UPCOMING COURSES: Introduction to Queer Studies, Virtual Worlds & Video Games, Feminist Science Fiction (Autumn 2016)

I have a full slate this coming autumn quarter.  Here are the courses I am teaching this fall at the University of Oregon:

WGS 201: Introduction to Queer Studies
“Queer Inquiries”
MW 4-5:20 PM

DRAWING INSPIRATION from Raymond William’s influential Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society and Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler’s Keywords for American Cultural Studies, this class will identify and explore some of the key concepts, moves, and key terms of the interdisciplinary fields that make up lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies. Topics, themes, methods, and lines of inquiry will include:

• histories of sexuality and sexual identity;
• the politics of identity, embodiment, and desire;
• heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, normativity, and other forms of oppression;
• queer resistance, activism, liberation, and worldmaking;
• intersectionality with race, gender, class, family, religion, ability, and nation;
• and finally, queer temporalities, spaces, and technologies.

THROUGH THE LENSES of scholarship, media, and popular culture, our class will trace and trouble theoretical and everyday understandings of LGBT and Q terms, figures, bodies, and experiences. Williams argued, “I have emphasized this process of the development of Keywords because it seems to me to indicate its dimension and purpose. It is not a dictionary or glossary of a particular academic subject. It is not a series of footnotes to dictionary histories or definitions of a number of words. It is, rather, the record of an inquiry into a vocabulary: a shared body of words and meanings.” This class therefore is all about reading, thinking, writing, and contributing to LGBT studies’ shared body of words, ideas, and theories.

WGS 361: Gender,  Film, Television, and Media
“#GamerGate to #INeedDiverseGames: Gender, Race, and Queerness in Virtual Worlds & Video Games”
MW 2-3:20 PM

ALEXANDER GALLOWAY in Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture argues that play “is a symbolic action for larger issues in culture” (16) and that video games “render social realities into playable form” (17). Using a broad archive of “imagined worlds”–drawing on literature, digital games, film, scholarship, and popular culture–this course will consider the questions: Why study these “imagined worlds,” how are they important, and what values do they have? In this course, we will look at and analyze media texts old and new through the interdisciplinary lenses of feminist, queer, and cultural studies, and we deploy virtual worlds and video games as theories about and dramatizations of different social relationships and realities, to unpack and analyze the intersections of cultural formations like race, gender, class, nation, and sexuality, particularly in response to the recent and ongoing racist, sexist, and phobic backlashes in game cultures and gamer communities. We will look at how virtual worlds and video games can be rhetorical, political, and popular challenges to the problems above, and in the words of Gonzalo Frasca, how “they can be used for conveying passionate ideas…to deliver an ideological message.”

WGS 410/510: Feminist Science Fiction
“Le Guin, Tiptree, Butler”
TuTh 4-5:20 PM

ACCORDING TO author and linguist Suzette Haden Elgin, “SF is the only genre of literature in which it’s possible for a writer to explore the question of what this world would be like if you could get rid of [X], where [X] is filled in with any of the multitude of real world facts that constrain and oppress women.” Extending Elgin’s definition, our course will engage feminist speculative and science fiction as political and vernacular theory, as strategies for thinking critically about the past, present, and future in order to imagine “what this world would be like” under different conditions and configurations of gender, race, sexuality, ability, and other formations. In other words, how might we read, think, create, and build alternative worlds, alternative possibilities? We will focus on the literature and papers of Ursula K. Le Guin, James Tiptree, Jr., and Octavia Butler. To that end, this course will take advantage of the University of Oregon’s Special Collections and University Archives feminist science fiction holdings, one of the world’s most important collections of feminist science fiction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *