The Celluloid Closet: Gays and Lesbians in Film and Pop Culture

Simpson Colloquium 101

This class explores the history and trajectory of popular images of gays and lesbians in film, exploring stereotypes and the recent wave of films and popular media portraying more positive images. We will learn about gay and lesbian liberation movements in the U.S., hear voices of opposition, and see how recent court and legislative victories have led to changes in attitudes about this often misunderstood group. We will read a book (The Celluloid Closet) on the history of gays and lesbians in film and watch the related documentary. We will watch and analyze films like Bound, a suspenseful thriller with a sub theme of bisexuality, Big Eden, a film about how a small town in Montana copes with the return of a young gay man, and Latter Days, a film about dealing with the complex ideas of sexuality and religion.

Meet Your Professor
Mark Bates, Ph.D.
Professor of Spanish

For the last fifteen years, I have been teaching Spanish courses at Simpson College. I hold a BA in Spanish, French and Education from Ohio University (1979), an M.A. in Spanish from Miami University (Ohio) (1983), and a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Kansas (1987). Prior to Simpson College, I taught at Grinnell College (1987-1991), Xavier University (Ohio) (1991-1996), and the University of Iowa (1996-1997). My passion is language teaching, learning, and travel. I speak four different languages including native English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. I have a special love for Portugese and enjoy teaching it every other year. My Portuguese classes are unique in small colleges in Iowa.

 I have traveled extensively, and studied in Mexico (1978), France (1982), Brazil (2004) assisted or directed more than ten study abroad programs to Mexico (1983, 1985, 1990, 1999) Brazil (1996), and Nicaragua (1995, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006). During the Mexico program in 2001 and a sabbatical in Nicaragua in 2011, I wrote a book -“With Arms Wide Open”.

I am as much a learner as a teacher, I enjoy all levels of classes from beginners to advanced students. I have special instruction in applied linguistics, phonetics, romance languages, and Latin American Studies.   I consider myself to be a generalist and a Latin Americanist.  My plans are to retire someday to either Nicaragua or Brazil, and take up learning even another foreign language.


Meet Your Simpson Colloquium Leader
Jessi Taylor2Jessi.Taylor

Hello Everybody! My name is Jessi Taylor and I will be your Simpson Colloquium Leader for “The Celluloid Closet.” I will be a junior for the 2013-2014 academic year. I am currently  double majoring  in Spanish and Vocal Music. I am also working toward earning a minor in Secondary Education, to be endorsed to teach Spanish at the middle school and high school levels. Along with being your Simpson Colloquium Leader, I am also one of two directors for the Storm Beat Pep Band. I am also actively involved in the Eta Beta Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a National Service Fraternity.

I am a very approachable, enthusiastic, and active person. I try to always have a smile on my face. I am always willing to help with any problems you might have, and am available to listen and/or discuss anything that may be on your mind. 

A little about my background: I was born, raised, and currently reside in/commute from South Des Moines. I love to sing, laugh, run, play softball, swim, be outside, garden, read, compose and play music, watch movies, go to concerts, paint, dance, and travel. I have so many interests in so many different subjects. Although I am a vocal music major, I also actively play oboe, English horn, saxophone, and piano. My favorite pass times are spending time with friends and family, going to baseball games, and trying new things. I love a good joke, but am horrible at making them. I am a dog person and own two golden retrievers. I am a very big health nut and love cooking healthy meals for my friends and family. I also love to get to know new people, and have a never ending desire to learn.

Meet Your Writing Fellow
Colby Baker-Thayer2Colby-Baker-Thayer-Recovered

My name is Colby Baker-Thayer and I will be your writing fellow! I graduated from Norwalk High School in 2012 were I was a football manager and a member of the tennis team. Here at Simpson I am going to be a sophomore this fall and I am a French and History major. I am also member of Pi Beta Phi and I have a radio show here on campus! I am very excited to get to know all of you and hopefully make your transition into college life as smooth as possible. Hope you love Simpson as much as I do. Feel free to contact me via email or Facebook if you have any questions. See you this fall!


Click below to continue viewing another option for Simpson Colloquium!

Previous Course                                                         Next Course