Upcoming course focuses on gender, sexuality, consent

Kira Bortz

Missouri Southern has a new course hitting the campus spring of 2020. This elective is a Gender and Sexuality course that is focusing specifically on consent and will be taught by Dr. Megan Bever, assistant professor of history.

This course will give students an opportunity to examine and analyze what consent has looked like for women in the past, and see how it has changed in the modern era. Bever insists this class would be beneficial for anyone with a general interest in the topic. 

“The class examines the topic of consent as it relates to women,” said Bever. “Its focus is recent history [the past 400-500 years], and it will focus on marriage, sex and bodily autonomy. A lot of the course will look at consent in the context of American history, but I’m also bringing in studies from different parts of the globe so that students can compare how consent looks in different societies.” 

Bever highlights consent and medicine as her favorite topic in the course. 

“Currently, I’m putting together the readings on consent and medicine – which gets into some dicey topics about women’s dependence and the development of medical science and eugenics. It’s not a fun topic, per se, but I find it incredibly relevant for modern discussions of women’s health,” said Bever. 

According to Bever, she is excited to discuss a new book written by Joseph Fischel called “Screw Consent” which brings the topic into the present day and discusses scenarios where the definition of consent is unclear. 

She plans to discuss this book within the last week of class after the students have “unpacked previous notions of consent.” 

As this is a new class, Bever has not had the chance to see student’s reactions to these grey-area topics, but understands that women’s rights and violations of these rights can sometimes hit heavy on students. 

She expressed the opinion that this course is not only favorable for students pursuing a degree in History or a Gender Studies Certificate, but it can be extremely beneficial for students who want to be informed and educated on the changing workplace and university policies on consent.