Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Women's and Gender Studies


Women's and Gender Studies 298. Experimental Courses

Queer Theory Then and Now

In the late 1980s, queer theory emerged from feminist critiques of gender and sexuality that posited the socially constructed nature of sexual identities as well as the anti-normativity of queerness. Once marginalized, this academic movement is now “old” enough to have a distinct history. Our seminar examines the generational shifts between “older” and “newer” examples of scholarship. Starting with Foucault, we will read canonical theoretical texts alongside those from emerging scholars to visualize the breadth and depth of one of the most important theoretical movements of the past few decades. We will investigate queer theory’s relationship to feminism, theories of AIDS and HIV, gender performativity, public sex, and minoritarian cultures within queerness (e.g., race, class, disability, and transgender issues. Readings will primarily be theoretical, with supplementary material drawing from literature, film, and popular culture. Note: this course has a Western focus.