WGS 422/522 (17366/7)
Download the course policies and syllabus (PDF).
"You have some queer friends, Dorothy...The queerness doesn't matter, so long as they're friends."
"That's one of the things that 'queer' can refer to: the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps,
dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone's
gender, of anyone's sexuality aren't made (or can't be made) to signify monolithically."
IN THE INTRODUCTION of the special issue of Social Text entitled "What's Queer about Queer Studies Now?", David L. Eng, Judith Halberstam, and José Esteban Muñoz write, "In recent years, scholars in the field have produced a significant body of work...[that insist] considerations of empire, race, migration, geography, subaltern communities, activism, and class are central to the continuing critique of queerness, sexuality, sexual subcultures, desire, and recognition. At the same time, [they] also suggest that some of the most innovative and risky work on globalization, neoliberalism, cultural politics, subjectivity, identity, family, and kinship is happening in the realm of queer studies...[to reevaluate] the utility of queer as an engaged mode of critical inquiry...[to chart] some of the notable historical shifts in the field since its inception while recognizing different pasts, alternative presents, and new futures for queer scholarship."
THIS ADVANCED CLASS will offer an intensive survey of the key terms, texts, and questions of the interdisciplinary fields that make up queer theory and cultural studies, paying particular attention to recent debates and conversations raised above. Through the lenses of literature, scholarship, new and old media, and even popular culture, we will engage gender, sexuality, race, nation, (dis)ability, technology, and other identities and intersectionalities. Texts may include Michel Foucault, Roderick Ferguson, Judith Butler, Robert McRuer, Jasbir Puar, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Lee Edelman, Samuel Delany, Jose Esteban Munoz, Judith Halberstam, Michael Warner, Donna Haraway, Susan Stryker, Robyn Wiegman, and others.
A REQUIREMENT for this class is a well-developed curiosity and a willingness to explore and interrogate interdisciplinary lines of inquiry. Our seminar will be organized like a graduate-level readings seminar engaging literature, scholarship, old and new media, and even popular culture. This class will spend the semester reading, thinking, watching, discussing, researching, playing, and writing about various narratives and theoretical perspectives and how and what these texts argue, reveal, narrate, hide, perpetuate, and complicate the world we live in.
SPECIFICALLY, our course goals include:
We will develop and demonstrate proficiency with a range of texts, terms, and theories of queer theory
and cultural studies.
WE WILL spend the quarter asking and addressing difficult, challenging,
and sometimes discomforting ideas, questions, and topics, focusing on different identities, bodies, histories,
desires, experiences, and even struggles and violences. Whether on the page, screen, on campus, or in the
community, we will explore and engage multiple perspectives, levels of familiarity with the material, and
heady and heartfelt responses. In other words, our class will be a safe, respectful, but not necessarily
comfortable space. While pushing boundaries and comfort zones are essential to critical thinking, making
connections, and intellectual and personal freedom, see me with concerns and queries, for reasonable
accommodations, and for further resources on campus.
Required Course Texts & Materials
Burgett & Hendler, Eds., Keywords for American Cultural Studies (2nd Edition).
Optional Course Texts
McRuer & Wilkerson, Eds., GLQ: Desiring Disability.
Download the course policies and syllabus (PDF).
Requirements & Grading
Your grade should not be the sole exigence or motivation for this class. It is the hope of the course that you walk away from WGS 422/522 with something more. Find some pleasure and some edification and some knowledge from this class (or any class really) and success is usually not far behind. With that in mind, your grade will be a reflection of engagement, effort, close reading, critical thinking, writing, and participation.
Critical Context & Question Presentation (10%)
You will be a required to sign up for an oral presentation individually or in pairs. For your presentation, you will read the texts assigned for a particular week, summarize the main arguments, generate a critical question or two, and get class discussion started for the day. A short single-spaced half-sheet or 1-page handout copied for the whole class is encouraged. Presentations are 8-10 minutes, may include media, and each presenter must have a speaking part. Graduate students will be expected to lead a longer and more developed conversation.
Précis Papers (30%)
The majority of the writing you will do for this class is in the form of short, analytical Précis papers. These single-spaced, one-page writings serve as close readings of, analytical summaries of, and articulations of the main arguments and ideas of one of the week's theoretical texts. These responses are not personal reactions or applications of theory and will be graded on clarity, focus, coherence, and your ability to formulate concise detail. You will be required to generate a précis paper approximately every other week for a total of 6. See the response paper prompt for more details. See the Précis paper prompt for more details All Précise papers are submitted electronically through Canvas.
