Do Not Miss This Once in a Lifetime Course: Transnational Film Studies and LGBTQ Cultures


English 179.60
Transnational Film Studies and LGBTQ Cultures
Wednesdays 2-4 PM

George Washington University
Department of English and Office for Study Abroad

This course is offered through the short-term study abroad program at GW, and includes a week at the Prague International LGBTQ Film Festival, leaving Washington, DC, November 5, 2008 and returning November 13, 2008.

The interdisciplinary field that has come to be called “queer” studies over the past two decades has always concerned itself with questions of representation: how are, for instance, lesbians and gay men, or transgendered people, represented in film, in novels, in other forms of media? As the field has developed, these questions of representation have increasingly been linked to other, complex questions, involving political economy, globalization, and transnationalism: in what ways have lgbt people been incorporated into contemporary nation-states? What identities and desires threaten “the nation” as it is currently (and variously) materialized in our world? How have identities such as “gay” and “lesbian” circulated globally? How have those recognizable minority identities come into contact and conflict with other ways of identifying around non-normative desires? Have those identities at times functioned imperialistically, especially as “gay tourism” has become a recognizable part of global capitalism? Conversely, what kinds of unexpected alliances have been shaped across borders as queer movements have globalized? How have these movements theorized race, gender, class, and ability; what connections have been made with other movements organized around identity?

This course will thus consider how questions of queer representation, particularly in film, converge with questions of queer globalization(s). It will provide students with a complex vocabulary for theorizing a range of issues, by moving them over the course of the semester through four units: an introduction to the analysis of film; a survey of contemporary queer film studies; an introduction to contemporary work at the intersection of queer studies and transnational studies (with some specific emphasis on lgbtq cultures and eastern Europe); and the Prague International LGBTQ Film Festival (on-site in Prague, intended to bring all these issues together).

Students at Charles University in Prague will be taking a course similar to the Washington, DC, course, under the direction of Professor Katerina Kolarova of the Department of Gender Studies. In addition to the festival itself, the week in Prague will involve meetings between the two courses, putting U.S. and Czech students in conversation with each other.

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