Oberlin College

Oberlin College
CAS 211
Spring 2004
Time: T/Th 1:30 – 2:45
Location: King 327
Dr. Meredith Raimondo
Phone: 5-5291
Office Hours: T/Th 3:00 – 4:30 or by appt.
Office: King 141G
Email: meredith.Raimondo@oberlin.edu
From the Supreme Court to reality television, national visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and queer identities has drawn increased attention to the relationship of queer
sexualities to national identity. In this course, we will examine the production of non-normative
sexual identities in the United States as they intersect with important social markers such as race,
class, gender, and nation. Situating specific case studies in historical, social, and comparative
context, the class will explore a range of themes such as labels and naming, the intersection of
racial and sexual sciences, processes of community formation, the politics of embodiment, and
social justice movements. Using an interdisciplinary range of methods and sources, we will ask
how a comparative perspective works to challenge fundamental assumptions about the study of
sexuality. Throughout the course we will explore the relationship to identity formation to social
justice. Because this course offers a broad introduction to the field of LGBTQ studies, it is
necessarily selective. Students will have the opportunity to pursue topics and questions in more
depth through a research paper which focuses in greater depth on a specific issue.
Required Texts:
Books are available at the Oberlin College Bookstore (or on reserve at Mudd Library):
Mary Bernstein and Renate Reimann, ed. Queer Families, Queer Politics: Challenging Culture and the State.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.
Alexandra Chasin. Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to the Market. New York: Palgrave
Macmillan, 2001.
Eli Clare. Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999.
Randall Keenan. A Visitation of Spirits. New York: Vintage, 2000 [1989].
Cherrie Moraga. Loving in the War Years: Lo Que Nunca Paso Por Sus Labios. Boston: South End Press,
Siobahn Somerville. Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture.
Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.
Articles marked with a * in the schedule of readings are available through E-Res. Articles with a
URL can be accessed directly through the Oberlin College computer network.
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Course Policies:
Discussion: The academic study of sexuality often addresses issues that are controversial or
which raise strong personal feelings. There are few “right” answers to the questions we are
exploring; my goal in this course is to provide you the skills to express effectively your own
arguments and positions. It is therefore critical that everyone commits to making this classroom
a space for the honest and open expression of difference. Learning from people who do not
share your views can be a challenging but invaluable experience. I ask that each member of the
class commit to responding to carefully thought ideas and questions with patience and respect.
Reading: It is important to cultivate the skills that allow you to manage lengthy reading
assignments. Do not try to read every word; read for the key arguments, methods, and sources.
We will discuss strategies for being an effective reader in class. If you find you are having
trouble finishing the reading, please see me so we can identify effective strategies for completing
the assignments.
Format: Written assignments should be typed/word-processed, double-spaced, use a standard
font type and size (generally 12 point, Times New Roman or the equivalent), and include your
name, the date, and page numbers. Papers must be stapled—do not turn in loose pages. Please
be sure to proofread carefully for style and grammar before you submit written work. Papers
that do not conform to formatting direction may be given an addition 1/3 of a grade penalty.
Late Policy: Course assignments must be submitted on time. Papers due in class must be turned
in at the start of class—if you arrive late, the paper will be considered one day late. I will deduct
1/3 of a grade for each day (24 hours) an assignment is late (i.e., from B+ to B). Late papers
may not receive written comments. Please save your work often to avoid computer-related
disasters and be sure to allow sufficient time to print in case of technical difficulties. Requests
for extensions must be submitted in writing (email is fine) at least twenty-four hours prior to the
assignment due date. Generally, extensions are only available for extraordinary circumstances.
If you have received an extension, you must attach a written or printed statement of the new due
date to which we agreed to the assignment.
Honor Code: This course will follow the policies described in the Oberlin College Honor Code.
Be sure to cite the work of others to preserve intellectual integrity and avoid plagiarism. I
encourage you to provide help and resources to each other, but the final product should be your
own work. If you wish to acknowledge significant ideas contributed to your paper by a class
member, you may cite that person. If you have any questions about citation or the relationship of
the Honor Code to your work in this course, please let me know. For more information on the
Honor Code, see http://www.oberlin.edu/students/student_pages/honor_code.html.
