Fall 2023 Sociology GU4984 section 001

Queer Theory <3 Sociology

Call Number 13622
Day & Time
W 10:10am-12:00pm
501D Knox Hall
Points 4
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Tey Meadow
Method of Instruction In-Person
Course Description

This course surveys the relationship between sociology as a discipline and the body of thought, action and critique that coheres under the term queer theory. Many people understand these two projects to be constitutionally at odds. Sociology as a discipline concerns itself with the empirical study of, as Norbert Elias wrote, “the problem of human societies.” How we do this is distinct. Sociologists have a defined set of technical skills that make use of social categories and classifications. We organize individuals by behavior and identity, document diverse cultural milieus, and even attempt to quantify the demographic details of sexual identities, practices and communities. Queer theory, on the other hand, emerged as a field of academic thought in the early 1990’s, at the apex of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The urgency of the political moment demanded new analytical tools for thinking about gender, sexuality, medicine and bodies. Queer theorists took to task the restrictive categories of gender and sexual life that relegated gay men and lesbians to sociological studies of “deviant” people and practices, in favor of rich and pointed critiques of the organization of culture, institutions and politics that renders some people and practices deviant in the first place. Queer theorists document their suspicion of methods, of categories, and of knowledge practices themselves. Social science is often the target of such critiques.


So, is there actually a way to do something we might call queer sociology? Or is it, fundamentally, an oxymoron? As what we think of as data becomes “bigger” and ever more categorically precise, what use has sociology for queer theory? How can a body of thought that operates from an anti-categorical impulse inform empirical work that seeks, at least in some part, to identify and observe particular types of people and particular forms of social life? In this course, we will read a set of foundational texts in the queer theoretical tradition alongside sociology that makes use of queer phenomena, frameworks and world-making projects. Expect to cover topics like ephemera, ghosts, messy affect, political lesbianism, perversion and a variety of other things you don’t typically see on a sociology syllabus. Each week, we will survey a select set of orienting ideas from queer theory–the heterosexual matrix, heteronormativity, antidisciplinarity, and homonormativity–and examine the ways in which sociologists of sexuality aim

Web Site Vergil
Department Sociology
Enrollment 12 students (12 max) as of 7:07PM Friday, May 24, 2024
Status Full
Subject Sociology
Number GU4984
Section 001
Division Interfaculty
Campus Morningside
Note Please email the professor for permission.
Section key 20233SOCI4984W001