Bears. Cubs. Otters. Pups. Twinks. Radical Fairies. Leathermen. Mollies. Drag queens. Dandies. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Gay men, including gay trans men, have organized themselves into various subcultures within their community for centuries. This seminar is devoted to exploring these subcultures in (a mostly US-context) in greater detail using ethnographic texts, anthropological studies, historical accounts (including oral histories), and media. Topics include cruising and flagging, the anthropological significance of gay bars, histories of bath house culture, rural vs urban queer experiences, the ball scene, drag, diva worship, the reclamation of “fabulousness and faggotry,” the leadership roles of trans women and effeminate gay men in activist movements, gay gentrification, the growth of gay consumerism/ gay tourism/homonationalism, hierarchies of masculinity in the gay community (i.e., masc for masc culture), HIV/AIDS and the politics of PrEP, chemsex, the role of racialized dating “preferences,” genealogies of BDSM and leather culture, sexual health and discourses of “risk,” the politics of barebacking and other sexual practices, queering consent, and the effects of hookup apps on gay culture. In addition to lectures, and discussions, there will also be some low-key performance-studies based exercises in queer praxis (e.g., drag workshops, mock debates, animal improvisation, role playing, etc.)
The Class: Format: seminar; There will be some minor performance elements such as workshops during class.
Requirements/Evaluation: Quizzes, journaling assignment, short diva report, 10 page research paper on a gay subcultural group
Prerequisites: None; WGSS 202 (Foundations in Sexuality Studies) will be helpful but is not required
Enrollment Preferences: WGSS majors; in the event of over-enrollment there statements of interest will be solicited
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course examines the how marginalized communities respond to their oppression through creative forms. It takes as central to its curriculum the role of sexual diversity and the relationship of the gay community to power through the central idiom of "difference."
Attributes: WGSS Racial Sexual + Cultural Diversity Courses