Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Gerald Nachtwey


This thesis examines how three major conceptual frameworks can allow instructors of literature courses to explore, define, and utilize their understanding of queerness. For instructors who possess little experience in queer discourse, the three major conceptual frameworks – LGBTQ+ identities, gender critical paradigms, and the sexual episteme – are outlined, with major subfields, lenses, and authors detailed for further research. To demonstrate the veracity of utilizing these three major conceptual frameworks in the existing pedagogical praxis of instructors, a study was conducted. The study was a survey of six instructors who taught general education literature courses in the past five years (Fall 2018 to Fall 2023 semesters). Responses to the survey show that instructors are able to recognize and categorize their own understanding of and pedagogical experiences with queerness within the three major conceptual frameworks. Data from the study also suggests that general education courses taught at the institutions surveyed follow certain patterns of concern for LGBTQ+ and gender representation, which are absent in portrayals of sex/uality. The three major frameworks explored in this thesis offer instructors – particularly those of general education literature courses – an opportunity to explore how their knowledge of queerness does and can affect how they create their pedagogy to include or elide queerness.