Students with Disabilities: If you need disability-related accommodations in your work for this
course, please let me know. Support is available through Student Academic Services—please
contact Jane Boomer, Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities (Room G27 Peters
Hall, ext. 58467) for assistance in developing a plan to address your academic needs.
CAS 211
1. PARTICIPATION (10%): In order for our time in class together to be as productive as
possible, you will be expected to contribute to three areas as follows:
Attendance: This course includes significant discussion of assigned materials; therefore,
your consistent attendance is required. After two absences, additional absences will
generally lower your final grade in the course. In case of illness or personal emergency,
absences may be excused through a doctor or dean’s note. Out of respect for your
classmates, please be ready to begin work at the scheduled start time. Be aware that
significant lateness will be counted as a missed class.
Discussion: Your thoughtful spoken analysis and active listening will be a central
component of your work in this course. If you are uncomfortable speaking in class, please
come and see me and we can discuss strategies for your participation. I expect everyone to
commit to making this course a space in which people can exchange and examine ideas
respectfully. The goal is not for everyone to agree, but for everyone’s ideas to be heard and
considered. We will discuss course members’ goals and expectations for class discussions
together during one of our first meetings.
In-class Activities: In-class activities may include discussion in small groups, writing
assignments, or other collaborative work. These assignments will not be graded but must be
2. ESSAY #1 (20%). 4 – 6 pages. Due March 1 at 4 p.m. to King 141-G. Steven Epstein
writes that “these sexual identities are both inescapable and transformable” (147). Drawing
on the readings you have completed for this class so far, explain what you think he means by
this characterization of identity. Do you find this definition of identity useful, or would you
change elements of it? Further suggestions and instructions for answering this question will
be provided in class.
3. ESSAY #2 (20%). 4 – 6 pages. Due April 26 at 4 p.m. to King 141-G. Drawing on the
readings you have completed so far in this course, answer the following question: How does
a focus on LGBTQ identities help or hinder the achievement of social justice? Hint: This is
a very broad question, so the most productive answers will necessarily narrow it in specific
ways. On what aspect/element of LGBT identities will you focus? How will you define
social justice? You might choose a specific case study here like medical discrimination,
racism in queer communities, or the normalization of family forms. Further suggestions for
answering this question will be provided in class.
4. REASEARCH PROJECT (40% total). The research project is designed to allow you to
pursue a specific interest in more depth. Projects must engage in some way with the concept
of LGBT identities and utilize primary and secondary research. More detailed instructions
will be provided in class.
CAS 211
a. Proposal (5%). 1 – 2 pages. Due March 11 at the start of class. Describe your topic and
identify one or more questions you hope to answer through your research. Why does this
topic interest you and how does it relate to the themes of the course? Proposal should
include a brief annotated bibliography of 3 – 4 books or articles (at least two secondary).
b. Initial Draft (10%). [Length: The final draft will be 8 – 10 pages; initial drafts must be a
minimum of 6 pages]. One copy is due to me on April 12 at 4 p.m. to King 141-G; one
copy is due to your peer editor in class on 13. This draft must include all of the necessary
sections of the argument (introduction, body, and conclusion) and offer in-depth analysis
of specific sources. It may not be in outline form or contain free writing/brainstorming.
