The Program in Women's Studies offers a minor in Queer Studies, providing students with an opportunity to study sexuality as a complex historical and cultural formation, rather than merely a feature of intimacy or an outcome of universal and unchanging biological forces. UCI’s minor was established in 2005, and is one of a growing number of similar degrees being offered at universities and colleges internationally.
Queer Studies scholarship addresses a number of central questions:
- What constitutes the history of sexuality?
- How is gender related to sexuality?
- How are cultural norms of sexuality linked to assumptions about the proper desires and capacities of bodies?
- How is sexuality linked to processes of racialization? By what means and to what ends is sexuality policed?
Queer Studies is a relatively new field, emerging in the 1990s. It draws upon concepts and methods from anthropology, history, geography, psychology, sociology, literature, philosophy, political theory, biology, art, and art history, religious studies, science and technology studies, performance studies, and visual studies. Queer Studies focuses on the study of how norms are produced and come to be taken for granted, and, conversely how they are destabilized either through their own internal contradictions or through the interventions of activists seeking social justice. Thus the field shares intellectual affinities with the interdisciplinary fields of women's studies, gender studies, ethnic studies, critical legal studies, and cultural studies.