SOC-4800/WGS-4010: Queer Social Theory
Queer Social Theory provides a theoretical foundation for analyzing and understanding personal identity as socially manufactured. It is designed for the student to become familiar with the foundational concepts and core methodological debates in queer theory. One of the goals of this course is to map a set of intellectual and empirical issues and use various theoretical perspectives through which to understand the origins of queer theory and its ongoing significance. Therefore, our aim is to better understand how social realities and identities are created, ordered, perpetuated, and deconstructed through a survey of critical, conceptual queer frameworks.
While queer theory emerged out of efforts to highlight marginalized voices and concealed histories of LGBTQIA-identifying individuals, queer theory encompasses a broad range of topics. Queer social theory aims to blur and even dismantle the boundaries that establish and perpetuate categories such as sex, gender, and sexuality in addition to race, class, dis/ability, and environment.
While necessarily interdisciplinary, Queer Social Theory will primarily rely on the sociological imagination, which allows us to interrogate what we take for granted in everyday life and understand the linkages between the intimate and personal and the macro and abstract forces of a global reality.
In Queer Social Theory, students learn how the word queer is not only an adjective but also a verb. Queer, therefore, is synonymous with interrogate, transgress, and change in this regard. Where traditionally marginalized positions in society are invisible, queering seeks to empower and encourage people. So, we will also examine queer activism: its history, currents, and future. While it draws on an aggregation of highly abstract ideas and philosophies, queer theory ultimately is about applying a kind of radical compassion to the world around us: to effect change in the promise of a more socially just reality that is malleable, consensual, and inclusive.