In addition to receiving a grade and comments from me, you will receive feedback from a
peer editor.
c. Peer Editing Assignment (5%). Two copies due April 15 at the start of class. Specific
instructions will be distributed in class.
d. Final Draft (20%). Due May 13 at the start of class. When you turn in your final draft,
you must submit the rough draft with my comments as well as your peer editor’s
will continue its conversations electronically using Blackboard. There are two parts to this
Weekly Posts. You are required to post a minimum of two times each week for ten
week for a total of 20 posts. You may skip any two weeks of your choosing. You will
not receive credit for more than two posts a week, though you should feel free to
participate in the conversation as often as you like. Please read the entire board before
you post. If you are responding to a previous post, please include your response in the
appropriate thread. If you are beginning a new topic, please start a new thread. Be sure to
post to the correct folder for each week; if you want to continue a conversation over from
the previous week, please start a new thread in the appropriate folder with a brief
summary of the issues you wish to pursue. You may post on any subject related to the
class as long as you offer a clear argument or question and support it with specific
evidence from course materials. Approximately length should be one well-thought
paragraph. The best posts will engage directly with other poster’s thoughts and ideas. I
expect that electronic discussions will be conducted with the same respect and active
listening as in-class discussions. This space is not intended for venting, but rather for
thoughtful discussion of ideas that includes respectfully expressed differences of opinion.
Posts will be graded credit/no credit.
b. Final Assessment. 3 – 4 pages. Due May 16 to King 141-G. A brief paper assessing
your participation in the Blackboard threaded discussion that identifies your key
questions, interests, and arguments. Further instructions will be provided in class.
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Summary of Deadlines:
Twice a week
Mar 1
Mar 11
Apr 12
April 15
Apr 26
May 13
May 16
Blackboard Threaded Discussion
Essay 1
Preliminary Research Proposal
Initial Draft
Peer editing response
Essay 2
Final Draft
Blackboard Final Assessment
Summary of Grading Policy:
Blackboard Participation..........10%
Essay 1………….…………….20%
Essay 2………….…….............20%
Initial Draft. ………..................10%
Peer Edit………………………..5%
Final Draft………………..……20%
Schedule of Readings:
(This schedule may change; if so, you will be informed in advance.)
Desiring Selves: Sexualities, Identities, Subjectivities
T Feb 10: Introductions
Th Feb 12: Identity and Belonging:
·José Quiroga, “Latino Cultures, Imperial Sexualities,” 191 – 226*
·Cathy Cohen, “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens,” 200 – 227*
· Nayan Shah, “Sexuality, Identity, and the Uses of History,” 481 – 490*
T Feb 17: Conceptualizing and Contesting Categories:
·Steven Epstein, “Gay Politics, Ethnic Identity,” 134 – 159*
·Paula Rodríguez Rust, “Popular Images and the Growth of Bisexual
Community and Visibility,” 537 – 553*
·David Valentine, “We’re ‘Not about Gender,’” 222 – 245*
CAS 211
Th Feb 19: Historicizing Identity Categories:
·Somerville, 1 - 58
T Feb 24: Intersections and Hybridities:
·Somerville, 58 - 110
Th Feb 26: Racialized Sexualities:
·Somerville, 111 – 176
M Mar 1:
Paper due at 4 p.m. to King 141-G
Pleasures and Perils of Embodiment
T Mar 2:
Geographies of the Body:
· Clare, 1 – 64
·Terry Tafoya, “M. Dragonfly,” 192 – 200*
·Minnie Bruce Pratt, “Husband,” 96*
Th Mar 4:
Queer Bodies and Social Justice:
·Clare, 65 – 138
·Morgan Holmes, “Queer Cut Bodies,” 84 - 110
T Mar 9:
On the Body’s Survival:
·Benjamin Junge, “Bareback Sex, Risk, and Eroticism,” 186 – 221*
· Janice Ristock, “Community-Based Research,” 137 - 154*
Th Mar 11: Library Session (Please note: Class will meet in Mudd 443):
