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


Sexual harassment in higher education as a topic in a queer studies course (Naoko)

After a month of wrestling with the question of what Open Educational Resources are, I feel I arrived at a simple conclusion that if it is available online for free and legally, whatever information could be used as OER. Now that I cleared material-based question, I can move on to a more fundamental question, without any worries, of what I would teach in my course on queer studies. The contents you teach should be what you want to teach and you could handle as well, so they would be derived from somewhere in your research interests. In my case, the issue of sexual harassment in educational settings can make such a subject. Then among recent publications on this issue available online, I selected this article as a promising material for my teaching:

Susan K. Gardner, “Coming out of the Sexual Harassment Closet: One Woman’s Story of Politics and Change in Higher Education,” 2009. NWSA Journal, Vol.21. No.2.

Susan K. Gardner
The University of Maine
Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies & the Rising Tide Center
Professor of Higher Education
Ph.D., 2005, Washington State University

You might wonder what is queer about the contents of the article, but I hope it is usable in queer studies courses. Documenting her past experience semi-autoethnographically, Gardner realizes that telling sexual harassment story is similar to coming out process. Like “coming out of the closet,” the process toward understanding and internalizing sexual harassment experience is slow and painful building of a new identity. Moreover, “much like coming out regarding sexual orientation, historically, victims of sexual harassment have been viewed as abnormal and wrong for speaking out about their experiences” (172). I share that view with Gardner. I think that stigma upon sexual harassment survivors explains why # Metoo movement can give such a huge impact on society. Sexual harassment is not outdated and it is mostly kept in silence even in 2010s. That is one of the reasons I decided to want to use her article in my teaching.

PDF of the article and my OER bibliography will be put in Dropbox.


  1. Naoko,

    I added a comment to your post, but then realized I wasn’t logged in to the Commons when I sent it. Please let me know if you received it or not. Thanks! Matt

  2. Naoko


    I did not receive the comment you said you have sent to me yet.


  3. See Tobin Siebers’s article, “Disability as Masquerade,” for an analysis of the metaphorization of “coming out” in the contexts of disability.

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