Polly Gannon, Independent Researcher & Melis Umut, Stony Brook University

Cult J: Border(ing) Sexuality: Transnational Sexualities in Film and Text

Melis Umut (Stony Brook University) Mary (Polly) Gannon (NYI Academic Director of Critical Cultural Studies)
This seminar critically examines the social and cultural constructions of non-normative sexualities on a global level, and the ways that borders and bordering are implicated in them. We will look at what constitutes non-normative sexualities in different cultural contexts, always considering how they are lived in people’s (our) everyday experience. In addition to several readings, we will look at films that vigorously portray nuanced ways of living, acting on, performing, and representing so-called othered sexualities in a patriarchal and heteronormative world order. Our seminar particularly investigates the mundane experience of those who are othered otherwise—by race, ethnicity, nation, and ability—so intersectionality and transnational feminism will be critical tools we will be using throughout the seminar. Using these critical tools, we will explore how social forces, such as global capitalism, citizenship, nationalism, human rights, securitization, neoliberalism, settler colonialism, tourism, mass media and migration shape and produce desires, sexual identities, sexual labor, sexual practices, bodies and genders. By the end of the seminar, participants will gain an investigative outlook on how certain sexualities—those which do not necessarily approximate the mainstream and heterosexual world order—equip their performers with new everyday methodologies and survival strategies that aid them in negotiating their other ‘othered’ identities.