Five-College Queer and Sexuality Studies Courses
These courses count toward the Five-College Certificate in Queer and Sexuality Studies (available at all Five Colleges).
Instructor: Khary O. Polk
Meets: Thursday, 2:30-5:10 p.m.
From the modern era to the contemporary moment, the intersection of race, gender, and class has been especially salient for people of African descent—for men as well as for women. How might the category of sexuality act as an additional optic through which to view and reframe contemporary and historical debates concerning the construction of black identity? In what ways have traditional understandings of masculinity and femininity contributed to an understanding of African American life and culture as invariably heterosexual? How have black lesbian, gay, and transgendered persons effected political change through their theoretical articulations of identity, difference, and power? In this interdisciplinary course, we will address these questions through an examination of the complex roles gender and sexuality play in the lives of people of African descent.
Sexuality and History in the Contemporary Novel
Instructor: Judith E. Frank
Meets: Monday & Wednesday, 12:30-1:50 p.m.
A study of American and British gay and lesbian novelists, from 1990 to the present, who have written historical novels. We will examine such topics as the kinds of expressive and ideological possibilities the historical novel offers gay and lesbian novelists, the representation of sexuality in narratives that take place before Stonewall, and the way these authors position queer lives in history. Novelists include Sarah Waters, Emma Donoghue, Jeanette Winterson, Leslie Feinberg, Alan Hollinghurst, Colm Tóibín, and Michael Cunningham.
Science and Sexuality
Instructor: Sahar Sadjadi
Meets: Monday, 2-4 p.m.
This seminar explores the role of science in the understanding and making of human sexuality. The notion of "sexuality"--its emergence and its recent history--has an intimate relation to biology, medicine and psychology. In this course we explore the historical emergence of the scientific model of sexuality and the challenges to this model posed from other worldviews and social forces, mainly religion, social sciences, and political movements. We examine how sex has intersected with race and nationality in the medical model (for instance, in the notion of degeneration), and we look closely at the conceptualization of feminine and masculine sexual difference. We briefly address studies of animal models for human sexuality, and we examine in more depth case histories of "perversion," venereal disease, orgasm and sex hormones. We also compare contemporary biological explanations of sexuality with the nineteenth-century ones, for instance, the notion of the "gay gene" as compared to the hereditary model of "sexual inversion." Course readings include historical and contemporary sexological and biological texts (Darwin, Freud, Kinsey, etc.), their critiques, and contemporary literature in science studies, including feminist and queer studies of science. This seminar requires active participation, reading an array of diverse and interdisciplinary texts and preparing research-based papers and presentations.
Race and the Queer Politics of the Prison State
Instructor: S. Dillon
Meets: Tuesday & Thursday, 10:30-11:50 a.m.
This course explores the history and politics of gender and sexuality in relation to the racial politics of prisons and the police. By engaging recent work in queer studies, feminist studies, transgender studies, and critical prison studies, we will consider how prisons and police have shaped the making and remaking of race, gender, and sexuality from slavery and conquest to the contemporary period. We will examine how police and prisons have regulated the body, identity, and populations, and how larger social, political, and cultural changes connect to these processes. While we will focus on the prison itself, we will also think of policing in a more expansive way by analyzing the racialized regulation of gender and sexuality on the plantation, in the colony, at the border, in the welfare office, in the hospital, among other spaces, historical periods, and places.
Queerness and Capitalism
Instructor: S. Dillon
Meets: Monday & Wednesday 10:30-11:50 a.m.
In his 1983 essay "Capitalism and Gay Identity," John D'Emilio argued that homosexuality was made possible by the rise of capitalism. Since then, queer scholars have worked to explore more fully the relationship between economics and sexuality. This course will explore debates in queer studies about Marxism; race and class; capital and immigration; neoliberalism and gay rights; labor and queer identity; anti-capitalism and trans politics; among others. We will begin reading selections from Marx's Capital: Vol. 1 to understand the foundation of the study of capitalism, and then we will explore the ways that queer scholars, artists, and activists have modified, challenged, and rewritten Marxist theories, or invented entirely new conceptions of the economic.
