Illustration by Camille Cheng

Many universities have embraced queer theory in their curricula and coursework since its popularization in the 1990s. Humanities and social science disciplines from literature to psychology have worked queerness into their course offerings in some form or another. Here are just a few of the recent classes offered at UC Santa Cruz that focus on or contain themes related to the LGBTQIA+ community.

*Though these classes have been offered in the last few years, they are not guaranteed to be taught in upcoming quarters.

Black Queer Culture (ANTH 110Q, CRES 110Q, FMST 110Q) Fall Quarter

This interdepartmental class takes a look at the intersection of race, sexuality and gender. Covering different cultural media and social theory, students take a critical look at these topics encountered in everyday life. The course draws on texts from several areas of pop culture, from Frank Ocean to “Pose,” making it easier for students to access the main concepts of the course.

Queer Visual Culture (HAVC 186Q) Fall Quarter

This history of art and visual culture course introduces students to queer art and how this term is applied or appropriated in a broader context. Looking at art from around the world, students learn how queerness is incorporated into art beyond our borders. 

Empire and Sexuality (FMST 194M) Fall Quarter

Students make connections between the historical practices of colonization and imperialism and the production of cultural norms. The course outlines how different cultures’ histories and experiences have informed gender expression and sexual identity, prompting students to denormalize and decolonize their perspectives. 

Sexual Identity and Society (PSYC 140H) Fall Quarter

Psychology students look at sexual identity through an array of different lenses. Differences in medical, legal, social and cultural approaches to sexuality are compared to more fully understand sexual desire and practice.

Gender, Sexuality and Law (LGST 108) Winter Quarter

When public and private life collide, laws can have a serious impact on identity and expression. This class analyzes how law governs gender, sexuality and sexual orientation and to what extent these identities should be governed.

Ars Erotica: Sexual Imagery in Art and Culture (Art 80X) Winter Quarter

Visual and artistic interpretations of sex have been controversial throughout history. Questions of obscenity and indecency clash with values of artistic freedom and experimentation. Students dissect reactions and arguments surrounding the topic and partake in informed dialogue.

Sex and Gender (SOCY 149) Spring Quarter

Studies over the past several decades have illustrated the close link between individuals’ personal identities and the large-scale social structures around them. This class examines how these structures affect perceptions and embodiments of gender, as well as societal inequalities stemming from them. It also considers historical understandings of gender and sexuality and how they’ve changed over time.

Queer(y)ing Victorian Literature (LIT 146G) Spring Quarter

Reading texts from days gone by can give us an idea of how perceptions of gender and sexuality have changed or remained the same. This class looks at English literature from the mid to late 19th century to see how characters align with our notions of sexuality today. To the surprise of some readers, these depictions can feel very similar to how we embody race, gender and sexuality today.

Queer Intimacies (PSYC 159S) Spring Quarter

Students in this course use social psychology to examine same-sex relationships, polyamory/consensual non-monogamy, kink/fetish/BDSM relationships, chosen families, asexuality and transgender intimacy. Through studies and reports, queer intimacies are analyzed to better understand how they affect normative behavior and how deviation is not always a bad thing.