Queer Theory and Politics

SPRING: Tuesdays, 5:30 – 8:30 PM
January 28, 2014 – May 6, 2014
Building and Room TBD

This class aims to familiarize students with the core texts and key debates that have shaped queer theory.  We trace the expansion of the term "queer" from its early contestation with LGBT identities and politics to its current use as a broad framework that designates non-normative modes of knowledge, cultural practices, and political activism.  Central to our investigation are the intersections between queer theory and feminism and critical race theory.  Weaving analyses of foundational queer and feminist texts, cultural productions, and activist treatises, we will explore an expansive and radical contemporary queer politics, pushing beyond narrow constructions of identity politics, anti-discrimination policy, and rights-based reforms.  This class will ultimately engage Queer Theory by means of a rich philosophical and political interrogation of the meaning and content of “queer."  


Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman is Associate Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Brandeis University.  She specializes in African American literature and culture and gender and sexuality studies.  She is the author of Against the Closet: Black Political Longing and the Erotics of Race (Duke UP).

C. Heike Schotten is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she teaches political theory, feminist theory, and queer theory.  She is the author of Nietzsche’s Revolution:  Décadence, Politics, and Sexuality (Palgrave, 2009) and is currently at work on a book manuscript on queer biopolitics.

Suzanna Danuta Walters is the Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University.  She is the author of The Tolerance Trap: How God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality (NYU Press, 2014); All the Rage: the story of gay visibility in America; Material Girls: making sense of feminist cultural theory; and Lives Together/Worlds Apart: mothers and daughters in popular culture as well as numerous articles and book chapters on feminist theory, sexuality studies, and cultural studies.


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Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-211
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: 617-324-2085