Reading and Remembering Butch-Femme Worlds

  • Wanda Alarcón University of Arizona
Keywords: butch-femme, lesbian histories, U.S. woman of color feminisms, queer pedagogy


This essay examines the practice of building a syllabus that centers butch-femme literatures as a pedagogy of gathering and recuperation. Prompted by the loss of an early syllabus on lesbian histories, I examine the genre of the syllabus and contend that “butch-femme” is not the same as “queer” or “LGBTQ.” Through reflective and autobiographical writing on memory, place, queerness, and social media, the essay traces an ephemeral archiving revealing the stakes for naming and remembering butch-femme lesbian “worlds.” The essay highlights a sample student project and offers a syllabus as a teaching resource.   

Author Biography

Wanda Alarcón, University of Arizona

I am an Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona. I received my Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality from UC Berkeley. My research examines ways of listening to a field of multiple resistant sounds that signal the enduring presence of Mexican and Latinx communities in the U.S. audible in the soundscape of América. In particular, I focus on Chicana literature, popular music, U.S. third world feminisms, and decolonial feminist listening practices.