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Study the evolution of queer culture in one of its most important birthplaces.

LGBT History and Culture in the Bay Area

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APPLY for Second-Round--Review is Rolling


Since at least World War II, the San Francisco Bay Area has served as a center for LGBTQ life in the United States. It emerged early as a place where queer people could congregate and interact more freely, but it also was frequently at the vanguard when it came to organizing around issues of gender and sexuality. At the same time, as some queer communities of the Bay Area have done extremely well, others have continued to have to struggle for their rights, their place and their say.

This course explores the genesis and legacy of different queer communities and explores their impact on Bay Area culture. Topics discussed will include the Beats, lesbian separatism, the response to AIDS, the relationship between different LGBTQ communities and the police, trans activism, prostitution and sex worker rights. The course combines literature, art and poetry of seven decades with historical documents, as well as local visits and walking tours.

The last third of the course allows students to pursue archival or oral history research projects, as students unearth their own stories of queer San Francisco. 

Meet the Instructor

Adrian Daub

Professor of German Studies and of Comparative Literature

Adrian Daub

Adrian Daub is Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature, and the Director of the Program in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies. He is the author of four books on German thought, culture, literature and music. His most recent book is What Tech Calls Thinking (2020). Together with Charles Kronengold of Stanford’s Department of Music he published The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism in 2015. He writes on cultural issues, especially ones pertaining to gender and sexuality, for German, Swiss and American newspapers and magazines, and has appeared on NPR, the BBC and other programs.