The Q–Community is a social justice living-learning community focused on creating an anti-racist, feminist, queer, pluralist community while engaging in discussion and dialogue about queering identity politics and engaging in intersectional work both on and off-campus.

Inside the Classroom

This course is about the complex relationships among social identities and social movements with a particular emphasis on queer identities and movements. From the Homophile Movement to the Human Rights Campaign, from the Gay Liberation Front to ACT UP, queer social movements illuminate issues of critical importance to scholars and activists alike—questions of assimilation, co-optation, and liberation; identity politics; challenges to the political system; and the importance of anger, love, and empathy. This course explores the influence of queer movements, politics, and attitude on other social movements in the U.S. and globally.

By embracing a wide range of political co-minglings, activist cross-fertilizations, and conflicting solidarities, the course intentionally blurs the distinction between its form and content. In terms of content, the course brings together the sociology of social movements with queer studies in order to ask fresh new questions about social movements and identity, including race, sexuality, and gender. The very format of the course flows from a queer take on conventional classes, and includes self-grading, shared responsibility for leading discussions, and consensus decision making regarding course topics. Through these approaches, the course both examines the historical arc of social justice activism in relation to slippery notions of identity, and invites students to experience themselves within that arc. 

Students will also have the opportunity to register for a .5 unit independent study with Common Ground in the spring. While the fall course is required, the spring independent study is not required for students in the Q–Community. The .5 unit independent study focuses on creating and implementing a regional Q–Summit that will focus on social justice issues in the area.  

Outside the Classroom

One of the goals of the Q–Community is to engage in critical dialogue with organizations in the Richmond Community and beyond engaged in current queer social movements. Students will attend at least 10 events both on and off campus focused on social justice, queer identity, and community engagement.  Additionally, Q–Community members will have an opportunity to meet and engage with the following organizations in the city of Richmond:

Students in the Q–Community will also engage with organizations working in queer social movements on a national level with a community trip through Washington, DC and New York City. Community members will visit historical sites like the Stonewall Inn and the National Mall, as well as organizations like the Anti-Violence Project, and National Center for Transgender Equality.

Course Fast Facts

Glyn Hughes
Ted Lewis 

WGSS 279/SOC 279: Queer Social Movements (1 unit)
Wednesday/Friday, 3–4:15 p.m. (Fall 2013)

Residence hall:
Freeman Hall (2013–14)

Group Travel:
NGLTF Creating Change Conference (January 2014)

Sample Course Readings

Course readings include works by:

  • Judith Butler
  • Audre Lorde
  • Dean Spade
  • David Eng
  • Riki Wilchins