Massachusetts College Course Looks to Instruct in “Queer World-Building”

Massachusetts College Course Looks to Instruct in “Queer World-Building” May 22, 2018

Now, even the buildings have sexual orientation.

I wish that was a joke, but it’s not.

For those parents thinking of sending their impressionable waifs to Tufts University in Massachusetts, understand that this fall, they could be treated to a course examining something called “queer spatial aesthetics” and “queer world-making.” Particular attention will be paid to the architecture of gay bathhouses, night clubs, and “cruising grounds.”

Yeah. That’s a thing, apparently.

From the folks over at Campus Reform:

According to the course syllabus, “Queer Space: Explorations in Art and Architecture” will address questions such as: “What is ‘queer space’? How have works of art and architecture shaped queer understandings and experiences of space?”

Conversely, students will also learn about “spaces of queer appropriation,” including “campuses,” “streets” and “cityscapes.”

Queer appropriation?

I honestly can say that I have no idea what that is, and have no desire to find out.

Students heading into Tufts’ Architecture program, as either a major or a minor will be treated to this, however. And if there’s any confusion, the term “queer space” will be unpacked in the introductory unit of the course. The unit will also tackle the question of how art, architecture, and theory disciplines have treated “questions of (non-normative) gender and sexuality.”

No. Seriously. What are they saying?

Students will then delve deeper into subjects such as “Cruising and the Spatialization of Sex” to discuss how architecture has “contributed to the development (and erasure) of certain sexual subjectivities and practices,” as well as the role architecture has played in “social control, in policing gender and sexuality.”

It seriously sounds like they’re suggesting that buildings control your sex life.

I guess that’s true, when you consider most would prefer to keep it indoors, rather than be caught doing very private things out in a field or an Arby’s parking lot.

Also included on the syllabus are units focused on “Nightlife and Tourism”—which asks, “How were spaces of nightlife, sex, and tourism also sites of architectural production and aesthetic play?”—and “Diasporas, Borders, Globalization,” which has students consider the ways that art is “a privileged site for interrogating and undoing Westernist/universalist notions of queer gender and sexuality.”

I can legitimately say your little darlings might come out better avoiding this and going to a 2-year trade school to study masonry.

The course will be taught by a gentleman named Jackson Davidow. He’s a PhD “candidate,” from MIT’s History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture department.

Davidow explains in the course description that students “will examine how a range of artists, architects, curators, critics, and other cultural practitioners have developed aesthetic and political strategies to engage with their spatial and built environments.”

“Beyond ruminating on queer spatial aesthetics and form,” he adds, “we will navigate spaces of queer world-making (e.g. bathhouses, nightclubs, cruising grounds, alternative art venues, domestic settings, archives, memorials, the Internet), as well as spaces of queer appropriation (e.g. museums, campuses, streets, cityscapes, environments, borderlines).”

“We will also explore the queer dimensions of space in relation to spatialized concepts of diaspora, (de)-colonization, globalization, gentrification, and climate change,” the description concludes, noting that students will “have the opportunity to create an artwork or exhibition proposal” as part of their coursework.

Are we getting the picture, parents?

In November, they intend to drag these impressionable youth to an MIT forum called “Future Genders.” I’m assuming they expect more to come along, at some point.

Liberals really do hate science.

In describing the forum, Davidow describes it as a:

“rare exploration of past, present, and future gender identifications in relation to contemporary artistic practice.” A critical response paper about the event will be required.

Utter and complete rubbish.

The course is listed as part of an “Experimental College” program, meant to expose students to something outside of traditional – as in, useful – coursework.

As I’ve said before, I have nothing against a college education. Expanding our knowledge, training for higher callings in the fields of medicine, law, media – all important.

That being said, the purposes of our college campuses are now being subverted by those with agendas outside of instruction. They’re attempting to craft a future that fits their anti-science, anti-God, anti-everything that has proven useful in propagating an advanced, workable society, in favor of their social justice causes.

I’m pretty sure we’re about a generation away from something resembling an H.G. Wells novel.

With that in mind, it’s all the more important that you give your young ones a firm foundation to stand on, before sending them out into the world. Those spaces you neglect to cover in their spiritual upbringing, the world outside is waiting to fill.


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  • Polarbearpapa

    1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

    2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

    6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

    2 Timothy 3

  • Eryq Ouithaqueue

    I went to a pretty well-known liberal university for my degree in Computer Science. We had a requirement to take some courses outside our discipline to be more well-rounded — for example, freshman writing seminars (to ensure that we could communicate ideas effectively), phys. ed. courses (to ensure we didn’t become energy-less blobs at age 17), etc. I also elected to take a semester of drawing/painting, a semester of cognitive psychology, and I used astrophysics to satisfy my science requirement. I even did some theater on the side.

    Result? The cog psych background led me to Artificial Intelligence research. Right after I got my Master’s, I got a job at NASA using applied AI techniques for feature detection in satellite imagery.
    The writing and drawing gave me a strong edge in preparing technical presentations/papers, and my time on the stage prepared me for public speaking. Now I’m an independent IT business owner and software architect/developer who utilizes those skills every day. I’ve had my technical writing published by O’Reilly Associates, and I’ve presented at tech conferences in Europe on the conference-organizer’s dime.

    I’m certain that none of these things would have come to fruition if I’d been a workhorse who focused solely on computer science and programming. You *never* know where a well-rounded education will lead you.

  • earhartam

    For the record, I cant stand the word “queer.” I was taught not to use slang when referring to any group of people because it was derogatory and hurtful. So using it to describe themselves doesnt sound right to me.

    Back to the topic…

    I agree with you, somewhat. My background is similarly well-rounded. I have found many employers prefer applicants who have an understanding beyond a narrow field of study, as well. It has given me an edge, absolutely.

    I do wonder, however, what one might glean from a course that is so narrowly focused on being “queer.” I read the syllabus and Susan merely skims the surface.

    I can imagine that someone who feels personally excluded from the core architecture curriculum might find some comfort knowing they are not alone in the field and perhaps even help them find their own architectural niche.

    But, mostly though this course sounds more like a club instead of a serious teaching moment. I guess I am missing how this class could help a heterosexual architecture student.

  • Eryq Ouithaqueue

    As someone who once considered going into Architecture (before computers came along), the idea of “form follows function” can be extended to the general principle that the shape of a space should be determined by the needs of the individuals who are most likely to occupy it.

    I don’t know what the professor means by “queer spaces” though, since I don’t see the needs of non-heterosexual people being *that* different from heterosexuals. I suppose a lesbian bar needs more women’s room space/stalls, but that seems like something you could cover in a single lecture.

    In contrast, I sometimes drive past the building for the National Federation of the Blind, and I’m extremely curious to know if the building was designed with blind people specially in mind — and if so, what principles were put in place. I can imagine *many* interesting differences in such spaces.

  • Donalbain

    Conservatism in a nutshell:

    I honestly can say that I have no idea what that is, and have no desire to find out.

    OK.. so you aren’t interested in the intersection of design and society, big deal. I wouldn’t really expect you to be. But when you get upset about course being OFFERED that you are not interested in, you just seem silly.