Theories Gender and Sexuality: Queer Theory/Queer Politics
What is sexuality? Does it exist in the body or in the mind? Is it a collection of actions, desires, and fantasies, or is it rather a disposition, a way of seeing oneself, an identity? Does what we want depend on who we are? Does what we do define who we are? This course will address such questions by introducing students to several classic texts in the history and theory of sexuality and by looking at key moments in the struggle for sexual and gender freedom. The history we trace will focus on the effects of the “invention of homosexuality” in the late-nineteenth century; the history of butch/femme community; the cultural moment of Stonewall and gay liberation; the “Sex Wars” of the 1980s; women of color feminism and queer of color critique; responses to HIV/AIDS; class and region as they affect sex and gender identity; the transgender rights movement; the politics of coalition; and global contests over LGBT rights. The course will end with a turn to contemporary debates about the meaning of “queer,” same-sex marriage, and gay assimilation.
Satisfies the College's Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences (Sector IV) and Cultural Diversity in the US (CDUS) requirements.