ETHS 380: Coloring Queer/Queering Color

Th 4:10 pm - 6:55 pm

Professor Catrióna Rueda Esquibel

Office: Ethnic Studies Ethnic Studies & Psychology 411

Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:00 - 4:30 and by appointment


Course Website:

ilearn is a new course management system for online course support (readings, grading, discussion lists, etc).  Go to the ilearn homepage <> and login using your university id and password. This should show you the ilearn component for all classes in which you're enrolled.  Click on our course number and that will take you to the class website.  You can download readings from the file section, post comments on the discussion lists, coordinate group work, etc.  I'll be recording assignments, grades, et cetera on the website, so that you can get feedback in a timely fashion.

I. Course Description:

Interdisciplinary examination of queers of color framing theory, history and discourse, and the expressions and intersections of difference based on sexual orientation, race, class, gender, and nationality. Specific focuses may include on racism, interracial dating, transracial adoption, fetishes, and other coloring queer phenomena.

II. Course Goals

III. Course Objectives

Students will

IV. Required texts:

Additional readings will be available online through ilearn or Online Reserves


We will also be viewing several films which engage in the history and representation of people of color

Optional Films:

V. Course Requirements:

Attendance & Participation:  25 points

Weekly assignments (including journals, blogging, quizzes): 25 points

Midterm: 25 points

Final Exam: 25 points

Attendance and Participation in class discussions is an important element of this class. If you're not here, you can't participate.  Missing three or more classes will adversely affect your grade.
Appropriate behavior in the classroom includes:
Weekly assignments: We will be doing creative, interpretive and analytical exercises in relation to the readings.  For the first few class sessions, I have assigned specific writing prompts.  You may follow the prompts or chart your own path.  You should strive for writing about 500 words (equivalent of two typewritten pages) every week. 

The Midterm and Final Exams will include identification of characters and elements from the readings and films, short-answer questions, and essays.  These are closed-book exams.     Note:  You must bring a blue examination book for each exam. 

Extra credit

You may earn additional points as listed below. All extra credit work is due no later than the last day of class.  Minimum length for prose: 750 words (three full typed pages)

VI. General Education Requirements

This class fulfills a Segument II Humanities and Creative Arts Area requirement, (HCA), Category B: Disciplines and Interdisciplines.
In the humanities and arts curriculum, students are urged to explore fundamental questions regarding human values, aesthetics, and expression.  It is dedicated to stimulating reflecdtive thinking, imagination, and creatifity; to increaseing civic and global responsibility; to cultivating moral action; and to building the communication skills needed to express the best of what it means to be human. (SFSU Bulletin 2005-06, 96).

VII. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accommodation:

The University is committed to providing reasonable academic accommodation to students with disabilities.  The Disability Programs and Resources Center provides university academic support services and specialized assistance to students with disabilities. Individuals with physical, perceptual, or learning disabilities as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact Services for Students with Disabilities for information regarding accommodations.  Please notify your instructor so that reasonable efforts can be made to accommodate you.  If you expect Accommodation through the Act, you must make a formal request through Disability Programs & Resource Center in SSB110, Telephone 338-2472.

VIII. Statement on Cheating and Plagiarism

Cheating is the actual or attempted practice of fraudulent or deceptive acts for the prupose of improving one's grade or obtaining course credit; such acts also include assisting another student to do so. Typically, such acts occur in relation to examinations.  However, it is the intent of this definition that the term "cheating" not be limited to examination situation only, but that it include any and all actions by a student that are intended to gain an unearned academic advantage by fraudulent or deceptive means.

Plagiarism is a specific form of cheating which consists of the misuse of the published and/or unpublished works of others by misrepresenting the material (intellectual property) so used as one's own work.  Penalties for cheating and plagiarism range from 0 or F on a particular assignment, through F for the course, to expulsion from the university.  for more information on the University's policy regarding cheating and plagiarism, refer to the University Catalog ("Policies and Regulations").

IX. Changes and supplements

This syllabus subject to change as necessary. Any policies not mentioned in this document are covered in the SFSU catalog.

