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

Queer OER

goodbye unselfconscious teaching of settler sexualities, an internet selection (Olivia)

I was trying to remember what the definition of OER is, but then I thought the issue is not that I can’t remember, it’s actually that I never really got what we are talking about in class. Economic opportunity/standing is one thing. So we discussed needing to have a syllabus that anyone with an internet connection can access. And we assumed/we know that anyone enrolled at a CUNY campus can access the internet at least while physically present on campus. But then there’s the task of making the material accessible to anyone, not just CUNY undergraduates. Which I was thinking about in relation to two podcasts/news I listened to this weekend (Breakdances with Wolves, Skoden Chronicles) where 1. Winona LaDuke was saying that on their reservation kids want to go into town all the time to use Wifi and Winona LaDuke is saying it’s not sustainable to drive 30 miles every day and 2. Elizabeth LaPensee talking about Indigenous Futurisms and video games, and about the importance of designing games that are played offline, since a lot of Indigenous folks don’t have stable internet connections on reservations. Thinking about open education only in the context of not having to pay money for a book or subscription or etc. or even in terms of accessibility as ability in pretty narrowly defined settler colonial terms mirrors ‘academic’ methodologies. So I want my syllabus to reflect on this, to be self conscious or at least teach students that these issues (accessibility, sexuality, intersubjectivity, property, race etc.) are connected and how and why.

Starting from there, I decided to think about from whom (in an academic context) do I learn how to change my life, like not just think or write my paper about something, but actually understand what is going on; who helps me to excavate my conceptions of reality and shift them? To meet this criteria it has to be work that does not take for granted that sexuality and gender are racialized categories that have been deployed and sustained in settler colonial contexts to power boarder imperialism and enforce property law, settlement and nationhood. This to me is queer studies, not the canon that people sometimes speak about, but rather work that is about what sexuality and gender actually do, rather than theorizing them as social constructions or identities or performances or x, y, or z.

One person who is very active in ‘OER’ situations is Dr. Kim TallBear, who wrote a great book called “Native American DNA” and who has a blog, Twitter, and is findable in a lot of ‘free’ talks online, not to mention that their ‘academic’ work on genome science is becoming more and more integrated with their work on critical polyamory, as both are part of their work on decolonization more broadly. Here is a selection:


In regards to what might be considered more ‘traditional’ Queer studies, I would also want to show students the following videos, because they might help to transition into understanding that sexual and gender identities as we theorize them most often in the university are tools of racial oppression and control:

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