Introduction to Queer Theory: Creating Accessible Theory

Course Description
Queer theory, like many disciplines, has privileged a white male subject of interest and presumed an elite white audience as its target. This course will introduce students to major tenets and thinkers in queer theory with specific attention paid to queer theory produced by people of color. Students will generate their own explanations of queer theories that are specifically designed to reach communities outside the academy. The class will develop a website to house this newly generated accessible material.

Goals and Objectives
Students will
• Learn theoretical concepts in queer theory
• Familiarize themselves with major theorists, particularly theorists of color
• Reformulate arguments in language accessible beyond the academy
• Acquire basic archival research and web content design skills

Required Texts
Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology by E. Patrick Johnson and Mae G. Henderson

a) Class Blog (20%)
b) Class Participation (15%)
c) Archival Project (20%)
d) Final Project (25%)
e) Assigned Discussion Leadership (15%)
f) Sustainable classroom efforts (5%)

Class Blog
All students will post 4 blog entries.One entry will summarize the material on their day of assigned discussion leadership. This post should be designed with the intent to present the material in a way that is accessible to an adult who has finished high school but not attended college. You will be graded on the accuracy and accessibility of your summary. Each entry should be at least three paragraphs. Students will select the readings they will address from the syllabus. These summaries are due 24 hours before your presentation. If you present Friday at 10:30 am your blog entry is due Thursday at 10:30 am. Two additional entries will be on a topic of the students choosing that show application of class concepts to real life situations. The final entry is a response post to a classmates’ blog entry. Students must respond to a classmates’ blog reflecting on the other students’ thoughts while incorporating their own.

Class Participation
Students must participate in classroom discussions. To do so students must be present. Students can miss two classes without penalty. Students must submit in writing their reason for being absent before it occurs and must still turn in assignments. Any absences beyond two will result in a percentage decrease from your class participation grade. Tardiness is unacceptable. Excessive tardiness will result in a percentage decrease from your class participation grade. Please bring hard copies of readings to class. If you use a computer during class, you are required to send your notes to me immediately following our class session.

Archival Project
Student pairs will research different aspects of sexuality within Agnes Scott's history. By examining college student newspapers, official papers of the college and yearbooks, students will explore the ways in which sexuality is made visible or invisible in the archives. Possible research topics might be the history of gay/straight alliances at Agnes Scott, school policy changes related to male/female overnight guests, the history of out speakers at Agnes Scott, history of domestic partner benefits for faculty, etc. We will meet with the college archivists to get a sense of what is available in the archives so that we can begin to map the direction of the research projects. The completed projects will be housed on the class website. Student groups will meet with the professor for guidance on the direction of the research projects.

Class Assignments
All assignments are detailed on the syllabus or on the web. Work is late if it is submitted after the start of class on the date due. Late work will receive a letter grade deduction for each day it is late. It is your responsibility to alert me in writing (an e-mail) when you will miss class and how you intend to make up the lost time.

Final Project
Students will create a website that houses materials generated through the class to explain queer theory to their peers and community outside the academy. These newly derived accessible materials may take many forms including creative pieces like short videos, songs, art projects, video treatments, screenplays, etc. and more educational pieces like fact sheets, glossaries, resources lists, short papers etc. Students will be responsible for the creation of one creative piece as well as one educational piece to be housed on the class website. This is a collaborative project for the whole class and the class will be graded as a whole with all students receiving the same grade for this assignment.

Assigned Discussion Leadership
During the semester students will be assigned one day to facilitate a class discussion. You are responsible for guiding the class through the assigned reading for that day as well as fostering discussion for 30 minutes of class time. You should integrate related information from contemporary media, such as a pertinent news story or public debate. Provide a bio sketch of the authors of the article you are assigned including a list of their major works, theoretical perspectives, and critiques of their work. Students may sign up for a day on the class calendar. You may use handouts, powerpoint, or a medium of your choice to engage the class. If you will use handouts or powerpoint, they must be submitted to the class via email 24 hours before class. If you are presenting Friday at 10:30 am please submit materials no later than 10:30 am Thursday. Late submissions will result in a letter grade deduction.

Sustainable Classroom Efforts
We will attempt to tread a little lighter on the planet, at least in the context of this classroom. Papers, assignments, and grades will be submitted electronically through Moodle before class on the date due. Recycling backs of paper is encouraged, as well as students’ suggestions of other sustainable practices that can be employed in the class. Students may eat in class as long as food is not noisy or smelly (chips, garlic, etc.)

Extra Credit
Students may attend events detailed on the class calendar for this class and write a one page reflection on the event. Other extra credit opportunities will be announced in class.

A 100 – 94
A- 93 – 90
B+ 89 – 87
B 86 – 84
B- 83 – 80
C+ 79 – 76
C 75 – 73
C- 72 – 70
D 69 – 64
F 64 – Below

Any students who feel they may need academic adjustments and/or accommodations should speak with me during the first two weeks of class. All discussions will remain confidential. Students with disabilities should also contact Machamma Quinichett, assistant director of the office of academic advising, Buttrick Hall, room 104B, 404 471-6150. Students are encouraged to submit an electronic evaluation at the end of the semester. An email reminder will be sent to your Agnes Scott email address asking you to complete the evaluation two weeks before the final day of class.

Academic Honesty and Classroom Integrity
Students are expected to be familiar with the Honor Code they signed at the beginning of the year. Plagiarism, the use of others words as your own, is unacceptable. Students suspected of plagiarism will be asked to turn themselves into the Honor Court. If you have any questions, be sure to schedule an appointment to see me or send me an email. You are also expected to be respectful of your classmates. Many of the issues discussed are highly contested and your opinions will often differ so it is important that everyone is courteous with their contention.

