Course Information

GWSS/GLBT 4403 * Fall 2011 * Tues/Thurs: 2:30-3:45 * Ford 151 

Twitter Hashtag: #quet2011 

Instructor: Dr. Sara L. Puotinen 
Office Hours: Thurs 12:45-2, Online Office Hours (via twitter): Wed, 12-1
Office Location: Ford 444

  • To explore the work of Judith Butler and her importance for queer, feminist and critical theory. 
  • To use Butler as a lens for exploring queer theory as an important intervention in both feminist and gay/lesbian theory, politics and ethics. 
  • To gain an understanding of some key concepts, critiques and figures within queer theory.  
Attend Class Regularly: You are allowed to have two unexcused absences during this semester. You are responsible for contacting other students to get any notes, handouts or information on assignments that you might have missed. Please do not contact me requesting missed notes or assignments. Instead, I would encourage you to exchange email addresses or phone numbers with several other students. You can also tweet questions to our class. 

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns: You are always welcome to visit me during my office hours (offline: Thurs.12:45-2 or online via twitter: Wed. 12-1). If you can't make my office hours, you can email me ( or tweet me (@gwssprof) with your questions or to set up another time. 

Be an active and respectful participant in class: Your participation is crucial to the success of the class. To that end, you are responsible for coming to class fully prepared, actively and respectfully contributing to discussions, listening attentively to others' ideas and experiences, asking questions when you don't understand the material and giving me feedback on what is working and not working in the class. You can also post questions/comments on our course blog or twitter feed. 

Hand in all assignments on time: Complete all work on time. "On time" means at the beginning of the class period on the particular due date (hard copy) and by 11 PM online on the particular due date (blog/twitter assignments). Due dates are final and non-negotiable. Exceptions will only be granted in extreme circumstances. All due dates will be posted on our course blog on the course information page. All assigned work must be completed in order to pass the class. 

Check the blog on a regular basis: We will be using our course blog a lot in this class. If possible, make sure to bookmark it on your computer. You must check it regularly to read what other students in the course have to say about the readings, topics, and feminist debates. You should also check it to read any announcements from class (like revised assignments) or to download handouts. I will also frequently post my notes or reflections on the topic/readings. 
Don't procrastinate: At the end of every semester, I ask students to give advice to future students. One of the most popular suggestions is: don't procrastinate. The readings, papers, and blog assignments always take more time than you think so don't wait until the last minute to do them. 

Our course blog will play a central role in our class. I will use it to post announcements, class summaries, assignments, and handouts. You will be using it to complete several of your assignments and to engage and develop connections with your class members and instructors. To help you become familiar with the blog, I will provide training sessions on how to use the blog in the Rachel Raimist Feminist Media Center (Ford 468) on the second day of class and post an online tutorial. Throughout the semester, I will include more blog training and discussion during class time and I will be available for blog training sessions upon request. Finally, I hope to enlist some class members to serve as technology mentors to other students. If you are familiar with blogging at the U (on UThink) and are willing to help others, please let me know. 

We will also be using twitter (a class list and a hashtag). I will be using it to post announcements and hold virtual office hours. And you will be using it to post links, ask questions, connect with other students, and experiment with expressing ideas succinctly. I will provide a brief tutorial (in person and online) on how to sign up for twitter and use it for class engagement. 
Academic Dishonesty Academic integrity is essential to a positive teaching and learning environment. All students enrolled in University courses are expected to complete coursework responsibilities with fairness and honesty. Failure to do so by seeking unfair advantage over others or misrepresenting someone else's work as your own, can result in disciplinary action. The University Student Conduct Code defines scholastic dishonesty as follows: 

SCHOLASTIC DISHONESTY: submission of false records of academic achievement; cheating on assignments or examinations; plagiarizing; altering, forging, or misusing a University academic record; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement. Within this course, a student responsible for scholastic dishonesty can be assigned a penalty up to an including an "F" or "N" for the course. If you have any questions regarding the expectations for a specific assignment or exam, ask.

University of Minnesota Disability Services Students with disabilities who require accommodations in meeting course requirements should meet with me as early as possible in the term. Class materials, including this syllabus, can be made available in alternative formats upon request. It is your responsibility to provide documentation from Disability Services to receive accommodations. Click here for more information.

Non-native English Speakers and Writers If you need some extra assistance with the reading and writing assignments, please contact me early in the term. 

U of M Harassment Policy The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation. For further information, contact the University Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

Class Participation 20% 
Blog and Twitter Engagement 45% 
In class Presentations 20% 
Final Wrap-up 15% 

A outstanding achievement (900-1000 points) 
B achievement significantly above necessary level (800-899 points) 
C achievement meeting the basic course requirements (700-799 points) 
D achievement worthy of credit (600-699 points) 
F performance failing to meet the basic course requirements (500-599 points) 
S equivalent to a grade of C or better 

Assignment Description 
The bulk of your assignments this semester (blog entries, blog participation, tweets, 4 presentations and your final wrap-up) will be organized around the development of and participation in our class blog and with our class twitter hashtag (#quet2011). Once we have worked out the details together in the first and second weeks of class, I will distribute and post a more detailed handout on our blog. 

By the third week of course you (or you and 1 other class member) will be required to pick one of the suggested topics related to queer and queering theory. These topics are listed at the end of this description. You will be responsible for tracking this term throughout the course of the semester. By tracking I mean that you will be required to pay particular attention to your topic as you are reading, discussing and thinking about queering theory. 
In addition to posting your own entries, you are required to actively read other blogs and other students' entries. Your active engagement will come in the form of commenting on other blogs, creating links within your own entries, and incorporating comments from other entries/blogs into your in-class participation. 

Each of the suggested topics is explicitly related to the readings for one class session. You are required to do one (roughly 15 minute) presentation on your topic on the day that we are explicitly reading about and discussing it, two (roughly 10 minute) presentations on your topic/blog participation--one around midterm and the other during the final week of class, and one presentation on a queer this! example. More information about these presentations will be posted on our blog soon.


date of presentation















bodies/material experiences






Finally, you are required to submit a final wrap-up on your experiences tracking your chosen topic and on helping to develop and participate in the blog. This wrap-up can come in the form of a lengthy blog entry (or series of entries) or a separate (more formal) reflective essay. Please see me if you have other thoughts on how to organize/develop/articulate your reflective thoughts on your topic and your experience with the blog. 

Recent Entries

Although the end has come and passed, here is my Final Wrap-Up
My Tracking Term for the semester was Bodies and Material Experiences. Now that I have completed my three annotated bibliographies,…
Queer this 2
Here's a quick clip from the show toddlers and tiaras I just found it interesting how as she was also…
DE engagement queer are of failing
I decided to take up the Judith halberstam's book the Queer art of Failure as my direct engagement. In the…