Augustana Observer

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Augustana Observer

Hilton-Morrow to release textbook

Wendy Hilton-Morrow has two faces: one as a dean at Augustana and the other an author. Her latest book, “Sexual Identities and the Media: An Introduction,” was sent to press.
The textbook, which is co-authored by Kathleen Battles, a professor at Oakland University in Michigan, is the first of its kind.
Hilton-Morrow said her and Battles found the textbooks they were using did not have an introduction to help students think about representations of LGBTQ people in the media.
Hilton-Morrow and Battles would end up assigning journal articles to students, which did not necessarily explain the theoretical perspectives within the article.
“So after just having the experience of having to help students understand why they might be critical of different things depending on what approach the authors were taking, we thought it would be really helpful to have a book that just lays all of that out there.”
The text book has nine chapters, which lay the groundwork of the history of LGBTQ people in the media, how these individuals have been represented in consumer culture and comedy, resistant practices and many other related topics.
Hilton-Morrow pulls different disciplines into the textbook, which she credits to discovering while teaching at Augustana and having conversations in the classroom.
In each chapter, there are four activities for teachers to assign or students to do on their own, which challenge them to apply the concepts they just learned from several different backgrounds.
In fact, Hilton-Morrow includes a science article from fellow Dean Kristin Douglas, who was a Biology professor at Augustana before becoming a dean, which discusses unpacking the flawed concept of the “gay gene” in one of the assignments.
“We imagine that as people teach with it we would encourage them to use it as background,” said Hilton-Morrow.
Jennifer Popple, assistant professor in theater and co-chair of women and gender studies at Augustana, plans to do just that.
“The two ways that I think it [Hilton-Morrow’s textbook] could really help is first, I think it could give me a framework for understanding the history, because the history of transgender and transsexual people in terms of the media is something that’s been hidden a lot and not something that has been talked about a lot,” said Popple.
Popple added that in relation to feminist theories, she tries to not only talk about cisgendered people, or people who represent gender roles considered socially appropriate for their sex. Instead, she said the textbook can offer voices from LGBTQ people, which is helpful.
“The readings that we usually get are from the people who were the dominant voices of that particular theory or wave or movement, and it typically has not been people who are (LGB), transgender or transsexual.”
Popple looks forward to reading Hilton-Morrow’s book and is hoping to implement it in the classes she teaches on campus.
“I think that’d be really interesting to look at representations of these sorts of individuals, what that has looked like and how that has changed,” said Popple. “I think it’d be really helpful just to have a grounding text so I could look back and say, ‘What was really happening in the 1960s with this group.’ I don’t actually know the answer to that, I’m ashamed to say, so this will be really helpful, I think.”
The book is scheduled to be published by Routledge by March.

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Hilton-Morrow to release textbook