Queer Studies

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Queer Studies

Spotlight on Dr. Jacob Lau – 1st tenure track faculty member in QS

Dr. Jacob LauJacob Lau (he/him) is an Assistant Professor in the Queer Studies Program at California State University, Northridge. Lau writes on trans of color temporalities and affects in literature, film, and archival ephemera, through women of color feminist and postcolonial epistemologies, as well as queer/trans of color critique.
He is the co-editor of Michael Dillon/Lobzang Jivaka's 1962 trans memoir Out of the Ordinary: A Life of Gender and Spiritual Transitions (Fordham University Press, 2016), for which he also co-authored an introduction to the text with Cameron Partridge. Dillon was the first man assigned female at birth to medically transition with both testosterone and top and bottom surgeries, as well as the first European ordained in Tibetan Buddhism. Importantly, Dillon’s memoir demonstrates connections between the development of new medical technologies to “repair” the male body post-WWII in midcentury, the spread of Buddhism in Euro-America, and the rise of transsexual and transgender subjectivities within a colonial context. He has been interviewed by Public Radio International's The World for his work on Michael Dillon, and his writing has appeared in TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Amerasia Journal, Keywords for Gender and Sexuality Studies (NYU Press 2021), the SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies, The Routledge Companion to Gender and Affect, Feral Feminisms, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Graduate Journal of Social Science. He also has a forthcoming chapter on the work of Jasbir Puar in the second edition of Cultural Approaches to Studying Religion: An Introduction to Theories and Methods (Bloomsbury Academic, 2023).
Lau’s current book project, provisionally titled Falling Between the Times: Trans-Temporality, and Cisnormative Historicity situates materials from queer archives, trans memoir, Asian American and Asian diasporic texts within a transnational critique of what he is calling “trans-temporality.” By looking at how state-enacted forms of time regulate and discipline the experience of embodiment, through processes like immigration and administrative documentation Lau argues that cisnormative (non-trans) time allows some bodies more time to be visible, celebrated, and claimed by the nation, state, and transnational capital while trans bodies (particularly trans bodies of color) are decried as sexually aberrant, out-of-sync with the progress of the nation-state. Trans of color cultural production provides an alternative reading of trans history through unruly affects, pointing to other modes of survival.
Lau earned a Ph.D. in Gender Studies from UCLA, a M.T.S. in Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley. Prior to being at CSUN, he was an Assistant Professor at UNC at Chapel Hill in the Women's and Gender Studies Department and Director of the Sexuality Studies Program. From 2018-2020 Lau was a fellow through the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity at UNC, and prior to that was a UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Irvine in Film and Media Studies.


Pride parade

The Queer Studies (QS) Program at CSUN is a vibrant and growing minor launched in 2008. Housed in the College of Humanities, QS is an interdisciplinary minor that questions normative constructions of sexuality and gender. It is a flexible program that allows students to double count courses in GE as well as with their major. Students take 3 core courses, and 3 elective courses to complete the minor, which prepares them to work with LGBTQIA+ communities and issues.

The Queer Studies minor focuses on histories, contemporary experiences, and community-based knowledges of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, intersexed people, queers, and others who occupy non-heterosexist and non-normative gender positionalities.

The program explores how heterosexism, heteronormativity and transphobia intersect and collide with national, ethnic, racial, class and other identifications, fostering a community of learners who grapple with issues of diversity, gender, sexuality and social justice.

QS at CSUN provides an academic home for those who wish to study the intellectual, cultural and material conditions that have shaped our current understandings of sexuality and gender variation as well as for those who wish to generate new, resistant theories and practices. The program offers an undergraduate minor, sponsors courses, organizes lecture series, and brings together interested students, faculty, and larger Los Angeles communities.

QS Capstone Projects 2021

During the Spring 2021 semester, students graduating from California State University, Northridge with a minor in Queer Studies were tasked with completing a research project for their Senior Capstone, and were asked to convey the findings of that capstone project to the public in a podcast. Their podcasts are presented here in this digital exhibit, and cover a wide variety of topics that represent the multifaceted issues investigated within the interdisciplinary field of queer studies. Podcasts can be a research genre, and with the guidance of Professor Heidi Schumacher, students selected their own topics, conducted research using varied research methods (including textual analysis, interviews, autoethnography, and testimonio), and produced their own episodes by writing, recording, and editing their material. CSUN’s Queer Studies Program aims to support students as they contribute to scholarship and/or creative production and innovation in the interdisciplinary field of queer studies. We invite you to explore the scholarship and creative production of these outstanding graduates in their podcast episodes. VIEW AND LISTEN TO THE CAPSTONE PROJECTS