This fall, MSVU will launch what is believed to be the first online intro to queer or LGBTQIA++ studies course in Canada. While most Canadian universities offer a gender studies program, or courses in gender studies, those focused specifically on queer studies are not common. Dr. Brenda Hattie-Longmire (pictured above), faculty member in Women’s Studies at MSVU and the person who led the development of the course, believes that offering such a course is vital, particularly at a university that is committed to social responsibility.

“Around the world, including here in Canada, sexual and gender minorities are oppressed, attacked, violated and even murdered for being who we are. This is a human rights issue, and it’s important to analyze and understand the ways in which sexuality and gender are socially constructed, and the way they function in relation to human history and cross-culturally. It’s also important to explore the work of those who have resisted, rejected, and worked to reform institutionalized heterosexuality.”

This course is just the beginning for Brenda, who hopes to work with the Women’s Studies Department and a small committee of Mount faculty and staff to eventually develop a minor in queer studies, with several of the courses developed for online delivery.

“I’m always conscious that there are those who cannot study on campus for a variety of reasons, including the demands of a job and/or family, or perhaps they live and work in a rural community. Whatever the reason, we need to meet people where they are.”

Brenda is a strong supporter of online learning due largely to her own personal experience with learning at a distance, and her desire to make education more accessible to a wider audience, especially women.

“I took my first Women’s Studies course 21 years ago through MSVU’s Distance Learning and Continuing Education Department (its title at the time) while living in a rural village. It was a transformative experience, so I know the value of distance and online delivery.”

Brenda is looking forward to teaching the course in its entirety, but is especially excited about one topic. “I’m stoked about the whole course, but the connections between spirituality and drag have been very intriguing to dig into. Queer spirituality has been an interest of mine for quite some time, a topic I have explored through various research projects, including my doctoral research.”

To view the course description for WOMS-1114 Introduction to Queer Studies, and to check out other online course options at MSVU, visit the MSVU website.