Kansas State University


Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Program and Faculty Update: Women’s Studies is Making a Difference

The Queer Studies Minor is Added to the College of Arts and Sciences by Torry Dickinson

In fall, 2014 the new minor Queer Studies was added to K-State’s curriculum. Initiated by and administered under Women’s Studies, Queer Studies is an interdisciplinary field that promotes an understanding of queer identities and queer theoretical lenses. It also helps recognize and and expands the conditions that promote social justice. Queer Studies looks at how personal experience and identity formations are shaped by intersections of race, gender, sexuality, ability, nation, and institutional power structures. Queer Studies is a 15-credit hour minor that has one required course, WOMST 325 Queer Studies: Concepts, History and Politics. Four additional courses can be chosen from a list of approved electives offered by Women’s Studies and many Arts and Sciences departments. Women’s Studies majors and minors can count one of their elective courses towards both the Queer Studies minor and a Women’s Studies degree.

MEET A NEW FACULTY MEMBER: Queering and Filipinizing the Midwest by Thomas X. Sarmiento

Hello, Women’s Studies community! My name is Tom Sarmiento, and I am delighted to be a Visiting Lecturer in Women’s Studies this year. I recently completed my PhD in American Studies with a Minor in Feminist and Critical Sexuality Studies from the University of Minnesota in July 2014. I am currently working on my first book manuscript The Heartland of Empire: Queer Filipina/o Reimaginings of the Midwest, which revises my dissertation research. Analyzing popular cultural, literary, dramatic, and televisual representations of Filipinas/os—the second largest Asian ethnic group in the US and once formally colonized by the US—rooted in and routed through the Midwest, I problematize the Midwest as a place popularly imagined as devoid of imperial legacies, people of color, and queer people to produce alternative visions of region, nation, and diaspora.

This fall, I am teaching two sections of Introduction to Women’s Studies, one of which is completely online, and The QueerAsian Midwest, a topics course based on my research and which counts toward the Queer Studies Minor. In the spring, I shall teach another section of Introduction to Women’s Studies, Women of Color Feminism, and Asian American Literatures, that latter of which will also count toward the Queer Studies Minor. I have enjoyed helping students discover the power of critical race, feminist, and queer scholarship and witnessing their “coming to” radical social transformation even more so. My Intro students are currently reading Gaga Feminism by Jack Halberstam, and I love how they are able to draw connections between popular culture and their lived experience to unsettle the gender and sexual norms that discipline us, yet do not actually reflect reality. Likewise, my QueerAsian Midwest students and I have had great conversations that challenge the place we call home; our vision of Kansas is not quite the dull gray of Dorothy’s. As someone who writes about Filipino writer Bienvenido Santos and his tenure as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Wichita State University during the 1970s and early 1980s, I find teaching and living in Kansas only fitting.

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