Bent Not Broken: A History of Queer Cinema
Instructor: J. Rosskam
Meets: Wednesday 1-3:50 p.m., Tuesday 4-6 p.m.
With an emphasis on American experimental and avant-garde works, this introductory level course will explore one path through the complex and winding history of queer cinema. We will examine some central texts in queer, feminist, and film theory in order to fully consider what makes a film queer, as opposed to gay/lesbian. Students will be required to write weekly response papers, a 10-page analytical paper, and complete an in-class presentation. Some of the filmmakers works we may view include: Derek Jarman, Kenneth Anger, Su Friedrich, Barbara Hammer, Sadie Benning, Yvonne Rainer, Marlon Riggs, Isaac Julien, Gregg Araki, Wu Tsang.
Performing Queerness while Queering Religion: Religion, Ritual, and Research
Instructor: R. McMillian
Meets: Monday & Wednesday 4-5:20 p.m.
Seminar is for the practitioner and the theorist. We will seek to answer questions such as: What constitutes queer performance? Is queer what you are or what you do? And, what are the historical, religious, and political aspects of queer performance? This course is not a history of LGBTQ performance, nor is it a survey of queer theory; rather, this is a course on using performance as a research methodology for interrogating texts and artistic practices. This class invites theatre, dance, and media practitioners to utilize their craft to investigate the multi aspects of queer perfomance. Special attention will be focused on the intersection between Religion (abrahamic) and Queerness.
Mount Holyoke College
Trans*gender and Queer German Cinema: From Third Sex (1919) to Trans-Papa (2012) GNDST 204-06/FLMST 270s/GERMST 231
Instructor: G. Davis
Meets: Tuesday & Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Classic German cinema, 1919-1933, anticipated many present-day gender debates. In educational films, tragedies, travesties, and comedies, many of which were re-made later (Girls in Uniform; Victor Victoria), Weimar Cinema questioned binary definitions of gender, and represented gay and lesbian sexual orientations as standard forms of human sexuality. We will study the link from Weimar to the present through films like Rosa von Praunheim's It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives and The Einstein of Sex, his biography of Magnus Hirschfeld, gay scientist and founder of the Institute of Sexual Science; and 2011-12 films by young women directors, Bernardi's Romeos, Mettke's Transpapa.
Sexuality and Hip-Hop
GNDST 204-7/AFCNA 204
Instructor: Betina Judd
Meets: Monday, 7-9:50 p.m.
Hip Hop music has often been the subject of controversy when it comes to sexuality. Whether it be for misogynist lyrics, homophobic icons or sexually explicit video models, conversations about sexuality and Hip Hop are largely portrayed as having two sides: those who embrace Hip Hop and the "sexuality police." In this class we will explore how conversations about sexuality happen within the communities who are invested in the culture. We will examine how different facets of the culture -- fashion, dance, music, film as well as rap music -- display and talk about sexuality and sexual identity and how these representations impact U.S. popular culture.
Feminist and Queer Theory Through Film
Instructor: Christian Gundermann
Meets: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:40-3:55 p.m.
We will be reading a number of key feminist texts that theorize the construction of sexual difference, and challenge the oppression of women. We will then address queer theory, an offshoot and expansion of feminist theory, and study how it is both embedded in, and redefines, the feminist paradigms. This redefinition occurs roughly at the same time (1980s/90s) when race emerges as one of feminism's prominent blind spots. We will study these shifts through the analysis of a few moving pictures, or, to put it differently: all you always wanted to know about feminism, but didn't think to ask filmmakers such as Almodóvar, Hitchcock, Jarman, Pasolini, Varda, and others.
Sexual & Reproductive Rights/Latin America
GNDST 250/POLIT 255
Instructor: C. Anderson
Meets: Tuesday & Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Since the 1990s Latin America has witnessed increasing societal and political debates over sexual and reproductive rights. Issues such as abortion, gay marriage, transgender rights, sexual education, and assisted reproductive technology have risen to the top of political agendas after decades of silence, taboos, and restrictive or nonexistent legislation. The course provides a survey of sexual and reproductive rights in Latin America highlighting the disparities within the region and analyzing the multiple factors behind current policies.
