Introduction to LGBTQ Studies

Spring 2014

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies 205

Professor Andrea Friedman

123 Busch Hall


Office Hours: Wednesday 1-3; or by appointment

Course Description

This course offers an introduction to the topics, questions, and approaches that characterize the rapidly growing field of lesbian/gay/bisexual/trans/queer studies. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will explore such topics as the construction of identities; the relationship between social structures and norms; and different approaches to lgbtq politics and social justice issues, focusing on the United States. We will ask whether and how “lgbtq” functions as a coherent category of analysis, and we will pay particular attention to differences that are contained within, constitute, or disrupt that category.

Required Text

Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Most other required readings are on Ares and can be accessed through the course Blackboard page; readings denoted by “BB” are on the course documents tab of the Blackboard page. I expect that you will have access to all readings during class so that you can refer to them during discussion. I STRONGLY PREFER THAT YOU NOT BRING TO CLASS ELECTRONIC DEVICES THAT CAN BE CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET. Please print readings and bring them with you.

Class Requirements:

·  Class participation. Class sessions will be organized around discussion of assigned readings. Participation in class (as an attentive and informed listener and a speaker who engages in respectful and productive dialogue) is a substantial part of your grade. If you have any concerns about your participation in discussion, please see me to discuss strategies and/or alternatives for demonstrating your engagement with course materials. There will also be in-class assignments (eg, participation in small discussion groups, reading summaries, free writes, and pop quizzes). These will be assessed as part of your participation grade.

o  More than three absences (for whatever reason) will lower your class participation grade.

·  Two 3-4 page reflection papers on assigned topics. More information forthcoming.

·  Take-home midterm exam.

·  Take-home final exam.

Your grade for the course will be assessed as follows:

Class participation 15%

Reflection papers: 15% each (total 30%)

Midterm 25%

Final 30%

ALL course requirements must be met to pass this course. For students who are taking the course pass/fail or credit/no credit, a passing grade is C-.


Washington University provides accommodations and/or services to students with documented disabilities. Students should seek appropriate documentation through the Disability Resource Center, which will approve and arrange any accommodations. Please feel free to speak to me about your individual learning needs.

Language or behavior that makes other students feel unwelcome in this classroom will not be tolerated. Examples range from simply interrupting or ignoring others while they are talking to overt harassment or intimidation with reference to race, sex, gender identity, sexual identity, religion, ethnicity, nationality, ability, or political belief. Washington University’s Policy on Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment can be found at


Plagiarism or other violations of academic integrity will result in a failing grade on the assignment, and may result in a failing grade for the course. Please review Washington University’s academic integrity policy at A helpful guide to understanding plagiarism can be found at

NOTE: This syllabus is a work-in-progress, and may be altered during the course of the semester.

Course Schedule



T 1/14 Introduction

Th 1/16 Safe Zones Training Session


WEEK 2 Histories of Sexualities

T 1/21 READ: “Homosexual and Heterosexual,” “Trade, Wolves, and the

Boundaries of Normal Manhood”

Th 1/23 READ: “Romantic Friendship,” “Identity/Politics”

WEEK 3 Sex, Gender, Bodies

T 1/28 READ: “Sex Change and the Popular Press,” “Hermaphrodites with Attitude”

Th 1/30 READ: “A Hundred Years of Transgender History” “Transcension”

WEEK 4 From Queer to Queer

T 2/4 View in class: Before Stonewall

Th 2/6 READ: “Queers Read This,” “Must Identity Movements Self-Destruct?: A Queer


WEEK 5 Race/Class/Identity

T 2/11 READ: “Contested Membership,” “Black Macho Revisited,” “Remixing the Closet”

Th 2/13 READ: “Tacit Subjects,” “Robin Roberts: A Curious Case of Sexual Discretion” (BB)

WEEK 6 Identity Politics

T 2/18 READ: FUN HOME (complete before class)

Th 2/20 Continue discussion of FUN HOME



WEEK 7 Policing Sex and Gender

Tu 2/25 READ: “Thinking Sex”

Th 2/27 READ: Excerpt from The Trouble with Normal, “Heteronormativity as

Social Theory”

PRIOR TO CLASS: DUC tour (on your own; more info to come)

WEEK 8 Science and Religion

T 3/4 READ: “Creating Natural Distinctions,” “Scientists May Have Finally Unlocked Puzzle”

(BB), “Study: There Is No Gay Gene” (BB)

Th 3/6 READ: “We Shall Overcome,” articles on Pope Francis to be provided



WEEK 10 Recognition and Misrecognition

T 3/18 READ: “Dichotomies & Displacement”; “Why Suzie Wong is Not a Lesbian”

Th 3/20 TBA


WEEK 11 Youth

T 3/25 Gay-Straight Alliance Panel

Th 3/27 READ: “In the wake of it gets better” (BB); “Executive Summary, The 2011 National

School Climate Survey” (BB)

WEEK 12 Rights talk

T 4/1 READ: “Equal Protection and Lesbian and Gay Rights,” “Shape of Subordination,”


Th 4/3 READ: “What’s Wrong with Trans Rights?” “Calling all Restroom Revolutionaries”

VIEW IN CLASS: “Toilet Training”

WEEK 13 Marriage equality

T 4/8 READ: “Why Gay People,” “Here Comes the Groom,” “Queering Citizenship”

Th 4/10 READ: Selections from US v Windsor (BB), selections from NPR “Same-Sex Marriage

and the Supreme Court” blog (BB); additional readings possible


WEEK 14 Homonormativity

T 4/15 READ: “The New Homonormativity”

Th 4/17 READ: Selections, Sycamore, That’s Revolting

WEEK 15 Towards Social Justice

T 4/22 READ: “How Gay Stays White”

Th 4/24 READ: “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens”