ENGL 882-01 Queer Cinema
“To queer” means to spoil or ruin—at least according to most dictionaries. To queer theorists, it means to analyze, contest, or subvert the power of “the normal.” “Queer Theory, Queer Cinema” will begin by reading canonical texts of queer theory, essays and book chapters that collectively established a zone of inquiry around anti-normative sexual acts and identities, including but not limited to LGBTQIA affiliation. Using films to jumpstart our conversations, we’ll explore how queer theory destabilizes and challenges traditional and restrictive ideas about sexuality and gender. But writing is only one way in which people think, and the second half of this course will shift the balance from theory-with-film to film-as-theory. While we’ll continue to read writers who can help us understand film better, we’ll examine queer filmmaking as a way of staking arguments about this world and imagining other worlds. Writers we’ll engage include Gayle Rubin, José Muñoz, Adrienne Rich, E. Patrick Johnson, and Susan Stryker, who will help us consider concepts like sexual politics, disidentification, compulsory heterosexuality, intersectional and queer of color critique, and trans knowledges. Films we’ll watch include Tongues Untied, Scorpio Rising, Funeral Parade of Roses, Dyketactics, and A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica). If these names aren’t familiar to you already, don’t worry. Our goal in this course is to familiarize ourselves with the ways that queer theory and queer cinema can change our lives!