Queerness has often been understood as a threat to society – whether social institutions like marriage or monogamy or familial practices like reproduction and child-rearing. While the last decades have been characterized by increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians into mainstream society, this process has no doubt reproduced new inequalities and asymmetries – in terms of race, class and access to institutional spaces.
Does "queer" still pose a threat to the mainstream or is it now part of the "normal"? Should one welcome the progressive acceptance or queer lives within the mainstream or should one reject it in the name of an indissoluble difference? In this course we will range across movies and theories that engage with these questions, particularly focusing on negative reactions to processes of assimilation. Topics will include sex and death, queerness and neoliberalism, intersections of race and sexuality. Some of the films we will watch and discuss are Pasolini’s Pigsty, Fassbinder’s In a Year of 13 Moons, Jennie Livingstone’s Paris is Burning, Cheryl Dunye’s Watermelon Woman, Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry.