Class studies ‘queer’ movies, looks to expand understanding

Samantha Wright

A new class has been added to the program of spring classes: History of Queer Cinema, taught by assistant professor of history Marko Dumanč

The class analyzes films from the twentieth century from a ‘queer’ perspective and examines how Hollywood has influenced gender and sexuality.

Dumanč created the course because he wanted to foster a sense of community and help people with building their identity. 

“It fulfills the meaning of diversity, and that’s about coming together,” he said. “It demonstrates how varied our university community is.” 

The class is also meant to show people a view of the world they might not know about. It serves as a safe space for queer people, and allies and straight people are welcome, he said. 

Dumanč wants the class to help LGBTQ students feel more accepted, because he believes this is important, he said.

One of his students, graduate student Natalie Raymer, of Glasgow, believes this class is doing just that. 

“I think that having this course demonstrates an openness and acceptance of culture and lifestyles not similar to your own,” she said.

Dumanč said a class like this competes for interest among different groups, whether they be queer students, film students or history students. He believes that there is a need and a demand for a class such as this one.

One of his students, graduate student Melissa Hayden, agrees.

“I think that there are students who do not have the language to express themselves because of the environment they have come from, and a class like this can help them learn the words to adequately express and identify themselves for themselves and others,” she said. “A class like this also helps promote understanding from students who do not necessarily identify as queer.” 

As part of the course, Dumanč will be showing big-budget Hollywood films from the twentieth century, moving chronologically through time.

The movie screenings are meant solely for the class, but if a student asked to sit in or expressed interest in a specific film, Dumanč said he wouldn’t have a problem with them attending.