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Queer Theory: Home

The Queer Theory Approach

Typical questions:

  • What elements of the text can be perceived as being masculine (active, powerful) and feminine (passive, marginalized) and how do the characters support these traditional roles?
  • What sort of support (if any) is given to elements or characters who question the masculine/feminine binary? What happens to those elements/characters?
  • What elements in the text exist in the middle, between the perceived masculine/feminine binary? In other words, what elements exhibit traits of both (bisexual)?
  • How does the author present the text? Is it a traditional narrative? Is it secure and forceful? Or is it more hesitant or even collaborative?
  • What are the politics (ideological agendas) of specific gay, lesbian, or queer works, and how are those politics revealed in...the work's thematic content or portrayals of its characters?
  • What are the poetics (literary devices and strategies) of a specific lesbian, gay, or queer works?
  • What does the work contribute to our knowledge of queer, gay, or lesbian experience and history, including literary history?
  • How is queer, gay, or lesbian experience coded in texts that are by writers who are apparently homosexual?
  • What does the work reveal about the operations (socially, politically, psychologically) homophobic?
  • How does the literary text illustrate the problematics of sexuality and sexual "identity," that is the ways in which human sexuality does not fall neatly into the separate categories defined by the words homosexual and heterosexual?


Theories of Gender

Yale Lecture on Queer Theory

In this lecture on queer theory, Professor Paul Fry explores the work of Judith Butler in relation to Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality. Differences in terminology and methods are discussed, including Butler's emphasis on performance and Foucault's reliance on formulations such as "power-knowledge" and "the deployment of alliance." Butler's fixation with ontology is explored with reference to Levi-Strauss's concept of the raw and the cooked. At the lecture's conclusion, Butler's interrogation of identity politics is compared with that of postcolonial and African-American theorists.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction to Judith Butler: What Is Sexuality?

03:46 - Chapter 2. Foucault and the Deployment of Alliance

14:53 - Chapter 3. Performing Gender

24:10 - Chapter 4. The Political Agenda of Gender Theory

33:39 - Chapter 5. Foucault's Method, Butler's Method

46:20 - Chapter 6. The Gendering of Reading

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