This guide is designed to introduce Marshall students to queer studies in its academic and cultural contexts. In this guide's pages (see the pull down menu), you’ll find information ranging from queer studies' historical foundations to its theoretical output to contemporary culture and queer media studies. One of the field’s foundational scholars, Eve Sedgwick, famously defined queer studies as “the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone's gender, of anyone's sexuality aren't made (or can't be made) to signify monolithically.” We hope this guide builds on Sedgwick’s perceptive words: in its pages, we attempt to highlight the field’s openness, broadness, and, in effect, its constant sense of possibility.
Note: As queer studies has developed, one persistent concern is its title: does “queer” work as an umbrella term? While this guide’s creators certainly understand the many complications of the term (see this blog post from Duke University for an insightful discussion), we’ve chosen to use “queer” because of the term’s significant history in academic inquiry. Queer Studies, as Isaac N. West explains, is “indebted to and conversant with critical race, feminist, and lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender studies.” In other words, queer studies is broad and connected—it is in productive conversation with a variety of academic disciplines. Such is our goal with this guide: we hope to open a variety of academic conversations and to connect with many disciplinary fields. Welcome!!