RCCORE 334 - Special Topics
Fall 2023, Section 001 - Out of the Past: 20th Century LGBT History
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: RC Core Courses (RCCORE)
Department: LSA Residential College
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


College students today have grown up in a “gay-aware” if not “gay-friendly” world. LGBT characters are everywhere on TV and in the movies. The debate over gay marriage fills the news with discussions of equal rights, states’ rights, and recently-lifted federal bans. In Michigan and other states, benefits for same-sex domestic partners are publicly championed by some cities and universities but regularly attacked in the legislatures.

How did LGBT people move from the mostly-anonymous fringe to front-and-center of today’s popular culture and political debates? This two-credit mini-course explores 20th century LGBT history in the United States through documentaries and archival research. We will be watching and discussing documentary films such as:

  • Out of the Past (1998, 70 minutes) traces over 100 years of gay rights struggles, set against the backdrop of a 17-year-old student who forms a Gay Straight Alliance program at her high school.
  • Before Stonewall (1984, 87 minutes) traces the decades leading up to the Stonewall Riots of June 1969 through archival film clips and commentary by leading LGBT community members.
  • Stonewall Uprising (2011, 90 minutes) tells the story of the police-raid-turned-riot that sparked the start of the widespread, public gay right movement in the United States.
  • The Times of Harvey Milk (1984, 88 minutes) tells the story of San Francisco’s first openly-gay city supervisor who was assassinated in November 1978.
  • We Were Here (2011, 90 minutes) traces the arrival and initial impact of AIDS in San Francisco.
  • The Celluloid Closet (1995, 101 minutes), based on Vito Russo’s book of the same name, explores the portrayal of LGBT characters in Hollywood films from the silent era through the early 1990s.
  • After Stonewall (1999, 88 minutes), a sequel to the 1984 Before Stonewall film, traces the first 30 years after the Stonewall Riots.

This course is open to all University of Michigan students.

For more information, contact the instructor, David Burkam (dtburkam@umich.edu)

Intended Audience:

This course will meet in-person throughout the semester.


RCCORE 334 - Special Topics
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
W 3:00PM - 5:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
002 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
003 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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