Spring 2018 | CUNY Graduate Center | IDS 70100: Introduction to Queer Studies


OER from GLAAD… Not Queer Enough? (Francesca Petronio)

Hi everyone, I hope I am posting in the right place, still trying to get my bearings. The title of the post is more sensational than the actual content. 

My first instinct when searching for OERs was to find an interesting, enjoyable and accessible comprehensive blog about Foucault. I was struck by the sheer quantity of blogs, ranging from the dense doctoral proto-articles, to the comic strip: Foucault Explained with Hipsters. The latter also offered Butler Explained with Cats, which seemed promising. I am not ready to select a single one yet, and may need more time to get acquainted with the post-modern blogosphere before making a choice.

Since I found it overwhelming to query (queer-y) by author, or canon, I decided to look for results that could populate a subsection of a syllabus, namely media and representation. I landed on GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV Report which rates stations and series for the quantity and quality of media representation of characters and plots reflecting diversity in sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and ability. I thought a source by GLAAD could open up conversations about the relationship between queer theory and mainstream LGBT institutions like the HRC, the politics of marriage, and many other issues. The website with a free, downloadable report, also offers the archive of reports dating back to 2005: https://www.glaad.org/whereweareontv17

I immediately thought about the assignments that could emerge from this reading. I might ask students to look for changes over the years, see if there is such a thing as linear progress, or any trends they identify in the data. I might also have them blog about the shows they are watching, or the media they encounter on a daily basis, and what messages are being communicated about race, gender, sexuality, ability, the body etc. I could ask them to design their own report of media representation, focusing on what they would look for, or the limitations or strengths of the GLAAD report. The use of a public document put out by an organization raises questions about the institution’s values and stakeholders. I will continue to think about this as I search for more sources from other organizations.  

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