LGBTQ Studies First Year Courses

Director: M. Rugg

The minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies (LGBT) examines the lives and representations of individuals and groups considered sexual minorities, as well as the various forces that have affected them across cultures and throughout time. Sexuality offers a critical lens to analyze communities, cultures, and subcultures; institutions, discourses, and literatures; economic and political movements; the social construction of power, status, and hierarchies; and identity categories configured on the basis of age, ability, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and religion. Moreover, sexuality is considered as the subject of biological, medical, and psychological research. 

LGBT is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary minor that emphasizes the application of new theories and methodologies (e.g., queer, feminist, critical race, and multicultural theories) to established disciplines as it promotes the generation of new knowledge within traditional fields. Through the minor, students gain critical understandings of normative categorization, query unspoken assumptions, examine social stratification and distributions of power, and explore the diversity of forms that sexuality has taken historically and in contemporary contexts. For more information, you may contact the director, Professor Marilyn Rugg (



Examines lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer film cultures from transnational and global perspectives. Courses on LGBTQ cinema most often focus on North America and Western Europe, well-known for their prolific output of gay, lesbian, and transgender film and media. Less frequently included are the wide range of films produced (since the 1980s and 1990s) from India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Egypt, Tunisia, Guinea, Uganda, Israel, and Russia. Anazlying these films alongside contemporary theoretical discussions of gender and sexuality, students explore how LGBTQ concerns from non-Western countries continue to test the possibilities of film and media aesthetics and politics, and bring the cinematic form in dialogue with the complexities and geopolitics of gender and sexuality.

Explores the lives, experiences, and representations of LGBTQ persons, those who identify or are identified as transgressive in terms of their sexuality and/or gender expression. Particular emphases may vary, but topics typically explore LGBTQ communities and families, cultures, and subcultures; histories, institutions, and literatures; and/or economic and political lives. Selected topics serve to expose complex cultural forces that continue to shape sexuality and regulate its various expressions. The course promotes the examination of new theories and methodologies in relation to established disciplines as it underscores the generation of new knowledge within traditional fields of scholarship. By examining sexualities, students gain an understanding of and respect for other differences in human lives such as age, ability, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and religion. 

The Fall 2019 offering of LGBT 220 will continue the work of developing the Queer Activism at Colgate digital history project by focusing attention and coursework on collecting testimonials and oral histories. Contributions will enhance the digital timeline created by students in Fall 2018, which can be found at

Religions of Resistance: Gender, Sexuality and Performance in the Caribbean 

Studies African-derived religions and practices in the Caribbean, particularly the ways in which they constitute anticolonial and decolonial perspectives and practices. By exploring texts drawn from cultural studies, religious studies, literature, theatre and anthropology, students will develop an analytical framework through which to examine concepts such as syncretism and hybridity, ritual and bodily performance, and the construction of gender and sexuality. Key concerns in this course are the empowerment of women and people of diverse gender and sexual identities in religious contexts, black identity in the Caribbean and beyond, and the creation of new spaces for marginalized voices to be heard.

Explores gender from a variety of angles, and in tandem with race, ethnicity, class, religion, sexuality, and other markers of identity. Students develop vocabulary and tools to speak and think critically about oppression, patriarchy, social change, and common assumptions about the world and people around us. A primary goal is to explore both the forces that feed into inequality and discrimination, and ways to resist, challenge, and overcome those forces. Students explores issues ranging from bodies, work, families, identity, politics, medicine, history, and the media, as well as the ways in which feminist movements around the world have addressed these topics.