Reading and Discussion Schedule

1. Introduction

Wednesday August 25
A. Syllabus

Friday August 27
B. Hey! How are you? Who are you? Why are you here?

2. The Invention of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Monday August 30
A. “Dueling Dualisms.” by Anne Fausto-Sterling

Wednesday September 1
B. "Sexuality and Gender in Certain Native American Tribes: The Case of Cross-Gender Females." by Evelyn Blackwood
C. “Scientific Racism and the Invention of the Homosexual Body in American Culture.” By Siobhan Somerville in Queer Studies, B. Beemyn and L. Eliason

Friday September 3
D. “Queer Theory.” by Annamarie Jagose
E. “Who is that Queer Queer? Exploring Norms around Sexuality, Race, and Class in Queer Theory.” by Ruth Goldman

3. Normativity and the (trans)Nation(al) State

Monday September 6
NO CLASS Labor Day

Wednesday September 8
A. Excerpts from Gender Trouble by Judith Butler

Friday September 10
B. Race-ing Homonormativity: Citizenship, Sociology and gay identity by Roderick A. Ferguson

Monday September 13
C. Excerpts from A Queer Time and Place by Judith Halberstam

Wednesday September 15
D. “Toxic Bodies? ACT UP's Disruption of the Heteronormative Landscape of the Nation.” By Beth Berila.

Friday september 17
E. Puar, Jasbir "South Asian (Trans)nation(alisms) and Queer Diasporas" in Q&A: Queer in Asian America, PA: Temple University Press, (1998): 405-422

Monday September 20
F. Eng, David. "Heterosexuality in the Face of Whiteness: Divided belief in M. Butterfly" in Q & A: Queer in Asian America, David Eng and Alice Hom (eds.), PA: Temple University Press, (1998): 335-365.

Wednesday September 22
G. Taking off the rings : feminist history of lesbian and bisexual women at Agnes Scott College, 1960-1995 / by Jamey D. Fisher and Sarah M. Gillooly
H. Meet with College Archivist

Friday September 24
I. Privilege by Devon W. Carbado

4. Racing and Locating Queerness

Monday September 27
A. Introduction: Queering Black Studies/ “Quaring” Queer Studies E. PATRICK JOHNSON AND MAE G. HENDERSON

Wedneday September 29
B. Paris is Burning film (watch before class)
C. bell hooks: “Is Paris Burning?”

Friday October 1
D. Moraga, Cherrie "Queer Aztlan: The Reformation of the Chicano Tribe" in The Last Generation: Prose and Poetry, Boston: South End Press, 1993: 145-74. Reprinted in Material Queer: A LesBiGay Cultural Studies Reader, Donald Morton (ed.), Westview Press, (1996): 297-304

Monday October 4
E. Archival Project proposal due
F. Excerpts from Disidentifications by Jose Muñoz

Wednesday October 6
G. Quiroga, Jose "Latino Cultures, Imperial Sexualities" in Tropics of Desire: Interventions from Queer Latino America, New York: New York University Press, (2000): 191- 234, 267-273 (notes).

Friday October 8
H. “A Comparative Analysis of Hijras and Drag Queens: The Subversive Possibilities and Limits of Parading Effeminacy and Negotiating Masculinity.” By Sandeep Bakshi

Monday October 11
I. Chapter 2 Imperial Desire/Sexual Utopias: White Gay Capital and Transnational Tourism in Pedagogies of Crossing by M. Jacqui Alexander

Wednesday October 13
J. Archival project Check in Final Project Web Discussion

Friday October 15
NO CLASS Fall Break

5. Beyond Identity Politics: Queerness as Embodied Action

Monday October 18
A. “Quare” Studies or (Almost) Everything I know about queer I learned from my grandmother by. E. Patrick Johnson

Wednesday October 20
B. “Kuaering Queer Theory: My Autocritography and a Race-Conscious, Womanist, Transnational Turn.” By Wenshu Lee

Friday October 22
C. Skeleton short film and Still Black (Watch Before Class) by Kortney Ryan Ziegler
D. Final Project Proposal Due

Monday October 25
E. Excerpt from the History of Sexuality Vo. 1 by Michel Foucault

Wednesday October 27
F. Excerpts from No Future by Lee Edleman

Friday October 29
G. "Capitalism and Gay Identity." By John D'Emilio In LGBT Reader. pp. 467-476.

Monday November 1
H. "Trans Action for Social and Economic Justice.” by TransJustice
I. S.O.N.G. Trans in the South Report

Wednesday November 3
J. “It’s So Queer to Give Away Money.” by Dean Spade
K. Love Story by Dean Spade

Thursday November 4th Dean Spade Talk 6:30-7:30pm

Friday November 5
L. Dean Spade visits class

Monday November 8
M. Compulsory Able-bodiedness and Queer/Disabled Existence by Robert McRuer

Wednesday November 10
N. Excerpts from Exile & Pride by Eli Clare

Friday November 12
O. “Helen and Frida." by Anne Finger

Monday November 15
P. Excerpt from Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
Q. Archival Projects check-in

Wednesday November 17
R. Excerpt from Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

Friday November 19*
S. Black Womyn film viewing in class.

Monday November 22*
T. Film Discussion

Wednesday November 24
NO CLASS Thanksgiving Break

Friday November 26
NO CLASS Thanksgiving Break

Monday November 29
U. Final Project Work

Wednesday December 1
V. Archival Project Due

Friday December 3
W. Final Project Work

Monday December 6
X. All Work & Extra Credit Due

Friday December 14
Y. Final Project due by 5pm