Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Queer Studies

Queer Studies: Creating Accessible Theory

Spring 2009


                      Instructor Moya Z. Bailey

Class meets:

Office Hours: by appointment only

Email: mzbaile@emory.edu (Use this address only, all email will be read between 9-5 on weekdays)


Intro to Women’s Studies

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 tenants 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
  • Apply what they’ve learned to real life situations

Required Texts

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


  1. Blog posts (20%)
  2. Active participation in class discussions (15%) (preparation, reading books/articles, attendance, etc.)
  3. Archival project (20%)
  4. Final Project (25%)
  5. Assigned discussion leadership (15%)
  6. Sustainable classroom efforts (5%)

Class Blog

All students will post 5 blog entries that summarize a selected reading. Each 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.

Class Participation

Students must participate in classroom discussions. To do so students must be present. Students can miss one class without penalty. Students must submit in writing their reason for being absent before it occurs and must still turn in the week’s assignment. Any absence beyond one 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.

Archival Project

Student pairs will research different aspects of sexuality within the Atlanta University Center’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 in the AUC, school policy changes at Morehouse following the 2002 hate crime committed against a student, the history of out speakers in the AUC, 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 papers.

Class Assignments

All assignments are detailed on the syllabus or on the web. 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 pamphlets, worksheets and other materials for teaching black queer theory to their peers outside the academy. These newly derived accessible materials may take many forms including, short videos, songs, art projects, plays, video treatments, screenplays, etc. Student groups will be responsible for the creation of one creative piece as well as one educational piece. Groups will develop an educational material as well as an entertainment material.

Assigned Discussion Reading

During the semester student pairs 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 an hour of class time. You should also integrate blog comments and/or related information from the media. Provide a bio sketch of the authors of the articles 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.

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 and you are encourages to use both sides of the page if you prefer for print assignments and handouts. Recycling backs of paper is encouraged, as well as students’ suggestions of other sustainable practices that can be employed in the class.

Extra Credit

Students may attend events detailed on the Class Calendar for this class and write a two 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 the Office of Disability Services.

Academic Honesty and Classroom integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with the Academic Honesty policy of the college. If you have any questions, be sure to come see me during office hours 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

(Day 1)

  1. Hey! How are you? Who are you? Why are you here?
  2. Syllabus

2. The invention of sex, gender, and sexuality

(Day 2)

  1. Dueling Dualisms by Anne Fausto-Sterling
  2. Africa and African Homosexualities: An Introduction by Murray and Roscoe
  3. Somerville, Siobhan "Scientific Racism and the Invention of the Homosexual Body in American Culture" in Queer Studies, B. Beemyn and L. Eliason (eds.): 241-261. Reprint from J. of the History of Sexuality 5, no.2 (October 1994): 243-66.

(Day 3)

  1. Queer Theory by Annamarie Jagose
  2. Punks, Bulldaggers, Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics? By Cathy J. Cohen
  3. Kendall. "`When A Woman Loves A Woman' in Lesotho: Love, Sex and the (Western) Construction of Homophobia" in S. Murray and W. Roscoe (eds.): 223-241.
  4. "Lesbianism: An Act of Resistance" by Cheryl Clarke
  5. Zami by Audre Lorde

(Day 4)

  1. Excerpts from Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
  2. Excerpts from Female Masculinity by Judith Halberstam

    3. Heteronormativity and Black Identity

    (Day 5)

    A. Straight Black Studies: On African American Studies, James Baldwin, and Black Queer Studies by Dwight McBride

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

    C. Skeleton short film by Kortney Ryan Ziegler

(Day 6)

  1. Paris is Burning
  2. bell hooks: “Is Paris Burning?”
  3. Harris, Laura Alexandra "Queer black feminism: the pleasure principle" Feminist Review, no. 54, Autumn 1996:3-30.

(Day 7)

  1. Visit with Archivists

(Day 8)

  1. Privilege by Devon W. Carbado
  2. Why are gay ghettos white? By Charles I. Nero

(Day 9)

  1. Why Did I get Married?
  2. Introduction and Forward of Black Queer Studies

(Day 10)

  1. Still Black and Black Womyn
  2. Loving Her by Ann Allen Shockley

(Day 11)

  1. Archive Proposal Due- Class discussion

4. Brown Queer Theory

(Day 12)

    A. Hanawa, Yukiko "Inciting Sites of Political Intervention: Queer'n Asian" in A Queer World: The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, Martin Duberman (ed.), (1997): 39-62. Another version appears in Positions: east asian cultures 4, no. 3 (Winter 1996).

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

    C. Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan, “Global Identities: Theorizing Transnational Studies of Sexuality” (2001)

(Day 13)

    C. Anzaldua, Gloria "To(o) Queer the Writer-Loca, Escritora y Chicano in Inversions: Writings from Dykes, Queers and Lesbians, Betsy Warland (ed.), Vancouver: Vancouver Press, 1991.

    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

    E. 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).

(Day 14)

    F. Excerpts from Boy-Wives and Female-Husbands: Studies in African Homosexualities by Roscoe and Murray

    G. Final Project proposal due

5. Straight Queers

(Day 15)

  1. Thomas, Calvin. "Straight with a Twist: Queer Theory and the Subject of Heterosexuality" in Straight with a Twist: Queer Theory and the Subject of Heterosexuality, Thomas, Calvin, Joseph Aimone and Catherine MaeGillivray, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, (2000): 11-44. Earlier version appeared in Genders 26 (1997): 83-115.
  2. Fuertsch, Jacqueline. "In Theory if not in Practice: Straight Feminism's Lesbian Experience" in Straight with a Twist, Calvin Thomas et al (eds.).
  3. 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.

(Day 16)

  1. “Quare” Studies or (Almost) Everything I know about queer I learned from my grandmother by. E. Patrick Johnson
  2. Archival Project check-in

6. Disabled Queers

(Day 17)

A. Clare, Exile & Pride, excerpts from Part I: "The Mountain" & "Losing Home"

B. Anne Finger, "Helen and Frida"

C. Guest Speaker

7. Class

(Day 18)

A. D'Emilio, John. "Capitalism and Gay Identity." In LGBT Reader. pp. 467-476.

B. Excerpts from M. Jacqui Alexander’s Pedagogies of Crossing

8. Web design and Wrap up

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