Simon During writes that an engaged cultural studies “aims to produce knowledge from perspectives lost to and in dominant public culture, and to listen to far-off or marginalized voices.” Taking its cue from cultural studies’ imperative to be an intervention rather than simply an observation, this course seeks to represent a diversity of approaches in queer theory and cultural studies. This diversity enables nuanced critical engagements with cultural production in its aesthetic, ideological, and political dimensions. We will explore the ways in which gay, lesbian, and queer subjectivities are represented in literature, film, and the media, as well as the ways in which sexual identity is inextricably bound up with other axes of identity: race, ethnicity, age, nationality, gender, and so on. Particular attention will be paid to the intersection of the queer, the individual, and hyper-consumerism. Students will develop an understanding of queer cultural studies' major concerns and of the kinds of theoretical approaches it offers for cultural analysis.
Our objectives will thus include:
knowledge of and experience in using the analytical tools developed in queer theory and cultural studies
using a combination of close reading, analysis, class discussion, and original thought to produce an insightful, organized, and pleasurably readable essay that contributes significantly to the discussion of the issues in question
In this course, we will read a number of individual essays. This will ensure that our readings are very current and that students acquire a good understanding of the issues that a few important writers have explored. The network of their notes and references will lead you out into the web of scholarship in the field, and I will also situate them for you in larger contexts.
NOTE: This strictly academic course on gender and sexuality may entail graphic, explicit, and unedited scholarly readings and objective discussion about research findings related to the many forms in which gender and sexuality are expressed. Four-letter words may be involved. Films of a sexual nature may be shown. Neither gender nor sexuality is a value free topic. For some people, such materials may elicit powerful negative feelings. Students who think their religious, moral, or psychological sensibilities will be offended are strongly advised NOT to take this course.
Seminar/lecture/discussion, with Blackboard (Bb) supplements.
See the week-by-week calendar, below. All essays are on Bb, and are on reserve at the Pratt Library. The Debord selections (TBA) can be found on-line, or you can purchase the book. It looks like this http://www.amazon.ca/Society-Spectacle-Guy-Debord/dp/0934868077. There are a number of places where you can purchase it, and it is not expensive (around $13).
Marking Scheme (see documents posted on Bb for content)
Office Hours / Email / Bb
I am always happy to meet with students (at my office or a suitable public place nearby) or answer questions via email. You can expect to receive a response to email messages within 24 hours (except on weekends). I will not answer emails for which the answer might be found by having attended the class, and/or by referring to Bb. Questions that apply to class lectures should be asked in class, since it is most often the case that if you are thinking it, someone else is as well. Class material (such as lectures) will not necessarily be posted on Bb; if it is not on Bb, and if I do not state in class that I will post it on Bb, then rest assured it will not be posted.
Getting Essay Help, and Accessibility Services
Please consult http://www.utoronto.ca/ucwriting/index.html . Every college has a free writing lab; these labs are excellent resources. Regarding AS: Please see the AS office in the Robarts library if you have certain accessibility needs. I fully support the aims and goals of AS. I adhere to the guidelines outlined by the department. See http://www.utoronto.ca/writing/grading.html. There is also an assessment rubric on Bb.
The required readings are those noted in bold; you should, however, read the supplements.
Week Texts Sep 9 Introduction
1Some history Sep 16 Rubin, “Thinking Sex” (L&G Studies Reader)
Sep 23 D’Emilio, “Capitalism and Gay Identity” (L&G Studies Reader)