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 in Corvallis and on Ecampus as well as graduate minors at the Master's and PhD levels.

Queer Studies isn't just for people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit, Intersex, and Asexual” (LGBTQ2SIA+).

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 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 challenge 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.

What can Queer Studies do for me?

Queer Studies curriculum, at Oregon State University, enhances student knowledge and learning by bolstering student success for future career paths in:


  • Grassroots activism and organizing
  • Direct services
  • Non-profit leadership
  • Social work
  • Mental health services
  • Medical fields
  • Public health
  • Public policy and law
  • Art, film, and performance
  • Public media and journalism
  • K-12 education
  • Writing, editing, and publishing
  • Future academic work at the MA and PhD levels

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

While “queer” was originally used as a derogatory word for people who might identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQ2SIA+), LGBTQ2SIA+ communities and grassroots movements reclaimed "queer" in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The reclaiming 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:

  • As an "umbrella" term for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Asexual” (LGBTQ2SIA+) people.
  • As a political term for that works to resist notions of "the normal," and instead point out how 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 "normal" "Queer Studies" and "Queer Studies" and "Queer Theory" are the names of academic disciplines and fields of study and were established through programs, scholarship, arts, and activism since the early 1990s.

For more information, contact Head Academic Advisor Heather Arbuckle.