Glqs 201 (previously offered as glqs 302)

Download 54.92 Kb.
Size54.92 Kb.

GLQS 201

(previously offered as GLQS 302)

Queer Identities in a Transforming World

Your Instructor

  • Name: Anuj Vaidya

  • Office: Dickson Hall 154

  • Office Hours: By Appointment (Online or In-Person)

  • Email:

  • Phone: 510-529-8917

Course Description

Building upon lessons from the required GLQS 100 course, this course will explore 'trans' and 'queer' as positions that allows for shifting identities. Students will engage in a critical analysis of gender, sexuality, race, class, and ecology, and synthesize methodologies from various disciplines in the humanities to gain a broad intersectional, multicultural and historical understanding of the term 'queer, and and of queer and transgender studies. A range of textual and cinematic sources will be used to explore issues such as gender performance, the third sex, transgender issues, intersex issues, the political underpinnings and the transgressive nature of 'queer', the history of queer politics (from AIDS activism to the gay marriage issue), schisms within the LGBTQ political movements, queers and disability, issues of race, class and representation within the queer community, and non‐human perspectives on queer.
While the history of these various communities will be addressed briefly within the coursework, the emphasis is on the political discourses that surround these communities – from identity politics (based on gender and sexual preference, or 'being' versus 'doing') to social politics (gay rights, AIDS activism and the queer movement, intersex rights, transgender rights, etc). An important part of the course is to examine the political dialectics of the various movements within the umbrella – the schisms between the feminist, queer and transgender movements – and how they were,and continue to be, negotiated.
The course will also expand the conversation beyond the West to examine transnational perspectives on queer politics, specifically the importance of language (the politics of 'naming' versus 'not-naming') and the imperialist/colonialist impulses in exporting Western models of queer politics to non-Western countries. Finally, the course will introduce students to contemporary trends in queer and trans- theory towards making alliances with marginal positions based on race, class, ability, age and ecology.


The course aims to build upon student's understanding of LGBTQ issues by addressing:

• identity politics, social politics and where/how the two intersect,

• the contested histories and politics of the LGBTQ and Feminist movements, both in the West and in transnational contexts,

• addressing the changing nature of the terms queer and trans, both in historical and contemporary contexts,

• addressing how these terms are understood differently in practical/community contexts versus theoretical/academic contexts,

• addressing similarities and differences with other marginalized identities through intersectionality with race, glass, transnationalism, ageing, disability, non-human voices, etc.

• how students can employ intersecting perspectives from various disciplines to gain a comprehensive understanding of complex social issues

Required Texts

There are no required texts for this course. Readings will be uploaded to canvas on a weekly basis. Students will, however, have to make arrangements to purchase or borrow the texts for their final projects on their own.

for final project:

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula LeGuin


Nearly Roadkill: An Infobahn Erotic Adventure, Kate Bornstein and Caitlin Sullivan


Metropolis: The Chase, The ArchAndroid AND The Electric Lady, Janelle Monae (Music Recordings + Lyrics)


Other: based on discussion with instructor

Assessment and Grading

The final course grade will be based upon the following activities:
Journal: All students will be expected to complete 3-4 journal entries through the semester in response to specific questions, readings/viewings, or issues that arise out of class discussions. (20% of grade)
Discussions: All students will be expected to participate in discussions (both in-class and possibly online). (20% of grade)
Quizzes: There will be at least two quizzes - one at mid-semester and one at end-semester - in addition to pop-up quizzes throughout the semester. (20% of grade)
Collaborative Project: Students will participate in one collaborative projects/presentations based around specific research topics or field trips/activities. More details on these will be available with the appropriate modules. (20% of grade)
Final Paper: All students will have to write a 8-10 page response paper to a text (either a book or a musical recording) incorporating at least two of the readings from the class. Students will identify their texts by mid-semester and will begin working on the paper by week 10. The paper will be due the week following last day of class. (20% of grade)

Week 1

The Genealogy of Queer
Introducing road map for the course; getting familiar with the canvas system; examining queer from a historical perspective and its shifting meaning over time

1. University of Pittsburgh, Keyword Project: Queer:

2. Wikipedia Entry on Queer:

3. Queer Theory, Annamarie Jagose
Week 2

Gender Queer, Part 1: The Trans* Experience
To learn about the history of the transgender movement in the USA; to recognize current trends in transgender scholarship; to examine how transgender studies and queer studies propose liberating 'subjugated' knowledges.

1. (De)Subjugated Knowledges: An Introduction to Transgender Studies, Susan Stryker

2. Introduction: Trans, Trans-, or Transgender?, Stryker, Susan Stryker, Paisley Currah and Lisa Jean Moore (Women's Studies Quarterly; Fall 2008; 36)

3. What does Trans* Mean, and Where Did It Come From?, Hugh Ryan (Slate Magazine, Jan 2014)
Viewing: Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria, Victor Silverman and Susan Stryker (USA, 2004, 57mins)
Week 3

Gender Queer, Part 2: The Third Gender in South Asia
To have a broad understanding of non-normative approaches to gender/sexuality in non-western cultures (specifically through the 'third gender' in India); to recognize that attitudes towards gender/sexuality shift over time (through the example of ancient > contemporary India); to compare and contrast the transgender experience in the west with similar gender identities in other parts of the world

1. Excerpts from Same-Sex Love in India (Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai, Editors): Sex Change, The Forest, and the Undoing of Gender

2. Beyond the Third Sex, Christine Chitnis (Bitch Magazine, Fall 10, Issue 48)
Viewing: Between the Lines, Thomas Wartmann (Germany/India, 2005, 94mins)
Week 4

Gender Queer, Part 3: The Intersex Experience

To have a social and scientific understanding of what it means to be intersex; to learn about the history of the intersex rights movement in the USA; to have a broad understanding of the history and ethics of sex selection in the medical establishment; and to compare and contrast the intersex identity against other genderqueer identities.