Research Proposal (10%)
As part of your Seminar Paper research and writing process, you will be required to generate a 1-page research proposal in business memo format. You will also arrange for a conference with me to go over your proposal. Proposals will be graded for clarity, detail, completion, and manuscript format. Your proposal and conference must be completed at least two weeks prior to the end of the quarter. See the research proposal paper prompt for more information.
Major Paper (20%)
The semester culminates in an 8-10 page major paper building on the critical question, claim, and research you started with your Research Proposal. The seminar paper must identify a clear topic or line of inquiry, articulate a specific analytical argument, put at least three of the course's theoretical texts in conversation, and integrate and incorporate recent, relevant academic research. See the seminar paper prompt for more information. Graduate students will be expected to write a 15-20 page paper with additional research.
Participation and Preparedness (30%)
Preparedness and participation forms a large component of your final grade. It is essential that you prepare for class, attend class, and participate. Missing class may seriously compromise your ability to do well in this class. Moreover, negative participation will hurt your participation grade. Participation is determined by 1) your respectful presence in class and interactions with me and others, 2) your willingness to discuss, comment, and ask questions, 3) your preparation for class, which includes bringing required materials to class and doing all of the assigned reading for class, 4) your engagement in group work, and 5) your care and use of the class Canvas--henceforth called the "class blog"--bookmark the address, check and comment regularly, think of the blog as an extension of class:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
"The queer couple in the straight space might look like they are slanting, or oblique...We could describe heteronormativity
as a straightening device, which rereads the 'slant' of queer desire...For me, the important task is not so much finding a
queer line but asking what our orientation towards queer moments of deviation will be."
Attendance is required. If you are absent, you miss the explanation of an assignment, the discussion of a reading,
the chance to participate, and overall, the class as a community of learning. Also, you are expected to be in class
on time. Class will start immediately at the appointed time. In the first minutes of class I may make important
announcements, establish the agenda for the class meeting, begin immediately with an important lesson, or field
questions. If you come in after we start class, even by only a few minutes, you are late you will be marked as such.
Chronic or conspicuous attendance problems will negatively affect your overall participation grade for the class.
Moreover, absences for more than 9 class session (50% of class time or more) will result in a failing grade regardless of reason.
If you know you are going to or must miss class, please let me know (via email) as soon as possible and make any
necessary arrangements. When you do miss class, always find another student to get class notes or see me during
office hours in order to make up missed work in a timely manner. You are always responsible for all material
covered during your absence.
Précis Paper Formatting
1) 1" margins top, bottom, left, and right on each page.
2) Single-spaced block header with your name, date, course, my name. For example:
3) Response (week) number and title (e.g. Week #2: The Trouble with Normal).
4) Response papers are single-spaced and can be in block paragraph format.
5) Standard Times Roman Font, 12 point only.
6) Correct MLA citation and bibliographic format. Bibliography if necessary.
For further details, see the response paper prompt assignment sheet.
All papers must be typed or produced on a word processor. All documents should be saved in Microsoft Word format; if you do not have access to Word, then save your documents in PDF or Rich Text Format (RTF).
All papers must follow the manuscript format outlined by the assignment. All papers must use MLA citation and documentation conventions. All papers must be neatly printed (in black), single-sided, stapled in the top, left-hand corner if necessary, and not be three-hole punched. Papers that do not follow these format guidelines will not be accepted. They will be returned unread to you. Papers will be regarded as late until they are resubmitted in the proper format. Response Papers and the Critical Review have different manuscript guidelines detailed by their assignment prompts.
Always make a backup copy of every paper you turn in, lest you be one of the unhappy people whose paper is eaten by the computer. You may even want to take the precaution of e-mailing your paper to yourself as an attachment at least a couple of times during the drafting process and certainly BEFORE you exit the document for the last time and leave the computer. This way, even if you lose your flash drive or your paper gets mysteriously erased, you still have a copy in your e-mail files.
Over the course of the semester, your assignments will receive feedback and comments that will identify what you are doing well and what still needs improvement. Your grades assess your fulfillment of the assignment, the quality of work, detail, analysis, and argumentation, overall effort, and finally, style, polish, and risk taking. Consider the following evaluation rubric as signposts or a kind of legend to your progress and evaluation:
Outstanding (A/A+): Offers a very highly proficient, even memorable demonstration
of the trait(s) associated with the course or assignment goal(s), including some
appropriate risk-taking and/or creativity.
