or topic. Presentations must include an audiovisual component, a digital handout (in the form of a post), and a bibliography. All information should be incorporated into our course blog prior to the presentation, categorized and with appropriate tags. Please make sure to properly cite where needed. Your grade will be based on: content knowledge, organization, visuals, creativity, mechanics, and delivery.

Term Project
Students will investigate a topic/area related to gender and/or sexualities among Latina/os, Caribbean, or Latin Americans and prepare a video project that will not just analyze, but complicate and rectify our knowledge of Latinas’ and Latinos’ sexualities and genders. The topic can be broad or focused depending on how much literature there is on the topic.

For example, a broad topic may be Latino Masculinity and Health, which encompasses all health issues. A more focused topic may be on Latino gay men and HIV. Another example may be Latina/o adolescents and sexuality (broad) or Latina adolescents’ sexual communication with partners (focused). Or Latina/o, Gender, and Reggatone (Hip Hop or Salsa) (focused) or Latina/os, Gender, and Music (broad) etc… Again, it depends on how much focused literature there is on your particular topic. In some cases, there may be nothing available on the topic and you need to broaden it to get sufficient articles. There may be a great deal written on your topic and you may want to focus it to address a particular issue. You need to be able to find at least 10 academic resources related to the topic to incorporate into the video and for the a short 3-5 page analytical rational explaining your project.

While you will be expected to conduct as much research as you would for a traditional research paper, your term project should have in mind a larger audience beyond the confines of our classroom (and your instructor). With this in mind, you must produce a finished digital video (minimum of 5 minutes long). You will present your video during finals week and will be available to others outside our class through out course blog (and on YouTube). You must use copyright free or sources that are shared under creative commons if you are not the creative owner. Some exceptions could apply if you explicitly state that your video was created for educational purposes.

Midterm & Final Self-Evaluations
Even though I ultimately will be assessing your overall final grade, you will also be responsible for evaluating your own work and contribution to class. You will submit a 1-2 page typed, double spaced, 1” margins, midterm and final self-evaluation reflecting on your performance in class. Being cognizant of your own progress and contribution will play a big role in how I assign grades, specially your Participation grade. I will give as much feedback as possible in your midterm self-evaluation in hopes that you will improve anything that needs improvement. My intention is for you to focus on your learning and performance while achieving the course objectives. You will include a copy of your posts/comments.