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


Thinking Backward (Katia)

First of all, this work makes me think backward. I worked with a friend that’s trained and experienced into pedagogy. I learned a lot from him and I try to apply what he transmitted to my approach of creating syllabi in general. I start with the “Competency Approach” with that question: What competences (mental, practical) I want my students to come out with by the end of the semester? From there, we develop objectives – a general one, a list of intermediate ones and a list of specific ones. For each competence, I then develop activities that will help me attain my objectives. From that I have a table that I follow: it’s like a dashboard. So, I am still a little bite uneasy with finding course materials while not having clear learning objectives. But from our discussion during our first class, I concluded that our main objective is to expose our students to the main authors and concepts in the field of Queer Studies. I really like the idea of finding only free materials- free as long as the students can access Internet, a computer, electricity etc. I have not taught in the CUNY system so far, but these materials barriers have marked my experience with students in Haiti. But from what I am learning from my experience in the US, these can be barriers in the US too.

My second problem is that I myself have not read all the books that are part of the list we created, so it’s harder to know the concepts that are important for students to know and understand.

I started with book reviews from the Graduate Center library’s One Search and came across Project Muse where some book reviews are available:  muse.jhu.edu

I generally try to have visual materials and specially videos in my classes. Some Universities put their talks online and it’s a way to find great and serious materials. So I went to YouTube and found some interviews of Kate Bornstein: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QXmGN0rot0. This one could be a great way to start a thought provoking discussion on gender in the classroom.

On Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, I found this MACAT video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piF4YOiIYS0.

It’s just a start but it could be a good way to introduce a class, with questions prepared in advance to help lead the discussions.

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