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*SOCI 3356 Queer Identities: Decades

From the AJC Photographic Archives

Couple in Gay Pride Day celebration, Atlanta, Georgia, June 19, 1980.

AJCP212-021a, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.

Heteronormativity + Hegemony + Intersectionality + Critical Information Literacy = The Decades Paper Assignment

In your class you've been talking about heteronormativity, hegemony, and intersectionality.  And we librarians like to talk about critical information literacy - the fusion of these frameworks produce questions like the following:

How is heteronormativity as a hegemonic, hierarchal social system:

  • historically situated?
  • influenced by intersectionality?

And how does it exert power and influence over information production, dissemination, access, and consumption?

When doing the research for this assignment and writing up your diary entries and reflection, we challenge you to consider:

  • how the sociohistorical and heteronormative context of your decade influences: 
    • the process by which you would search for information
    • the overall accessibility of information
    • the “credibility” of such information (i.e., how credible is the information if it is biased by the dominant heteronormative culture?)
    • your identity as a teen/young adult in this decade
  • how the research process itself would have created barriers (literal and/or emotional) in LGBT/Q youth’s access to information within your decade, and what challenges continue in present day within this realm.

Throughout this guide you'll see areas that begin with Some things to think about... followed by questions that are informed by the above.

Basics of the Assignment

You will assume the identity of a young person “coming out” into an LGBTQ sexual identity during a specific assigned decade between the 1950s and the present.  As this person, you do not feel comfortable consulting anyone regarding your questions, feelings, and concerns; consequently, you will seek out other sources of information from your decade. 

You will summarize the information/advice you find in at least five sources, and write about how, in this imaginary identity, you might have responded to this information.  Sources should be the kind of material a young person (14-22 years of age) would have access to, such as books, magazines, newspapers, television programs, movies, and/or songs. 

In approximately four pages, you will write “diary” entries about how you, in this imaginary identity, responded to the information that you’ve found.  Then, in one page (5th page of the paper), you – now yourself in the present – will write about the experience and what you learned from the exercise.

Assignment originally created by Wendy Simonds; adapted by Beth Cavalier, Marni Brown, Maura Ryan, and Marik Xavier-Brier.

Sociology Librarian


(a la Salvador Dalí)

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