X. Schedule

Week One - Introductions, Racialized Sexualities

Thursday, August 25: Introduction of Course Themes, Syllabus, Student Introductions.

Sign up for class blogs

Strategies of/and Representation

Film: Tongues Untied.  Dir. Marlon Riggs

Articulating Black Gay Male Identity
Interrupting a racist regime of representation
How does white gay male culture shape black gay men's interactions with one another?
How is love between black gay men politicized?

Online: Edit your profile on ilearn, including a picture of yourself
blogging:Write a short essay on "Homophobia: Fear of Going Home"

Week Two - A Desired History

Thursday, September 1:
Film: Looking for Langston (dir. Isaac Julien)
Discussion of Readings:
Kobena Mercer, "Reading Racial Fetishism" (1986, 1989)

Blogging: Write a short essay on the desire in/for history.  How is history always-already heterosexual (heterosexualized)?  What does it mean to queer history? How is history always-already white?  How do queers challenge "community of origin" models"

Week Three - Contesting Racialized Sexualities

Thursday, September 8: Film: Madama Butterfly (1974)
Discussion: M. Butterfly and its relation to Madama Butterfly
Discussion of Readings:
                                    David Henry Hwang. M. Butterfly
                                     Richard Fung "Looking for my Penis"

Week Four - Crossings I

Thursday, September 15:
Film: Brincando El Charco
Negrón-Muntaner, Frances. "When I Was a Puerto Rican Lesbian." GLQ 5.4 (1999): 511-27.

Week Five - Native Peoples, Gender, Sexuality, and Appropriation

Thursday, September 22:
Discussion of Readings:
Paula Gunn Allen “Hwame, Koshkalaka, and the Rest: Lesbians in American Indian Cultures,”
Ramon Gutierrez, "Must We De-Racinate Indians to Find Gay Roots?"
Paula Gunn Allen “Some Like Indians Endure” 298-301
Film: Sweating Indian Style


Week Six

Thursday, September 29:
Discussion of Readings:
Becky Birtha “In Response To Reading Children’s Book Announcements in Publishers Weekly, February 12, 1982”
Pat Parker, "Gay Parenting, or Look Out, Anita"
Lesbian Mothers, a Conversation with Cenen, Margarita, and Carmen
Beth Brant, "A Long Story"

Week Seven

Thursday, October 6: Coachella

Week Eight

Thursday, October 13: Midterm Exam

Week Nine

Thursday, October 20:
Becky Birtha, "Johnnieruth"
Ekua Omosupe, "Black/Lesbian/Bulldagger"
Sdiane A. Bogus, "The Myth and Tradition of the Black Bulldagger"
Gloria Anzaldúa, "la historia de una marimacha"
"the bulldagger's tale"
Jo Carrillo, "Maria Littlebear"

Week Ten

Thursday, October 27: 
Film: Watermelon Woman
Discussion of Readings:
Jackie Goldsby, "What it Means to be Colored Me"
Alice Hom, "In the Mind of An/Other"
Lisa Kahaleole Chang Hall "Eating Salt"
Pat Parker “For the white person who wants to know how to be my friend” 297

Week Eleven

Thursday, November 3:
Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, "Was Mom Chung a 'Sister Lesbian'?: Asian American Gender Experimentation and Interracial Homoeroticism" (2001)
Makeda Silvera “Man-Royals And Sodomites: Some Thoughts On The Invisibility Of Afro-Caribbean Lesbians”

Week Twelve

Thursday, November 10:
Lani Ka’ahumanu “hapa haole wahine”
Kamini Chaudhary “Some Thoughts On Bisexuality”
Margaret Mihee Choe “Ourselves Growing Whole”
June Jordan “A New Politics of Sexuality”

Week Thirteen

Thursday, November 17:

Week Fourteen

Thursday, November 24, NO CLASSES

Week Fifteen

Thursday, December 1:

Week Sixteen

Thursday, December 8:  Gloria Anzaldúa, "Too Queer the Writer,"
Pat Parker, "Where Will You Be"
Melvin Dixon, "Aunt Ida Pieces a Quilt"

Final Exam Period

Saturday December 10, 1:30-4:00 pm