All assignments must be done completely and turned in on time. Late assignments will be penalized half a grade for every day that they are late. So, if your essay is late by one day and you received a B- for your work, then your final grade would be a C+. Moreover, I will not comment on late work. However, you still need to complete late work or you will receive a zero. If you miss class on the due date of a paper, you must notify me and make arrangements to get the paper to me as soon as possible. Unless previously arranged, I DO NOT accept assignments via email. Remember that a paper has not been officially handed in until it is in my hands. Never turning anything in late is always the best policy.
Download the course policies and syllabus.
My office and office hours are listed in the left sidebar. I am available during that time and by appointment to help you. I encourage you to come see me early in the semester even if it is just to talk about the class, about the assignments, or about school in general. I may ask you to meet with me when I think a conference would be useful. My office is located on the third floor of Hendricks Hall (southeast of the EMU), Room 322. See http://map.uoregon.edu/.
I am also available electronically by email and the course blog. Email and the blog are the best means of contacting me. I will do my best to answer your emails and blog posts, usually within twenty-four hours. If there is an emergency and you need to reach me, please contact the main English office in Sitterly 108. Furthermore, when time permits, I will supplement my office hours with virtual hours via AOL Instant Messenger or Google Talk (nickname: EDagogy); if I am logged in, during reasonable hours, you are more than welcome to discuss the class or ask questions. Please, when you initiate an IM conversation for the first time, please identify yourself to me; also, be patient because my responses may not be immediate.
You can find additional writing and academic help at the Teaching and Learning Center on campus, a good resource for this class and other classes. The TLC is located in 68 Prince Lucien Campbell (PLC) Hall and offers a variety of services including help with reading, papers, brainstorming ideas, and research. See http://tlc.uoregon.edu/ to make an appointment and for more information.
Further resources, both on- and off-campus can be found on the Links page of the course website:
Learning (With) Technology
Unless you have an official accommodation, the use of technology in our classroom is a privilege, not a right. Mobile devices like phones, media players, and cameras should be off and put away. Computers and tablets should be used for note-taking, in-class work, and readings only. Print is generally preferred for course texts and readings, but full-size e-versions are acceptable provided the student is able to readily highlight, annotate, and index. Finally, be conscientious and respectful in the use of the course website and social media and post no material from class to the internet or non-class sites without explicit permission from the instructor and the class. Keep in mind these three rules:
1) Use the Right Tool for the situation and the task--keep it simple and elegant, 2) Practice Best Practices--it must improve or enhance your learning, 3) Be a Good Neighbor--it cannot distract or detract from others' learning.
Inappropriate use and abuse of technology in class will result in the taking away of technology privileges for the offending student and/or class as a whole.
All students are required to uphold the highest academic standards. Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is presenting someone else's ideas or writing as your own. In your writing for this class, you are encouraged to refer to other people's thoughts and writing--as long as you cite them. Many students do not have a clear understanding of what constitutes plagiarism, so feel free to ask questions at any time. For our class, plagiarism includes:
a student failing to cite sources of ideas
If you have any doubt about how to cite or acknowledge another's writing, please talk to me. Any plagiarism or academic dishonesty will result in failure of this course. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Please review the University of Oregon's Guidelines for Plagiarism at http://libweb.uoregon.edu/guides/plagiarism/students/.
Please let me know in the first week of class if you require academic accommodations based on a disability registered with Accessible Education Services. The University of Oregon is an inclusive learning environment. For more information, contact the Accessible Education Center (formerly Disability Services) in 164 Oregon Hall at 541-346-1155 or http://aec.uoregon.edu/.
Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct
The University of Oregon is committed to ensuring that all students have access to a quality learning experience
and the opportunity to pursue their academic goals in a safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment. Any
form of sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, and gender-based stalking and bullying is contrary
to the community values of the institution. Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and
gender is a Civil Rights offense subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied
to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, and so on. As your instructor, I have
a mandatory reporting responsibility and am required by law to share with the University any information regarding
sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have occurred on campus. For more information about policies
and resources or confidential reporting options, see the Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity:
or the Dean of Students' page on Student Conduct & Community Standards:
"If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities."
"If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."
"Where there is power, there is resistance."
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