Everyday Unruliness: Feminist and Queer Resistance


This course is interested in the ways ordinary people break rules, flout norms, and make trouble. We know that resistance manifests in social movements, militant activism, and direct confrontation, but it also comes through quieter acts of unruliness and noncompliance. Looking at power "from below," readings focus on everyday interventions in systems of control. Garment workers threaten "good pay or bum work," queers "fail" at reproductive heterosexuality, and shiftless people steal moments of leisure from a system that wants us either productive or dead. These acts may not be obviously political, but because people at the margins have so often been left outside (and also opt out) of formal politics, subtle resistance is particularly interesting for feminist and queer scholars. Everyday acts do threaten the status quo -- otherwise, why would they be so rigidly policed? But questions remain. Throughout the semester, we will ask the following: What counts as resistance? What are its ethics? When is a bad attitude an act of rebellion, and does it matter if that rebellion is conscious? Does survival constitute resistance for those not meant to survive? On the other hand, for those subjects whose active engagement sustains the status quo, is withdrawal the more radical choice? Does the refusal of sociality constitute a form of resistance? Or are there ways to forge communities of mutual care that erode the status quo rather than reproduce it? Prerequisite: L77 110B (Intro to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) or permission of instructor.
Course Attributes: EN S; BU BA; AS SSC; FA SSC; AR SSC; AS SC

Section 01

Everyday Unruliness: Feminist and Queer Resistance - 01
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