HL90 EX: Queer Latinx Borderlands

More new HL90s to check out! Tommy Conners shared more about Queer Latinx Borderlands and also some tv recommendations!

Tell us about your class!

“Queer Latinx Borderlands” is an intro to Latinx Studies where queer describes both the what and the how: not only are a lot of the cultural texts, films, poems, and documentaries we’ll study queer, but our look into the histories of race, gender, sexuality, and citizenship will try to pick apart their normativity and highlight their impacts on the many facets of Latinidad.

What is a book you’re excited to share with students?

Carmen María Machado’s 2019 memoir In the Dream House. Not only does it center on an abusive queer relationship between women (a topic that hardly gets any attention, generally speaking), it does so by playing with different genres and styles of writing like horror, sci-fi thriller, erotica, utopia, and even choose-your-own-adventure. The idea of a dream house always makes me rethink the idea of queer safe space, too—who is it safe for and from, how do we know it’s safe?

What’s something surprising students might not know about this topic?

The US Customs and Border Patrol have jurisdiction within 100 miles of any border—a space where nearly 2 out of 3 people in the US live, Boston included. But with the expansion of that zone of policing can come an expansion of the generative analysis a framework of borderlands offers. Following in the footsteps of Chicana lesbian Gloria Anzaldúa, this means tracing, critiquing, and moving beyond the intersecting forces of, for example, North American and Latin American ideas of race, straightness, and masculinity. For “Queer Latinx Borderlands,” these intersections will bring us to Junot Díaz’s Dominican New Jersey, Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s Latinas of indigenous descent in the American West, and Raquel Salas Rivera’s Puerto Rican Philadelphia (to name a few!).

Why should students take this class?

You should take this class if you’re interested in what Queer Studies gains by studying the histories and cultural production of Latinx communities, and what Latinx Studies gains by focusing on gender and sexually nonconforming artists, thinkers, and activists.

The Netflix series Pose is on the syllabus. Why focus on the Black and Latinx queer ball culture of the eighties and nineties in a seminar about borderlands?

Pose is SO good and pulls together some seriously fascinating topics: queer kinship, gender performance, trans activism, the HIV/AIDS crisis. I also love it because it’s so full of joy, too: the joy of house making, competing, strutting, winning a perfect 10…You’d also best believe part of our conversation will be discussing what house we’d belong to—Abundance or Evangelista?!

How can students learn more?

Be sure to check out the course Canvas site to see all we’ll be getting into and send an email to thomasconners@fas.harvard.edu with any and all thoughts and questions!

Published by Hist & Lit

Committee on Degrees in History & Literature at Harvard University

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