Queer "femme" identity has its roots in 1940s and 1950s bar culture; however the term continues to have current resonance. Often juxtaposed with butch, femme is loosely defined as a queer feminine gender presentation. This course will use cultural studies and arts and humanities approaches in order to grapple with the messy magic of black femme identity as a radical critique of sexuality, whiteness, gender and intersecting categories of oppression. The messiness of "femme" is revealed when each of those terms in put into question. Who or what constitutes queer? How does one present feminine; is that merely an aesthetic choice? What constitutes feminine? Does one have to be a woman to be feminine? For black femmes, whose femininity has been circumscribed and defined not only against butchness but also against white femininity, claiming "femme" can be a means to turn that "messiness" into "magic."