A person, facing away from the viewer, holds a small rainbow flag in their right hand. Their left hand is at their forehead like a military salute.

What is Queer Studies?                                                                                                                                                                      

Queer Studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines how gender, sexuality and ideas of "normal" work together with race, ethnicity, nationality, class, disability, age and religion to create social categories that result in structural, institutional, and ideological discrimination—and further—imagines and works towards social justice for all people. We offer an undergraduate minor in Queer Studies as well as graduate minors at the Master's and PhD levels. We also are a participating program in the Master's of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (M.A.I.S.).

Queer Studies isn't just for people who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer. Queer Studies is for those who want to work for social transformation at all levels. Queer Studies is for everyone.

Queer Studies at Oregon State University

Our curriculum centers on perspectives and critical approaches that focus on Queer Indigenous/Two-Spirit critiques, Queer of Color Critiques, Queer Diasporic Critiques, Transnational Sexualities and Feminisms, Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming critiques, Queer Disability activism, and other grassroots movements for radical social change. We place queer women of color feminisms at the center of our pedagogy, curriculum and educational goals. In these aspects, Queer Studies at OSU is unique among Queer Studies programs throughout the United States.

Queer Studies Student Learning Outcomes
Through theory and practice, Queer Studies minors will be able to:

  • Recognize and articulate entwined relationship between heterosexism, patriarchy, gender regimes, racism, classism, colonialism, and xenophobia
  • Critically engage oppression and inequality through intersectional analyses in scholarship
  • Practice tactics of intervention in their scholarship and activism that challenges all systems of oppression and inequality
  • Interrogate one's own multiple and shifting social locations in relationship to intersecting systems of power
  • Practice social justice and transformation through scholarly, artistic, and organizational projects that engage both the OSU campus and local, national and international communities.

Queer Studies Courses at OSU

The Queer Studies curriculum at Oregon State University is the newest addition to the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. Click here for more information.


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What can Queer Studies do for me?


Queer Studies enhances student knowledge and learning throughout the curriculum at Oregon State University, and bolsters student success through future career paths in:

  • Non-profit leadership
  • Grassroots activism and organizing
  • Social Work
  • Public health
  • Public policy
  • K-12 Education
  • Writing & Publishing
  • Art, Film and Performance
  • Public Media
  • Future academic work at the MA and PhD levels

 Why do you use the word "queer?" Isn't that offensive?

 "Queer" is sometimes used in derogatory ways, but has a long history of being used in positive ways both inside and outside of academia. While it was originally used as a derogatory word for people who might identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender, LGBT communities and grassroots movements reclaimed the word "queer" in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The claiming of the word "queer" is meant to disrupt simple identity categories and challenge ideas of "normal." In grassroots movements, it's used in a number of ways:

  1. As an "umbrella" term for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people.
  2. As a political term for that works to resist notions of "the normal," and instead point out that identities are fluid and complex.

In academia, "queer" emerged through these grassroots movements as a concept that questions ideas of "the normal" and analyzes the ways in which power functions through creating "normality." "Queer Studies" and "Queer Theory" are the names of disciplines and fields of study in academic contexts, and have been established through programs, scholarship, arts, and activism since the early 1990s.

For more information, contact Dr. Qwo-Li Driskill