Zach Blas, Fag Face Mask, 2012

Queer Studies and Digital Culture

Instructor: Jordan Kraemer
The Studio
172 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10013

The advent of new digital platforms, from microblogs like Tumblr to dating apps like Grindr, has provided new ways to articulate, experience, and mediate our sexual and gendered identities. Online spaces, far from being disembodied or egalitarian, often reproduce offline differences. Queer, feminist, and science studies scholars have argued that power dynamics and inequalities are no less present in our “online” worlds than “in real life.” In fact, they call into question the very idea that online worlds are any less real, and require rethinking the divide between online and offline, virtual and actual. The digital or virtual is always both material and embodied in ways that demand that we reconsider our everyday conceptions of technology and digital life.

In this course, we will examine emerging digital media practices through the lens of queer studies, feminist theory, and digital anthropology, in order to reimagine understandings of bodies, affect, gender, sexuality, selfhood, and society. Reading Lauren Berlant, Brian Massumi, Jack Halberstam, Judith Butler, and Ann Cvetkovich, alongside ethnographic accounts of queer media from Mary Gray, Tom Boellstorff, and others, we will question distinctions commonly drawn between “nature” and “culture,” “society” and “technology,” online and offline. We will ask: what can digital culture tell us about our daily experience and expression of gendered and sexual life? And how can queer studies help us rethink our perceptions of media, technology, and digital culture?

Course Schedule

Wednesday, 6:30-9:30pm
November 16 — December 14, 2016
4 sessions over 5 weeks
Class will not meet on Nov. 23 because of Thanksgiving.