A course on gay marriage will be offered by the Women and Gender studies department next semester at Seton Hall University.
W. King Mott, an associate professor of political science and a member of the Women and Gender Studies program, will teach the course.
The class is not an advocacy course, according to Mott. Rather, it teaches the issue of gay marriage from an academic perspective.
“It is one thing to say ‘I am for or against gay marriage,'” Mott said. “It’s another to actually understand the issue.”
The course will teach various cultural perspectives of marriage, such as Eurocentric and Asian views, Mott said.
The course will also include an analysis of the contemporary political situation regarding gay marriage, such as Proposition 8 in California. Additionally, it will include a look at which states allow and prohibit gay marriage and what that means, Mott said.
Finally, students taking the course will write an analysis on gay marriage from a perspective they choose after they have been educated on the issue.
The course is available to upper level students of any major.
Mott said he hopes his students will have the ability to form an educated opinion after taking the class, regardless if it is for or against the issue.
“I hope my students gain an appreciation and respect for disinterested analysis that can be used to formulate an informed opinion,” Mott said.
Junior Gesina Phillips, an English major, is one of the students taking the class next semester.
“I hope to gain new insights into the issue, as well as a great deal of more knowledge about the politics surrounding the gay marriage debate,” Phillips said in an e-mail interview.
Phillips said she decided to take the class because she is interested in the topic of gay marriage. She is also an avid LGBT-rights supporter.
Junior Anthony Angelella, a secondary education and mathematics major, said he was shocked to find out a class on gay marriage will be offered at Seton Hall.
“I was surprised to see the class offered, but I’m excited to see what can come from it,” Angelella said in an email interview. “I think that, as a Catholic myself, the class being offered just shows that a Catholic campus doesn’t have to be so cut and dry about controversial issues.”
Mott, however, does not think it is unusual for a Catholic university to offer a class such as this one.
“The best schools offer controversial classes,” Mott said. “The class is not about advocacy, but about studying the issue from an academic perspective. It’s about awareness.”
Mott said he did his own research for the class, and he also writes and publishes on queer theory.
Queer theory is the “academic study of anything from an outsider’s point of view,” Mott said.
It is not just about homosexuals, but can involve anything from civil rights to women’s rights.
This is not the first time a class has been offered at Seton Hall incorporating aspects of queer theory.
Mott has also taught classes on political movements of the 20th century, which includes LGBT movements and women’s movements.
However, this is the first time a class exclusively considered “queer” has been offered on campus, Mott said.
Depending on student responses the class may be offered in future semesters.
Regardless, students are excited that this class is being offered.
“I think it’s fabulous that this course is being offered at Seton Hall,” Phillips said.
Angelella agreed when he said he felt it was important to offer courses like this one.
Jessica Sutcliffe can be reached at email@example.com.