summer, the Division of Communication will be offering a new online course
focused specifically on primetime television;’s portrayal of gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender individuals.
are various periods that television and film have gone through,” said Assistant
Professor of Public Relations Andrew Stoner, who will be teaching the course.
“Essentially, we’re going to look at a historical perspective on some of the
earliest portrayals of gays while also contrasting them with current
representations.” Ultimately, the class will critically analyze the level or
type of influence television has on societal issues and specific issues related
to being gay in America.
to Stoner, the course will be particularly beneficial to students as its
subject matter is relevant in today’s society.
said, “We haven’t resolved all the issues with race and gender, but we still
have a long way to go in regards to sexuality and sexual orientation, so it is
a civil rights issue that is ever before us.”
Stoner said that as this course will not focus only on entertainment genres of
television. He said there are multiple connections to be made to existing areas
think it would appeal to people across a variety of spectrums, not just those
focused on mass media,” said Stoner. “I think this class can open up
perspective and gives students examples and ideas about how to critically
analyze the things they see and also understand history.”
series such as “Will & Grace”, “Ellen!” and “Bewitched” are just three of
many recognizable programs that students will examine throughout the course.
Rhonda Sprague, who is both the associate dean and head of the Division of
Communication, made clear that she is in strong support of this addition to the
said, “I love the idea, it’s a very under-studied area, and it is very timely.
I think it’s the kind of course that can draw a wide audience from the campus
community while also reaching out to a larger population.”
Schneider, who serves as the advisor for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens
Point’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance, shares Sprague’s enthusiasm.
really happy to see that class come up on the time table. Oftentimes, I think
gender and sexuality is something that is ignored in the curriculum, so to have
a whole class based around something as contemporary as LGBT characters in
television is awesome. I’m glad that the comm department is that forward-enough
thinking to include a class like this in their curriculum,” Schneider said.