New June course – Sexual and Gender Diversity – Julia Hemphill with Greta Christina

Sociologist Julia Hemphill, joined by Greta Christina, is offering a session about “Sexual and Gender Diversity” during the month of June.

Description: “Gender”, and what it means to be feminine or masculine, is in many respects a cultural creation that has taken on an entrenched “sacred” quality. The socially constructed aspects of gender and gender performance has come to be seen as biologically given, “natural”, and therefore “right”. When these ideas are challenged, either through the expression of LGBTQ identities, or in the form of explicit resistance and activism, the dominant Christian culture takes a morally charged, and culturally powerful stance against these communities. These definitions of reality are so deeply entrenched in American culture that they come to shape even the most critical and progressive individuals’ perceptions of normality. What’s more, it’s a problem endemic in secular and atheist communities, which if not directly problematized, will continue to shape perceptions of gender and sexuality within the atheist community.

start/end dates – June 1 / June 30, 2014

Schedule and readings: Discussions will be guided by our posts and online readings and videos. Everything to be read and discussed is provided at no extra charge inside the virtual classroom. Students can proceed at their own pace and there are no video presentations that could be missed. Visit the class anytime to contribute your thoughts and receive our replies in discussion forums. There is nothing “live” you can miss – log in and participate anytime day or night, 24/7, throughout the month. Ask Julia Hemphill about this course by writing to her at GENERAL INFORMATION: Online classrooms and their discussion threads are accessible 24/7, so you can participate at any hour of the day when there’s some time in your busy schedule. Instructors will not be on live video and you won’t be either – there is nothing happening on camera and no particular time of day you have to be present. If an instructor posts a pre-recorded video, you can view it at your convenience. There’s nothing ‘live’ to be missed, and course instructor respond individually and promptly to all questions and comments. Instructors lead everyone through lectures and readings, but no attendance is taken and there are no assignments to complete – instructors are always available when you are ready to engage them about what is on your mind.

Julia Hemphill
Julia Hemphill is a PhD candidate in the Sociology Department at York University, Toronto. She is freelance researcher and a college professor. She has taught a variety of courses at Humber College in Toronto, including classes on ‘The Family’, ‘Feminisms’, ‘Popular Culture’, and ‘The Body’. Julia’s current research area is the sociology of food. She is examining food networks and food security in rural Ontario, identifying the barriers that farmers encounter in selling their products to local consumers. She is also currently writing in the area of humor and social norms, analyzing how humor can be used to both challenge, but also sometimes reinforce problematic messages about gender and ‘race’.

Greta Christina
Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is author of Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and of Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More, and is editor of Paying For It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients. She has been a public speaker for many years, and is on the speaker’s bureaus of the Secular Student Alliance. Her writing has appeared in multiple magazines and newspapers, including Ms., Penthouse, Chicago Sun-Times, On Our Backs, and Skeptical Inquirer, and numerous anthologies, including “Everything You Know About God Is Wrong” and three volumes of “Best American Erotica.” She is co-founder and co-organizer of the Godless Perverts, a performance series and social community that promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion. She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Ingrid.