Sex and the Early Church
GNDST 333T/REL 306
Instructor: M. Penn
Meets: Monday & Wednesday, 1:15-2:30 p.m.
This course examines the various ways first- through fifth-century Christians addressed questions regarding human sexuality. We will concentrate on the rise of sexual asceticism and pay particular attention to the relationship between sexuality and issues of gender, culture, power, and resistance. Primary readings will include letters, narrative accounts of female and male ascetics, monastic rules, and "heretical" scriptures. These will be supplemented by modern scholarship in early Christian studies and the history of sexuality.
Sex Love and Marriage in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Instructor: S. Gilsdorf
Meets: Monday & Wednesday, 1:15-2:30 p.m.
This course explores the relationships of passion, obligation, and love that bound men and women over the course of nearly two millennia, from Rome in the first century B.C.E. to sixteenth-century France. In particular, we focus on the formal ways in which those relationships were organized under the rubric of "marriage", on the social roles created by that institution, on the relationship (or lack thereof) between marriage, love, and sexual passion, and the role of homosocial and homosexual desire within that history.
Gender, Sexuality and the Built Environment
Instructor: Laura Kalba
Meets: Tuesday & Thursday, 10:30-11:50 a.m.
This course investigates how gender and sexuality are constitutive of, and constituted by, the built environment. Approaching the topic from the perspective of nineteenth and twentieth-century European and American history, the course addresses a number of interrelated questions: How have women shaped the built environment? What role has gender played in shaping dominant understandings of private and public spheres? What role does architecture play in defining socially acceptable and unacceptable sexual relationships? Finally, how have the histories of LGBTQ communities marked the urban landscape, and what efforts have been made to preserve these sites?
Queer Cinema/Queer Media
Instructor: Lokeilani L. Kaimana
Meets: Monday & Wednesday, 9-10:20 a.m.
From the queer avant-garde of Kenneth Anger and Su Friedrich, to The Kids Are Alright and Glee, the queer in film and television is often conflated with gay and lesbian representation on screen. Instead of collapsing queer cinema into a representational politics of gay and lesbian film and television, we look at theories and practices that uphold what queerness means in a contemporary framework of America neoliberalism and transnational media. Screenings include the New Queer Cinema classics Paris Is Burning, It Wasn't Love, and Poison, and work by multimedia artists including Shu Lea Cheang, Issac Julien, Carmelita Tropicana, and PJ Raval. Readings by Alexander Doty, Thomas Elsaesser, Kobena Mercer, Jasbir Puar, B. Ruby Rich, Judith Halberstam, Jose E. Munoz's, Chris Straayer and Hayden White.
Immigration and Sexuality
Instructor: Mehammed Mack
Meets: Monday, Wednesday 2:40-4 p.m.
This course examines the place of sexuality in discussions and representations of immigration to France. Through readings, lectures, and film screenings, students discover the role played by sexuality in immigration debates from the 1920's to the present day. As France's media and political parties have debated whether postwar immigration from the former colonies has entailed the erosion of French identity, long-standing claims about religious or ethnic diversity have increasingly been accompanied by a sexualized rhetoric that accuses immigrants of advocating rigid gender norms and intolerance of sexual diversity. Authors studied include Frantz Fanon, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Fadela Amara,and Abdellah Taďa.
Documenting Lesbian Lives
Instructor: Kelly P. Anderson
Meets: Monday & Wednesday, 1:10-2:30 p.m.
Grounding our work in the current scholarship in lesbian history, this course will explore lesbian communities, cultures, and activism. While becoming familiar with the existing narratives about lesbian lives, students will be introduced to the method of oral history as a key documentation strategy in the production of lesbian history. Our texts will include secondary literature on late 20th century lesbian culture and politics, oral history theory and methodology, and primary sources from the Sophia Smith Collection (SSC). Students will conduct, transcribe, edit, and interpret their own interviews for their final project. The course objectives are: an understanding of modern lesbian movements and cultures from a historical perspective, basic skills in and knowledge of oral history methods, and the rich experience of being historians by creating new records of lesbian lives.
