New History Course

October 01, 2019

Course on LGBTQ+ Americans Opens up Opportunities to Look Forward

Rachel Walker, an Assistant Professor of History in the University of Hartford’s College of Arts and Sciences, has created a new course called “The History of LGBTQ+ Americans.” In this course, students explore the diverse histories of queer people in America, from the 17th century to the present.

Walker says she created this course to expose students to how society’s ideas about sexuality have changed over time. Studying queer history allows students to immerse themselves in the past, but it also helps them reimagine the modern world.

History gives you an opportunity to look forward, too, because you realize things have not always been the way they are now. That makes us realize that our world can change again, and that gives people hope.

Rachel Walker, Assistant Professor of History
Throughout the semester, students have been studying a wide array of topics: Native Americans who challenged the gender binary, women who loved women in the 19th century, and men who performed in drag shows during the 1920s.

The course is discussion-based, and includes members of the LGBTQ+ community. These students have been able to learn about their history while getting the chance to be themselves. Walker says she and her students are learning so much from each other, and she is loving every minute of it. 

While she was in college, Walker took a variety of courses that changed who she was as a person. When asked what advice she would give a prospective student, she responded, “Don’t come in thinking you have a rigid path forward. Take as many weird, odd, and interesting classes as possible and take full advantage of the four-year experience.”

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Mary Ingarra