Rahul K Gairola
Examines a different subject or problem from a comparative framework with an interdisciplinary perspective. Offered: AWSp.
Queering Home: Race/ Class/ Sexuality and the Politics of Belonging in a Transnational Frame
This course will examine the intersections of race, class, and sexuality as they are constellated around rhetorics of inclusion and exclusion in the conceptualization of "home." We will read well-known texts of queer theory, and also discuss their shortcomings (like the elision of race and class). These readings will probably include work by Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Michael Warner. Using these shortcomings as bridges to ask critical questions, we shall seek to track the ways in which queer peoples of color, at various cultural sites, have produced cultural texts in the wake of decolonization that resist hegemonic discourses of exclusion. These hegemonic disocurses of exclusion include racism, sexism, classism, capitalism, xenophobia, and English-language supremacy. To assist us in this endeavor, we will then read the work of Roderick Ferguson, Gayatri Gopanath, Judith Halberstam, Chandan Reddy, Staurt Hall, and others.
Against the grain of these minoritizing discourses, we will explore how queer of color cultural productions subvert exclusive delineations of "home" and belonging. In other words, we shall look at how queer people of color in particular re-shape the notion of "home" as a strategy for resisting exclusionary rhetorics that surface after World War II and extend the logics of cultural imperialism and epistemological colonialism. These cultural producers, in this case of African and Asian diasporas, offer ways to re-imagine "home" and spaces for belonging that are anti-capitalist, anti-racist, and non-heteronormative. We will examine these alternative verisons of "home" transnationally (between and amongst nations rather than confined to a single one) as a strategy for tracking the emergence of critical resistance at multiple sites with shared political enthusiasms. We will view the historical tracking of these sites as a strategy for building solidarity between African and Asian diasporas in re-thinking "home."
Among the cultural texts we will examine are Michelle Cliff's "Abeng," Jessica Hagedorn's "Dogeaters," Jackie Kay's "Trumpet," and the films of Hanif Kureishi. Grading will be completely focused on engaged participation and a single final paper that students will begin writing early on and will continue to revise and expand into a 10pp paper whose goal is to demonstrate sustained meditation on a research topic of interest. My hope is that the final paper will be one you will be proud of, and which will metamorphose into a longer thesis paper and/ or writing sample for another endeavor.
*Please note: Since the goal is a strong research paper, I will expect students to reckon with detailed comments on papers and revise papers a number of times before submitting a final draft. This means I expect students to professionally deal with detailed criticism of their writing, unflinchingly identify their writing/ conceptual weaknesses, and take steps to improve them.
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