· Jay Prosser, “Mirror Images,” 99 – 134*
· Regina Kunzel, “Situating Sex,” 253 – 270 [available from a network computer at
**Research paper proposal due at the start of class
T Mar 16: Fetishes, Phalluses, and Other Queer Markers
·Richard Fung, “Looking for My Penis,” 181 -198*
·Heather Findlay, “Freud’s ‘Fetishism and the Lesbian Dildo Debates,” 151 –
· Jason Cromwell, “Queering the Binaries: Transsituated Identities, Bodies, and
Sexualities,” 122 - 136*
Th Mar 18: Looking Like What You Are?—Queering Appearance:
·Sara Auerbach and Rebekah Bradley, “Resistance and Reinscription,” 27 –
·Jill Nagle, “Skinny, ‘White’ Chicks and Hung Buff Boys,” 439 – 453*
·JeeYeun Lee, “Why Suze Wong is Not a Lesbian,” 115 - 312
CAS 211
Selfhood, Communities, and Belonging
T Mar 23: Possible/Impossible Selves:
· Kenan, 1 - 138
Th Mar 25: The Borders of Community:
· Kenan, 139 - 257
T Mar 30: Spring Break
Th Apr 1:
Spring Break
T Apr 6:
Narrating Resistance:
·Moraga, 1 - 81
Th Apr 8:
Origins and Desires:
·Moraga, 82 – 212
M Apr 12: Research Paper Rough draft due at 4 p.m. to King 141-G
T Apr 13: Visualizing Selves: Allen Museum Visit:
·bell hooks, “Being the Subject of Art,” 133 – 137*
·Lisa Corrin, “Mining the Project Experiences,” 47 – 58*
·Douglas Crimp, “The Boys in My Bedroom,” 344 – 349*
·Judith Halberstam, “The Body in Question,” 37 – 38*
·Robert Atkins, “Goodbye Lesbian/Gay History, Hello Queer Sensibility,” 80 –
***1 copy of paper due to peer editor at the start of class
Queer Socialities: Friends, Families, Lovers
Th Apr 15: Family Forms:
·Bernstein and Reimann, 21 – 67, 86 – 103
***Peer Editing form due at the start of class
T Apr 20: Structuring Intimacies:
· Bernstein and Reimann, 104 - 72
Th Apr 22: Queering Reproduction:
· Bernstein and Reimann, 75 – 230
M Apr 26: Paper # 2 due at 4 p.m. to King 141-G
T Apr 27: State-ing the Obvious? Legal Recognition of Relationships
· Bernstein and Reimann, 306 – 357, 379 – 419
CAS 211
Political Organizing and Activism
Th Apr 29: ·Chasin, 1 – 56
T May 4:
·Chasin, 57 - 182
Th May 6:
·Chasin, 183 - 245
T May. 11: Direct Action:
· Liz Highleyman, “Radical Queers or Queer Radicals?,” 106 - 120*
· Benjamin Shepard, “Amanda Milan and the Rebirth of the Street Trans Action
Revolutionaries,” 156 – 163*
Th May 13: Final Thoughts
***Research paper due at the start of class
T May 16: Blackboard Assessment due at 4 p.m. to King 141G
Citations for Articles on Reserve
Robert Atkins. “Goodbye Lesbian/Gay History, Hello Queer Sensibility: Meditating on Curatorial Practice.” Art
Journal 55, no. 4 (Winter 1996): 80 – 86.
Sara Auerbach and Rebekah Bradley. “Resistance and Reinscription: Sexual Identity and Body Image among
Lesbian and Bisexual Woman.” In Looking Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and
Transgender Communities. Ed. Dawn Atkins. New York: Harrington Press, 1998. 27 – 36.
Cathy Cohen. “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?” In Sexual
Identities, Queer Politics. Ed. Mark Blasius. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. 200 – 227.
Lisa Corrin, ed. “Mining the Project Experiences.” In Mining the Museum: An Installation by Fred Wilson. New
York: The New Press, 1994. 47 – 58.
Jason Cromwell. “Queering the Binaries: Transsituated Identities, Bodies, and Sexualities.” In Transmen and
FTMs: Identities, Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999. 122 – 136.
Douglas Crimp. “The Boys in My Bedroom.” In The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, ed. Henry Abelove et al.
New York: Routledge, 1993. 344 – 349.
Steven Epstein. “Gay Politics, Ethnic Identity: The Limits of Social Constructionism.” In Social Perspectives in
Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader. Ed. Peter Nardi and Beth Schneider. New York: Routledge, 1998. 134 –
Heather Findlay. “Freud’s Fetishism and the Lesbian Dildo Debates.” In Lesbian Subjects: A Feminist Studies
Reader. Ed. Martha Vicinus. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996. 151 – 166.
