Peculiar, Perverse and Preposterous Courses at American Colleges

, Alex Nitzberg, Leave a comment

  • “Queering Childhood”
  • “Queer Theory and the Bible”
  • “Queering Religion”
  • “Whiteness: Race, Sex and Representation”

The four preceding Pomona College course titles appear in the Young America’s Foundation’s (YAF) 2018-2019 Comedy and Tragedy Report, a compilation that lists the titles and descriptions of over 250 courses gathered from over 50 American institutions according to YAF.

Several Swarthmore College course titles in a similar vein include:

  • “Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology”
  • “Queering the History of Emotions”
  • “Queering the Bible”

While the titles themselves communicate some idea of the content pupils would consume in these courses, the class descriptions offer a more detailed perspective. For example, peruse the description for “Queering the Bible”:

This course surveys the queer and trans readings of biblical texts. It introduces students to the complexity of constructions of sex, gender, and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times. By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and trans theoretical approaches, this class destabilizes the long held assumptions about [what] the Bible—and religion—says about gender and sexuality.

Some of the courses listed for Middlebury College included:

  • “White People”
  • “American Misogyny”
  • “Beyond Intersectionality: Developing Anti-Racist and Anti-Capitalist Feminisms”

USA Today reported that the University of Kansas 2019-2020 course catalog listed a course on “Angry White Male Studies.” The course description on the University of Kansas website explains:

This course charts the rise of the “angry white male” in America and Britain since the 1950s, exploring the deeper sources of this emotional state while evaluating recent manifestations of male anger. Employing interdisciplinary perspectives this course examines how both dominant and subordinate masculinities are represented and experienced in cultures undergoing periods of rapid change connected to modernity as well as to rights-based movements of women, people of color, homosexuals and trans individuals.

While YAF’s report did not include classes from the University of Kansas, it did list courses like Northwestern University’s “Unsettling Whiteness,” Providence College’s “The Power of Whiteness,” and Villanova University’s “Politics of Whiteness.”