Queer Strategies of Resistance: Fools, Tricksters, Shapeshifters

Course Description

This course asks us to think critically and creatively about the forms and functions of humor, specifically as deployed by queer and trans folks around the world, through the exploration of the figures of the trickster, the shapeshifter, and the fool.

Informed by critical, historical texts, as well as jokes, and examples of contemporary art, students will be encouraged to imagine themselves as these figures, and to pay attention to the strategies they already use, as well as strategies they can learn and/or invent, to exist, resist, and find Joy within cisheteropatriarchal structures of power. The course uses critical thinking, creative expression, as well as personal and communal reflection as tools to explore these themes.

From mythological shapeshifters traversing between realms in various religions, to the archetypal court fool in Eurowestern art history, to Alok Vaid-Menon’s use of humor in spoken word poetry, this course traces the histories of these strategies to the present moment, and asks students to find, invent, and repurpose their own.

This course aims to provide and build a toolbox of strategies for maneuvering through institutions, communities, and the world at large for the purpose of living lives immersed in the practice of Joy.

During this course, you will:
• Learn about queer strategies of resistance, among which are foolery, trickery, and shapeshifting
• Unpack the structure, form, and purposes of a joke or trick
• Identify or create our own strategies to help us resist and exist in Joy
• Explore silliness seriously, and seriousness sillily


No specific prior knowledge is required, but an interest in any of the fields of decolonial queer theory, writing, performance, or artmaking is helpful.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: July 25, 2022 - August 05, 2022
Duration: 2 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 3:30P-6:20P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Falak Ramesh Vasa
Course Number: 10170