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ES200 – Topics in Race and Ethnic Studies: Critical Queer Studies

This course introduces students to a major paradigm shift in the field of queer studies today with the emergence of a body of scholarship that situates the study of sexuality at the intersection of questions of race, migration, nationalism, militarism, ability, and globalization. In this interdisciplinary course we will ask how “queering” provides an effective conceptual frame through which to critically analyze a wide set of media practices. We will interpret “media” broadly to include film, video, memoir, graphic novels, photography and visual art, performance, music and television, new media, and expressive forms of community organizing and activism. Throughout we will foreground intersectional thinking about gender and sexuality in relation to histories of colonialism, nationalism, slavery, migration, embodiment, and global capitalism. The seminar begins with an exploration of the AIDS crisis, its archives and afterlives. Then, we will investigate a complex set of “keywords” that address the possibilities and limits of queer cultural critique. Finally, the second half of the term features thematic units that explore queer responses to different forms of violence. Key topics addressed include racism, sexism and transphobia; prison expansion and police brutality; public sex, gentrification and urban spaces; and militarism, citizenship and imperial warfare. These debates highlight the significance of critical race and postcolonial theory, transgender studies, Marxism, feminist theory, and performance studies perspectives on ‘queer’ bodies, experiences, sensations, affects, politics, and desires.

Also listed as: FG206