Queer Theories and Sexual Politics

Dr. Michael Faris

Course Description

Queer theory is an interdisciplinary set of approaches that resists categorization. In A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory, Nikki Sullivan highlights the frustration that many students and scholars new to queer theory feel: She writes that queer theory “is a discipline that refuses to be disciplined, a discipline with a difference, with a twist if you like. In saying this, however, I don’t mean to endow Queer Theory with some sort of ‘Tinkerbell effect’; to claim that no mater how hard you try you’ll never manage to catch it because it is ethereal, quixotic, unknowable” (v). Queer theory can be so diffcult to “catch” because of its interdisciplinary approaches and because it questions and critiques binaries, hierarchies, and assumptions that are commonly held, including those about the regulation of sexuality, gender and sexual identity, knowledge production, citizenship, rights claims, family, and ethics. In this seminar, we will attempt to “catch” queer theory by reading and responding to a variety of queer theorists.