Gender and sexuality are increasingly crucial lenses through which to view the world. While heavily incorporated into women’s studies, gender, being neither stable nor absolute, also lends itself to the study of queer identity. Issues such as straight masculinity, queer femininities, and gay male identity are becoming increasingly important to the study of gender, as is the transgender movement.
Queer studies at Hampshire utilizes gender theory/philosophy, historical analysis, critical race theory, and contemporary critique to further the discourse on queer identity and community, as well as notions of queering heterosexualized relationships and identities. Courses and projects within queer studies focus on the law, family structure, media representations, public health, religion, the arts, cultural studies, sexuality, and biology.
Sample First-Year Course
Queering the Renaissance
We’ve always known that Michelangelo was gay and Henri III, king of France, liked to cross-dress. Recent historical scholarship has shown how homosocial environments like female convents, male literary academies, or youth associations promoted same-sex relationships. Especially after the re-discovery of the clitoris in the sixteenth-century, debates about hermaphrodites, the seat of lesbian desire, and the usefulness of African clitoridectomy stirred up the medical and political establishment. In the military, cross-dressing was rampant; even evidence of trans-gendering can be found in sixteenth-century Spain. This course will explore issues of self-identity in a period that, to contemporary observers, can seem hauntingly familiar and irrevokably foreign at the same time.
Sample Courses at Hampshire
Bodies & Souls in History
Commodities of Desire: Gendered Signs, Racialized Representations & Pop Culture
Equal Protection of the Laws: Gender, Sex & Race Discrimination in America
Family, Gender, Power
Gendered Identities in Music & Narrative Gifts, Sex & Commodities
Identity Beyond Identity Politics
Legal Construction of Sex, Marriage & the Family
Living for Tomorrow I: Cultural Contestations, Gender Politics
& the AIDS Epidemic
Love, Sex & Death
Queer Fictions of Race
Queering the Renaissance
Race, Sexuality & the Transnational
Through the Consortium
Gender, Sexuality, Literature & Culture (UMass)
Intro to Queer Theory (MHC)
LGBT History in the U.S. (SC)
The Politics of Sexuality in Muslim Contexts: From Colonial Discourses to Queer Activism (MHC)
Queering American Literature (UMass)
Queer Looks: Gender, Sexuality & Film (SC)
Representing Queerness (SC)
Sexuality and Women’s Writing (MHC)
Facilities and Resources
The Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program, located at Hampshire, is a reproductive rights organization that trains, educates, and inspires new leaders, organizers, and supporters nationwide. CLPP works with new generations of activists to advance their leadership and strengthen the reproductive rights movement. Since its beginnings in 1981, CLPP has been training students and young people as reproductive rights activists. CLPP is also expanding the reach and impact of the movement by connecting reproductive rights to women’s health, safety and empowerment, economic and racial justice, youth liberation, queer rights, environmental justice, peace and security, disability rights, and immigrants’ rights.
The Queer Community Alliance is a student group comprised of individuals who support sexual diversity. The QCA seeks to foster awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, pan, and queer issues and create a comfortable space for their discussion through social events and political activism both at Hampshire and in the community at large. The QCA is a safe place of confidentiality and respect. People of all sexual preferences are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings as long as the safe space is respected. The QCA also advocates resisting all systems of oppression for freedom for all.
QUEST is a student group for queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students of color, international, and mixed heritage people.
When it opened on the University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus in 1985, the Stonewall Center (a Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Educational Resource Center) was one of only three centers of its kind on college campuses across the country. Now, it has served as a model for many colleges and universities, leading to some 60 centers now in existence. For more than 20 years, the Stonewall Center has grown in size and scope, serving the campus and surrounding community by providing cultural and educational programming, video, audio, and text library holdings, educational resources, information and referral, harassment and discrimination response, advocacy, training and support, and community outreach through QueerE, an activities and information Listserv for queer western Massachusetts.