Queer Theory

Course Description: 

Core course in feminist theory for GEMMA students.

This course will look at the political stakes in the division between heterosexuality and other forms of sexuality in particular and interrogates the category of “normal” in general. It is organized around some key concepts fuelling both the thinking of sexuality and the directions of LGBT movements since 1969. The objective of the course is to give an introduction to the poststructuralist body of queer theory. The purpose of the course is to foster critical thinking about the aspects of our, and others', lives we think of as “sexuality” as well as to highlight some basic heteronormative assumptions in modern social thought.

Learning Outcomes: 

At the end of the course, students will be familiar with the main questions within the poststructuralist body of scholarship interrogating sexual normalcy as a political phenomenon known as queer theory and will be competent in navigating among its main concepts, concerns and questions. Their analytical skills will be improved by the close reading of texts that demand an attention to counter-intuitive reflexivity and therefore improve their skills to engage in independent, critical scholarship and the oral and written assignments help students to improve their skills to articulate their thoughts as academic questions and problems.


This is a reading-intensive course. You need to come to class having read the assignments and ready to discuss them. The requirements are designed to fit the difficult reading load of the course and to improve specific skills of academic writing.

Class participation:

You are required to attend class consistently. Please come to class having read, and bringing with you, the assigned texts. Your active participation (listening as well as speaking) will be expected. Generally, the more active class participation is in a class, the more intellectually stimulating it becomes, so I hope that you will always share your thoughts during discussion. You may miss one class without formal documentation of illness or any other case of vis major. Please let me know in advance if you know you won’t come to class.


At the beginning of each class, we’ll spend 15-20 minutes in groups. During this time you can discuss your impression of the texts and suggest questions for general class discussion.  At the end of the class we will discuss a limited selection of these points and questions. For this component of the course to work well it is very important that you arrive to class on time.

Exegetic paragraphs (detailed but concise summary of an idea or an argument without any interpretation or critique):

There is a specific key term or idea identified in almost all of the readings. You find these underlined after the respective text in the schedule. You will have to write brief exegetic summaries of most of these terms (cca. one 300-word paragraph per exegesis). These exegetic paragraphs will be due in two sets of 5, one at mid-term time covering the readings from Week 1 to 6, the other at the end of the course covering texts from Week 7 to 12. The first exegetic paragraph will be due the second class. You can later include this one or a revised version of it in your midterm set.

Peer feedback

After submitting the midterm set of exegetic paragraphs, you will receive two sets written by your peers. You will have to read them carefully and give constructive feedback on them in writing. The feedback will be due two weeks after you received the sets. Please send them to the writer and to me.