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Portland State to offer 'Queer Ecologies' course to study 'Queer Animals' and 'Queering Science'

Other classes include 'Queer Feelings' and 'Ecofeminist Spirituality'

Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images

Starting in January, students at the public Portland State University will be able to take WS 375U Queer Ecologies, "Rethinking the Nature of Nature." The class promises to use "a queer lens to understand bodies, places and the environment," according to a flyer advertising the course that was shared on Twitter.

Students who take the class will have a chance to "explore how gender, sexuality, queer experience and identity intersect with race, class, disability, and settler colonialism to construct bodies and places as 'natural' and the role that science plays in defining 'nature.'"

Professor also teaches 'Queer Feelings' class

The course is taught by Lisa Weasel, Ph.D. She is the author of "Contagious Intersectionalities: Race, Class and Gender in the Post-Genomic Era," which according to her biography, "seeks to re-evaluate the role that the natural sciences can play in resolving the longstanding tensions between the social and the material within feminist theory."

Weasel and a colleague also authored the 2002 article "From Social Construction to Social Justice: Transforming How We Teach about Intersexuality" in the Women's Studies Quarterly Journal. This year, she taught a class titled "Queer Feelings."

Her promotion for the upcoming courses advertises that students will have a chance to study a wide range of topics, including: "Queer bodies, Queer settler colonialism, Queer environmental politics, Disability and queer environments, Queering Science, Queer Animals, Queer Environmental Futurity."

'Ecofeminist Spirituality' and other courses

This is not the only social justice-related course offered at the taxpayer-funded Portland State. Students at the school can also receive four credits for taking WS 377U Ecofeminist Spirituality. The course purports to be an investigation "of different forms of feminist spirituality. Topics may include feminist biblical interpretation, goddesses and spirituality, and eco-feminist spirituality."

Another course, WS 381: "Queer of Color Theorizing," says it utilizes "critical race, feminist, queer, decolonial, and materialist analyses, queer of color theories highlight the intersections of race, sexuality, and nations." This class, taught by professor Eddy Alvarez, is described as an "overview of the development and foundational approaches to queer of color critiques, as well as an opportunity to apply these theories to contemporary issues."

According to PayScale.com, Portland State has the lowest graduation rate of any university in Oregon, 48 percent. US News ranks the school between 293rd and 381st place in the country.

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