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GEND3904 Queer Theory

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)External
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Gender Studies major sequence
  • Level 3 elective
This unit is an in-depth overview of queer theory. We will examine some essential texts and discussions that helped establish the field, followed by a selection of differing viewpoints and approaches, each of which unpacks more questions for discussion. Queer theory as a field is a comparatively new approach to understanding gender, sexuality, and the world around us, and it has created controversy and disagreement regarding its aims, approaches, and whether it can, in fact, be clearly defined. It tends to resist definition: what does it mean to queer something? Language plays an important role in queer theory — the words that we use and that are used on us — and language is this stuff that allows us to articulate how we approach ourselves and those around us. But there are traps everywhere. One trenchant criticism of queer theory is that it is primarily an individualistic Western anglophone way of looking at the world, and that more communal societies have little to learn from it; in fact, it can be seen as a threat. We will examine this criticism in detail by looking at the development of queer theory approaches from other languages and societies, comparing them to the main ideas of the American and anglophone tradition.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate a knowledge of major theorists and concepts associated with queer theory; (2) demonstrate the ability to use arguments that create/queer knowledge, including the role that queer knowledge plays in gender studies and its history; and (3) demonstrate the ability to critically deploy queer theory broadly defined in constructive dialogue and analysis.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essays; (2) discussion and participation; and (3) group presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Chantal Bourgault and Associate Professor Luc Beaudoin
Unit rules
GEND1901 Beyond Gender Wars and (GEND2902 Masculinity, Nostalgia and Change or GEND2903 Sex, Gender, Technology and Science)
Contact hours
4 hours per week
This unit is offered by the Gender and Women's Studies program at the University of Denver, coordinated by Associate Professor Luc Beaudoin. Participation will be online and the class will include students from the University of Denver. Classes will occur twice a week, for two hours early in the morning – starting at 7am.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.