COPLAC Making Strange Learning Contract: Shaping Queer Identity, Desiring “the Other”: Sexuality, Gender, Fantasy, and Strangeness

Orientalism by Donovan Cleckley

Making Strange:

Constructing Identities and Making Sense of Our Surroundings

Learning Contract


Annika Bastian & Donovan Cleckley


Dr. Yvonne Franke & Dr. Janet Wesselius

COPLAC Digital Humanities Project:

Shaping Queer Identity, Desiring “the Other”:

Sexuality, Gender, Fantasy, and Strangeness

Mission Statement:

“Your silence today is a pond where drowned things live

I want to see raised dripping and brought into the sun.”

– Adrienne Rich, excerpt from “Twenty-One Love Poems,” The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977

This project titled “Shaping Queer Identity, Desiring “the Other”: Sexuality, Gender, Fantasy, and Strangeness” will discuss gender and sexuality within the framework of making strange. Considering the consumption of the Other, this project will examine strangeness in terms of gender and sexuality in anime and manga, in particular, although we will investigate other sources of “making strange” in multimedia sources (as noted in the revised schedule). Visual imagery and language function to horrify and excite, to arouse and engage, and, in this way, we will examine queer identity itself as a textual spectacle in anime, manga, songs, and other multimedia. To an extent, language will be the focus; however, communication often occurs through these media without language. When considering language, we must consider the way perspectives construct and reconstruct identities, the way desire oftentimes shapes what people consider “the Other,” what people might frame within a fantasy. Using our studies as a vehicle for exploration, we hope to bring diverse sexuality out into the sun, to recognize queerness as “Other,” but also create a site that thoughtfully discusses society and culture, a place to display queerness which was once hidden beneath the surface of perception.


Our project will predominantly involve the creation and development of our WordPress page as a site to discuss multimedia analyses of homosexuality. While written text will play a role in the creation of the page, we will involve visuals, artistic images, collages, and videos (potentially linked YouTube videos) to further discuss gender and sexuality as they are often made strange across cultures and societies.

We will be using research that interests both of us as a way of facilitating the discussion of gender and sexuality as these are often othered. Through the usage of academic articles and textual analyses (involving songs and other multimedia sources), we will create a project that is informative of the ways gender and sexuality are constructed using sameness and difference.

Scheduled Dates for Project Completion:

-Feb. 27-March 3:

Narrow Down Article Selections/Begin Research (or Peruse Current Research)/Develop a Framework for Discussing Queer Sexuality and Desiring “the Other”

-March 6-10:

Further Discuss and Consider the Queer Studies and Feminism Directions for Researching Gender and Sexuality in the Context of Desiring “the Other”

Potential Reading:

“Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance” by bell hooks

-March 13-17:

Introducing Queer Theory and Discussing Sexual Spectacles/Writing Initial WordPress Posts

Potential Reading:

“Queer Theory and Feminism” by Kathy Rudy

-March 20-24:

Gender and Sexuality Made into Other: Resisting Compulsory Heterosexuality and Heteronormativity

Potential Artifacts:

“Androgyny” and “Cherry Lips” by Garbage from Beautiful Garbage

***Particular attention will be given to queer theory (even from the Rudy reading) and also to the visuals within the videos.

Potential Readings:

“The Other Side of Dialogue: On Making the Other Strange and the Experience of Otherness” by Z.D. Gurevitch

“Queer Theory for Everyone: A Review Essay” by Sharon Marcus

-March 27-31:

Gay Male Studies, “Othering Language,” and Studies in Homosexuality

Potential Artifacts:

“Ask a Gay Dude” from Chappelle’s Show

Short excerpts involving “fag” from Paul Beatty’s The Sellout

Paragraph involving “fag” from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me

Potential Readings:
“Hypothalamic Criticism: Gay Male Studies and Male Feminist Criticism” by Judith Roof

“A Foucauldian Analysis of Homosexuality” by George Drazenovich

Selected Readings from Dude, You’re a Fag by C.J. Pascoe

-April 3-7:

Anime, Manga, Eroticizing Gay Males, and Female Sexuality/Continued WordPress Posts

Potential Artifact:

Ten Count Volumes 1 & 2 by Rihito Takarai

Potential Accompanying Readings:

“101 Uses for Boys: Communing with the Reader in Yaoi and Slash” by Marni Stanley from Boys’ Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre

“Raping Apollo: Sexual Difference and the Yaoi Phenomenon” by Alan Williams from Boys’ Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre

“Social and Behavioral Constructions of Female Sexuality” by Patricia Y. Miller and Martha R. Fowlkes

April 10-14:

Continued Anime, Manga, Eroticizing Gay Males/Discussing Pornography Consumption and Queer Visibility/Continued WordPress Posts

Potential Artifact:

Viewfinder Volumes 1, 2, & 3 by Ayano Yamane

Potential Accompanying Readings:

“Uttering the Absurd, Revaluing the Abject: Femininity and the Disavowal of Homosexuality in Transnational Boys’ Love Manga” by Neal K. Akatsuka from Boys’ Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre

“Pornography Consumption and US Adults’ Attitudes toward Gay Individuals’ Civil Liberties, Moral Judgments of Homosexuality, and Support for Same-Sex Marriage: Mediating and Moderating Factors” by Paul J. Wright, Robert S. Tokunaga, and Soyoung Bae

-April 17-21:

Continued Anime, Manga, Eroticizing Gay Males/Queerness as Both “Other” and Commodity/The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Examining Gender, Sexuality, and Otherness

Potential Artifact:

Don’t Be Cruel to Me! Volumes 1 & 2 by Yonezou Nekota

Potential Accompanying Readings:

“Queering the Quotidian: Yaoi, Narrative Pleasures and Reader Response” by Mark Vicars and Kim Senior from Boys’ Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre

-April 24-28:

Peer/Instructor Feedback/Additional Editing and Touchups

-May 1-5:

Final Editing/Presentation