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Welcome to the course blog for GWSS 8190: Feminist and Queer Explorations in Troublemaking. Here is a description of the course:

What are the political and ethical possibilities for making trouble? How have selves or communities made trouble in effective ways? What would it mean to think about troublemaking as a virtue? What are the limits of troublemaking? What are the links between troublemaking and feminist theoretical activism? Radical democracy? Queer theory and practice? Humor? Critical thinking?  How can we trouble the academy in productive ways?

In this graduate seminar, we will explore all of these questions (and more) as we closely examine the nature and practice of troublemaking. We will closely examine how troublemaking and the troublemaker are represented and performed within specific social contexts and how race, class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity shape our understandings (and evaluations) of them. And, we will critically explore the ethical and political potential of troublemaking, as a practice, method, critical lens and/or attitude. In particular, we will look at how making trouble functions in a wide range of feminist and queer theoretical, political and ethical projects of transgression and transformation. While this course will draw upon a wide range of disciplines and methodologies, we will give particular attention to (1) troublemaking in philosophical and ethical contexts and (2) bringing philosophical/ethical understandings of troublemaking into conversation with specific practices of troublemaking.


Some topics include:

  • Trouble in/troubling the academy
  • Judith Butler and Critical Thinking
  • Staring as specular, spectacle, and ethical encounter
  • Excessive emotion and subjects-beside-themselves
  • Race and Nation Traitors
  • Children, Disciplinary Problems and the Prison Industrial Complex
  • No Future, Cruel Optimism, and Hopeful Troublemaking
  • Sarah Ahmed, Queer Happiness, and the Feminist Killjoy 

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