1. The Five Sexes: Why Male And Female Are Not Enough, Anna Fausto-Sterling (The Sciences; March/April 1993; pp 20-24)

2. What's the History Behind the Intersex Rights Movement, Intersex Society of North America Website

3. Doctors Containing Hermaphrodites: A Victorian Legacy, Alice Domurat Dreger (Chrysalis: The Journal of Transgressive Gender Identities, Fall/Winter 1997)

4. Caught Between: An Essay on Intersexuality, D. Cameron (Chrysalis: The Journal of Transgressive Gender Identities, Fall/Winter 1997)
Week 5

Gender Queer, Part 4: Gender is Burning
To have an understanding of theories on how gender is produced through performance and language; to examine the intersections of gender, sexuality, race and class


1. Is Paris Burning?, bell hooks, from Black Looks: Race and Representation (South End Press, 1992)

2. Gender is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion (Pages 383-393), Judith Butler, from Bodies That Matter (Routeledge, 1993)

Viewing: Paris is Burning, Jennie Livingstone (USA, 1991, 78mins)
Week 6:

Queer Desires, Part 1: Deviant Desires and Non-Desires
To complicate the conversation around gender by incorporating issues of desire and sexuality; to explore what are considered the edges/extremes of sexual desire; to understand the political underpinnings of radical sex/public sex; to examine how sexual desire and deviance are legally and socially policed

1. Excerpts from Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex, Pat Califia (Cleis Press, 1994)

2. Excerpt from Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives (Eds: Karli June Cerankowski and Megan Milks, Routeledge Press, 2014)
Viewing: Shinjuku Boys, Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams (USA/Japan, 1995, 53mins)
Week 7:

Queer Desires, Part 2: The Ethics of Sexual Shame
To examine how morality is leveraged in the policing of sexual desire; To examine how shame and stigma are negotiated by queer bodies in relation to desire; To examine where desire stops being personal and starts being political

1. The Trouble With Normal (Chapter 1), Michael Warner (The Free Press, 1999)


Week 8:

Queer Activism, Part 1: The Politics of AIDS
To learn about the social politics and political underpinnings of the queer movement; to examine the beginnings of the movement during the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s; to examine the current political trends, alliances and schisms in the queer movement; to deconstruct the word 'normal' within the context of the queer movement


1. The Trouble With Normal (Chapter 2), Michael Warner (The Free Press, 1999)
Week 9:

Queer Activism, Part 2: The Politics of Gay Marriage
To learn about the social politics and political underpinnings of the queer movement; to chart the political consequences of AIDS on the queer movement over the last three decades; to examine current debates around the politics of gay marriage; to examine the mobilization of capitalism through queer bodies


1. The Trouble With Normal (Chapter 3), Michael Warner (The Free Press, 1999)


1. Radio interview with Sarah Schulman, Author of Gentrification of the Mind: Loss of a Queer Generation
Week 10:

Queer Transnationalisms
To study transnational issues in queer activism; to examine the problems of exporting western models/queer politics to non-western cultures (perspectives from the Arab world and China); to examine the politics of naming vs. not-naming

1. Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World, Joseph Massad

2. We Who Feel Differently: LGBTQ Identity and Politics in China, Hongwei Bao
Week 11:

Queer Queers: Ageing and Disability

To examine the cultural, social, political and health-related issues around ageing and disability in the queer community

1. Selections from Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, Special Issue on Ageing (Australia)

2. Compulsory Able-Bodiedness and Queer/Disabled Existence, Robert McRuer
Viewing: Double the Trouble, Twice the Fun, Pratibha Parmar (UK, 1994)
Week 12:

Queer Ecologies, Part 1
To examine questions at the intersection of sexuality and environmental studies; to examine the concept of biological exuberance as a theory for understanding difference/diversity in gender and sexuality; to examine Haraway's concepts of natureculture; to extend the notion of queer to the non-human experience

1. Introduction from Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire, Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands and Bruce Erickson

2. Excerpts from Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, Bruce Bagemihl
Viewing: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble, A lecture by Donna Haraway

Week 13:

Queer Ecologies, Part 2
To move beyond human experience and include more-than-human subjectivity as part of the queer spectrum; to examine ecosexuality and the burgeoning sexecology movement

1. On Becoming Appalachian Moonshine, Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle (from Performance Research 14-4: On Ecology, Routeledge, 2013)

2. Ecosex Manifesto, Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle (from The Journal of Ecosex Research, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2013)

Viewing: Wedding Compilation, Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle (USA, 2013)

Ecosex Manifesto, Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle (from The Journal of Ecosex Research, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2013)

Download 54.92 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2024
send message

    Main page