Brooklyn College became the first CUNY school to offer undergraduates a minor in LGBTQ Studies when college faculty approved the proposal in December.
“Students have been clamoring for a queer studies program for a long time,” said Paisley Currah, a political science professor who led the committee working on the program. “We’ve always had sexuality-related courses in a few different departments, but until now there was no overarching program pulling it all together into a cohesive whole.”
An influx of new faculty whose training and research focuses on sexuality and LGBTQ populations, combined with student demand, generated the energy momentum to create the program. For the past year, Currah, along with Gaston Alonso, Mobina Hashmi, Flavia Rando, María R. Scharrón-del Río, Jeanne Theoharis, Barbara Winslow and about 20 other faculty members, adjunct instructors, and students worked to create a minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies.
Jeanne Theoharis, a political science professor and Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies, called the minor “a long overdue institutionalization of what scholars and students have known for decades: to understand American and global history, U.S. and world politics, art, literature, and culture, a critical understanding of sexuality—and the experiences of LGBTQ people more specifically—is crucial.”“I am proud to be part of an academic community that understands the importance of telling all stories,” said Hana Quinn-Feit, President of the student-run LGBT Alliance.
The 12-credit interdisciplinary minor will be offered as part of the Women’s Studies Program. Students will be required to complete the new anchor course, “Fundamental Concepts in LGBTQ Studies,” and will choose three other courses from a roster that includes offerings cross-listed with Africana Studies, Anthropology, Classics, Education, English, Health and Nutrition Science, History, Political Science, and Television and Radio.
In addition to five courses in sexuality studies already offered at Brooklyn College, six new courses for the minor have already been added to the curriculum, and several more are under development this year. Students will also have an opportunity to complete a community internship in LGBTQ institutions for credit toward the minor. More information about the program is available at http://sites.google.com/site/ lgbtqstudiesbrooklyn.
Jesse Bayker is a History major at Brooklyn College. As part of his work for the LGBTQ Studies minor, he will be interning at the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in the spring.