Course description

Queer scholarship places the cultural politics of sex, pleasure, and desire at the center of its analytical frame. Originating in conjunction and collaboration with activist movements outside the academy as well as with poststructuralist and psychoanalytic theory, queer cultural critics have called attention to the production of images of gay, lesbian, and nonnormatively gendered individuals in literature and culture. Crucially, they have also sought to challenge the dominance of heterosexuality itself, extending the reach of queer critique beyond issues of gay and lesbian identity and representation. In recent years, gay and lesbian identities have become more widely accepted, with the growth of gay marriage and the elimination of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; for some, this would seem to signal a decreased need for queer studies. In keeping with the tradition of critical cultural studies, however, queer cultural theorists have developed new frameworks to highlight intersections of race, class, and sexuality, and the complicity of some forms of lesbian and gay activism with US imperialism. This class will focus on racialized, classed, and gendered differences and conflicts between queer subjects in different places and times, as we ask how the local and global politics of location shape the ways we experience gender and sexuality. We will engage recent scholarship in queer studies that develops critical analyses of gender, sexuality, race, and space at local, national, and global scales, exploring theory in conjunction with queer cultural production that explores questions of power, pleasure, and identity across different racial, national, and cultural landscapes.

As the semester progresses we will move from the key originating works of queer literary and cultural theory into current debates surrounding queer urban and rural spatialities; queer of color critique; queer diasporas and transnational feminist analysis; and the ways in which queer scholarship itself has been understood as complicit in the politics of empire. Providing both a foundation in queer cultural critique and an initiation into the central debates of this vibrant interdisciplinary field, this graduate seminar is intended as a point from which you can begin to incorporate the insights of queer analysis into your own thinking, writing, and teaching.

Required texts:
Allison Bechdel, Fun Home. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.
Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. New York, NY: NYU Press, 1999.
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality Vol 1: The Will to Knowledge. 1976. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1998.
Scott Herring, Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism. New York, NY: NYU Press, 2010.
Nalo Hopkinson, The Salt Roads. New York, NY: Warner Books, 2004.
Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. 1982. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, 1994.
Jasbir Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.
Karen Tongson, Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries. New York, NY: NYU Press, 2011.

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