This course aims to deconstruct gender and sexuality by examining the contested and constructed nature of the various identities that fall under the LGBTQI umbrella. While the history of these 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 public lecture series Queering the Sciences will be presented in conjunction with this course in Spring 2016.