Thursday, June 21, 2007


Ok, so I've been doing things, taking care of things, since this morning at around 11 AM (and yes, I realize that is a late start but A. called at 7 AM with a relationship emergency, and so I had to go back to sleep for a few hours after that) and it's not like I'm not getting anything done - I'm actually getting a lot done - but do you ever have those days when you don't *feel* like you're making a dent, whether you are actually making a dent or not? Yeah, it's one of those days.

Hmmm... What else? I decided to change one of my syllabi to make my life easier at the end of next semester, and I'm considering ways to make my life easier in my other classes as well. Everything has to work in the service of the book this fall. I hate that, but that's just how it has to go - no pre-tenure sabbaticals at my institution, so I'm totally forced into this course of action. Basically I'm thinking a lot about how to minimize time spent grading and how to combine or change certain assignments so that students still hit all of the points that I want them to hit, but I don't necessarily need to evaluate them at each and every step. This is no small task. I really care a lot about teaching, and I really care that my students learn, but there are only so many hours in a day, and I need to spend those hours on things other than grading this fall. As it is I've got 1 1/2 new preps, so this teaching semester will not be the easiest I've ever had, even if I get rid of some grading.

Question for my readers: Do you have a recommendation for an essay (no more than 20-30 pages probably) that gives good and ACCESSIBLE overview and background about queer theory/literature? I'm looking for something really basic, not too dense, that introduces students to key terms and concepts, etc. If you can think of anything that seems to fit that bill, either drop me a note at reassignedtime [at] gmail or leave your suggestion in comments. Remember, though, I'm thinking EASY. Think a course that fills a general requirement, majors and non-majors enrolled, first assignment that is on the syllabus. Rome wasn't built in a day, and I need to ease them in.

What else? I don't know. Perhaps more later should the mood strike.


bbound said...

My first queer theory reading as an undergraduate was Gayle Rubin's essay "Thinking Sex." Since it is quite an old piece it wouldn't be as good an introduction to what scholars are doing these days, but it is a fabulous way to get someone's brain thinking the right way.

It's probably easiest to find it in the Abelove et. al, Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, which also has lots of other short bits of queer theory, mostly focused on literature.

Hilaire said...

I thought of "Thinking Sex", too, though since it's a piece from the early 80s that's kind of "inaugural" of queer theory, it won't have the overview you're looking for. But as bbound says, it's great for contextualizing things.

But I also thought of Riki Wilchins' book _Queer Theory/Gender Theory: An Instant Primer_ (Alyson, 2004). This text is meant for a general audience, so is not very hard! It's very chatty, in fact. Maybe a chapter could be pulled from there? I don't know, cause I can't think of what the chapters are, but it might be worth a look!

Good luck.

Wildly said...

Queer Theory might work differently where you are, but you might find something in "A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory" by Nikki Sullivan. I think there's a chapter called Queer:A question of Being or Doing? which might be appropriate..?

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I feel a bit guilty about adjusting classes to accomodate my writing goals, but then I realize that my classes need to change anyway and why not make the assignments work better for both me and my students :).

Margo, darling said...

Take a look at Rikki Wilchins _Queer Theory/Gender Theory_. The first chapter or two work well as an intro to queer theory. Super accessible writing. I have my students buy the whole book, but only assign the beginning and find that the students often like the writing so much they use it to guide them through difficult authors like Butler and Foucault.

Dr. Crazy said...

Thanks for all of the great suggestions! I'll definitely check out the Wilchins book, as well as the other recommendations!