Gender, Sexuality, and Popular Culture
Instructor: Anna E. Ward
Meets: Monday & Wednesday 2:40-4 p.m.
How do popular culture texts reinforce and/or challenge social norms? How do they both reflect and construct our sexual and gendered identities, the communities we identify with, what and who we find pleasurable? This course provides an opportunity to think critically about the media around us and what makes popular culture such a tremendous source of both pleasure and displeasure. The course examines a range of popular culture texts, including television, music, and new media. We will focus in-depth on a set of case studies designed to introduce key concepts in feminist and queer media studies, critical media literacy, and cultural studies.
The Gay 80s
Instructor: Kevin E. Quashie
Meets: Tuesday, 1-2:50 p.m.
In this seminar, we will look at the gay cultural aspects of the 1980s. In this regard, we will consider four particular things: the AIDS epidemic in the US and the activism that engages this crisis; the explosion of underground and mainstream art (visual art, music, literature, film, theater) that showcases an interest in thinking about sexuality, gender and gender normativity, sex and eroticism, intersectionality; the decade’s culture of conservatism, especially in relationship to the legacy of the 60s and the 70s; and the emergence of queer studies scholarship. Permission of the instructor required.
Instructor: Anna E. Ward
Meets: Thursday, 1-2:50 p.m.
While scholarship on contemporary American society often emphasizes how distracted and disconnected we are, it can also be argued that we have developed new ways of connecting, generating intimacies that challenge, exceed, or swerve from traditional categorizations (e.g. sexual, familial). What are the queer and feminist resonances of these modes of intimacy? How has new media and technology helped to generate and proliferate new forms of intimacy? Topics include the use of social media, contemporary pornographies, intimacies across time, and the queering of the genre of the "buddy"/road movie.
Cultural Work Memoir
Instructor: Susan R. Van Dyne
Meets: Tuesday & Thursday 3-4:50 p.m.
This seminar takes the foundational premise of SWG that culture constructs subjects and asks how do queer or non-normative subjectivities come into existence? By studying a selection of literary memoirs by women and men in the last half century in the U.S., we will explore the relationships between queer subjectivities, politicized identities, communities, historical moments, and social movements. The course depends on a second more radical premise that we do not have a life until we narrate it. How does life-writing as an expressive act create livable lives? Students will produce analytical essays and a memoir portfolio. Through the process of reflecting, re-imagining, and revising, we explore multiple writing strategies to turn our lives into art. Prerequisites: SWG 150 and at least one other course in the major, with preference for courses in queer studies and literature. Permission of the instructor and writing sample required.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Media, Public Opinion, and LGBT Rights
Instructor: Seth Goldman
Meets: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.
LGBT rights continue to be one of the most contentious issues in American politics. Why is this so? In this course, we will critically examine social science research that has tried to answer these questions. A key emphasis in this class is on the tole of mass media, and the role that it plays in public opinion change.
U.S. LGBT and Queer History
Instructor: Julio Capo
Meets: Tuesday & Thursday, 1-2:15 p.m.
This course surveys how queer individuals and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities have influenced the social, cultural, economic, and political landscape in modern American history.
Psychology of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Experience
Instructor: John Bickford
Meets: M W F 11:15-12:05 p.m.
Students in this course will explore psychological theory and research pertaining to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. Topics include sexual orientation, sexual identity development, stigma management, heterosexism & homonegativity, gender roles, same-sex relationships, LGB families, LGB diversity, and LGB mental health.
Sexuality and Society
#1 (#56164) Tuesday & Thursday, 8-9:15 p.m.
#2 (#57753) Monday & Wednesday, 8:30-9:45 a.m.
Instructor: Amy Schalet
The many ways in which social factors shape sexuality. Focus on cultural diversity, including such factors as race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity in organizing sexuality in both individuals and social groups. Also includes adolescent sexuality; the invention of heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality; the medicalization of sexuality; and social theories about how people become sexual.