Richard Fung. “Looking for My Penis.” In Asian American Sexualities: Dimension of the Gay and Lesbian
Experience. Ed. Russell Leong. New York: Routledge, 1998. 181 -198.
Judith Halberstam. “The Body in Question: Transgender Images in Contemporary Visual Art.” Make no. 88 (JuneAug. 2000). 37 - 38.
CAS 211
Liz Highleyman, “Radical Queers or Queer Radicals? Queer Activism and the Global Justice Movement.” In From
ACT UP to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization, ed. Benjamin
Shepard and Ronald Hayduk. London and New York: Verso, 2002. 106 – 120.
bell hooks. “Being the Subject of Art.” In Art on My Mind: Visual Politics. New York: The New Press, 1995. 133 –
Morgan Holmes. “Queer Cut Bodies.” In Queer Frontiers: Millennial Geographies, Genders, and Generations. Ed.
Joseph Boone et al. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2000. 84 – 110.
Benjamin Junge. “Bareback Sex, Risk, and Eroticism: Anthropological Themes (Re-)Surfacing in the Post-AIDS
Era.” David Valentine. “We’re ‘Not about Gender.’” In Out in Theory: The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay
Anthropology. Ed. Ellen Lewin and William Leap. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002. 186 - 221.
Regina Kunzel. “Situating Sex: Prison Sexual Culture in the Mid-Twentieth-Century United States.” GLQ: A
Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 8.3 (2002). 253 – 270.
JeeYeun Lee. “Why Suzy Wong is Not a Lesbian: Asian and Asian American Lesbian and Bisexual Women and
Femme/Butch/Gender Identities.” In Queer Studies, ed. Brett Beemyn and Mickey Eliason. New York: New
York University Press, 1996. 115 – 132.
Jill Nagle. “Skinny, ‘White’ Chicks and Hung Buff Boys: Queer Sex Spaces and Their Discontents.” In Looking
Queer: Body Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Communities. Ed. Dawn Atkins.
New York: The Harrington Press, 1998. 439 – 453.
Minnie Bruce Pratt. “Husband.” In S/he. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Press, 1995. 96.
Jay Prosser, “Mirror Images: Transsexuality and Autobiography.” In Second Skins: The Body Narratives of
Transsexuality. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. 99 – 134.
José Quiroga. “Latino Cultures, Imperial Sexualities.” Tropics of Desire: Interventions from Queer Latino
America. New York: New York University Press, 2000. 191 – 226.
Janice Ristock, “Community-Based Research: Lesbian Abuse and Other Telling Tales.” In Inside the Academy and
Out: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Studies and Social Action. Ed. Janice Ristock and Catherine Taylor. Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1998. 137 – 154.
Paula Rodríguez Rust. “Popular Images and the Growth of Bisexual Community and Visibility.” In Bisexuality in
the United States: A Social Science Reader. Ed. Paula Rodríguez Rust. New York: Columbia University
Press, 2000. 537 – 553.
Nayan Shah, “Sexuality, Identity, and the Uses of History.” In Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies,
Peter Nardi and Beth Schneider, ed. New York: Routledge, 1998. 481 – 490.
Benjamin Shepard. “Amanda Milan and the Rebirth of the Street Trans Action Revolutionaries.” In From ACT UP
to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization, ed. Benjamin Shepard and
Ronald Hayduk. London and New York: Verso, 2002. 156 – 163.
Terry Tafoya. “M. Dragonfly: Two-Spirit and the Tafoya Principle of Uncertainty.” In Two-Spirit People: Native
American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality, ed. Sue-Ellen Jacobs et al. Urbana: University of
Illinois Press, 1997. 192 – 202.
David Valentine. “We’re ‘Not about Gender.’” In Out in Theory: The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay Anthropology.
Ed. Ellen Lewin and William Leap. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002. 222 – 245.