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New class to offer LGBTA-focused reading material

While many Ohio University students struggle to add variety to their schedules, the School of Theater is offering a new spin on the traditional theater course.

Starting this quarter, students will have the chance to take Queer Acts: Performance and Sexuality in Contemporary U.S. Culture.

The course was described in the LGBTA Center’s weekly email newsletter as a course “designed to introduce students to a range of performances by and about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and otherwise queer–identified people, and to familiarize students with a selection of foundational queer theory texts.”

Mickey Hart, director of the LGBTA Center, said he included it in the newsletter because he is excited about the class and its subject matter.

“I am excited anytime there is a course offered that focuses on the lives and realities of LGBT people,” Hart said. “This course sounds very interesting.”

Angela Ahlgren, a visiting assistant professor of theater history and criticism in the School of Theater, will teach the course. Ahlgren said she created the course because she was interested in differences and identities through the lens of performance.

“I think that often we think of theater and theater people as wildly liberal and permissive,” Ahlgren said. “But the majority of the plays I teach in theater history are very conservative and most of what we perform onstage upholds societal norms or excludes and derides the experiences of women, queer people, and people of color, just to start.”

The lack of LGBT–focused literature and classes is also an issue that Hart said he is concerned about.

“There are only a handful of LGBT specific courses. Students can actually make quite a concentration of queer–related courses here at Ohio University, but it does take some planning and searching,” Hart said.

Because the class is part of the graduate theater curriculum, students will be expected to complete all the aspects of a normal graduate theater course including weekly reading responses, performance analysis papers and a final research project.

“I think it will ultimately benefit artists to think beyond the male  –female couple as the center of all storytelling,” Ahlgren said. “Do we really want to keep telling the same stories, seeing the same stage pictures? What if we told love stories where marriage was not the ultimate goal? There are so many more possibilities out there, and I want my students to find them.”


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