ABSTRACT

This article looks at the way in which we have infused community-based learning about gender and sexuality into freshman composition classes at Morehouse College. Morehouse is unique—it is the only college on the planet devoted to the higher education of African American men. Masculinity politics are often complicated at this single-gendered institution, where patriarchy still governs the culture and curriculum. More recently, students who are resisting or questioning traditional gender constructs have been more vocal, forcing the community to confront how and how often we engage with these issues. First-year composition courses are ideal places to first integrate the study of gender and sexuality because all first-year students are required to take this English sequence. This article—using models from bell hooks, Cynthia Neale Spence, and others involved in service learning and gender studies—focuses on how to promote community engagement, innovative pedagogical approaches, and, most importantly, a critical gender/sexuality conversation. The result of more conversation around gender and violence is that our male students realize that they share multiple memberships in different yet interrelated communities.

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