American Studies | Seminar in American Studies / Topic: Regional Sexualities
G751 | 11010 | Scott Herring

Wednesday, 12:20 - 3:20 p.m.
4 credit hours
Instructor: Scott Herring
Class meets with ENG-L779 and CULS-C701

Over the last decade or so, forays in sexuality studies have been
more than eager to track the difficult logicistics of
identitarianism (the "who" and the "what of "why" "we" are) as they
overlap with recent concerns about time and history (the "when").
Now, however, may be a ripe moment to focus more on the "where." To
do so, this seminar asks a very basic question: what happens to U.S.
sexuality studies when it shifts its ever-dominant NY/LA/SF axis to
Lawrence, Kansas, or to Liberty, Tennessee, or to Beech Creek,
Pennsylvania, or to rural West Virginia, or to the Mississippi
Delta, or, spanning beyond transcontinental boundaries, to the
Caribbean island of Antigua? This inquiry will guide our
investigations as we explore what could be called the "urban/rural"
binary that haunts, guides, and, we will find, too often misdirects
many of the now-commonplace assumptions of queer studies in American
academies. Over the course of sixteen weeks, we engage with a mess
of disciplines--ethnography, literary studies, African American
studies, disability studies, Latino/a Studies, and most
emphatically, studies of visual culture--as we chart the critical
terrain that sexuality studies both enables and elides. Along the
way, we collate a series of dossiers on critical keywords such
as "metro-normativity," "queer regionalism," and "sexual
citizenship" that will then enable us to explore a series of case
studies on rural, regional, and anti-urban activities that, when
taken together, try to think beyond the compulsions of the
metropolis. In doing so, we'll jumpstart discussions over a concept
that receives scant attention from U.S.-based queer theory and that
(these days at least) is so outmoded as to seem de rigueur: sex
outside the city.