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Queer studies

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"Queer studies" is the study of issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. Universities have also labelled this area of analysis Sexual Diversity Studies, Sexualities Studies or LGBTQ Studies.

There are a growing number of college courses in this area, and currently there are over 40 certificate and degree granting programs with at least five institutions in the United States offering an undergraduate major; a growing number of similar courses are offered in countries other than the USA. The first Department of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Studies was created at City College of San Francisco. Other colleges that provide degrees in the discipline include Yale University, the University of Maryland, University of California, Berkeley, UCLA, California State University Northridge, and DePaul University.

The field embraces the academic study of issues raised in literary theory, political science, history, sociology, philosophy, psychology, ethics, and other fields by an examination of the identity, lives, history, and perception of queer people.

Founding scholars in what has come to be called queer studies include Michel Foucault, Andrew Jeffers, Judith Butler, David Halperin, Audre Lorde, John Boswell, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Judith Halberstam. Precisely because of some of its major strands of analysis and work on public perception, a great emphasis is placed on the integration of theory and practice, with many programs encouraging community service work, community involvement, and activist work in addition to academic reading and research.

Techniques in queer studies include the search for queer influences and themes in works of literature; the analysis of political currents linking the oppression of women, racialized groups, and disadvantaged classes with that of queer people; and the search for queer figures and trends in history that queer studies scholars view as having been ignored and excluded from the canon.

Queer studies is not to be confused with queer theory, an analytical viewpoint within queer studies that is concentrated within the humanities — particularly the fields of literary studies and philosophy.

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