Examination of ways gays and lesbians are represented in literature, film, performance, and popular culture and how these representations are interpreted in mainstream, gay/lesbian, and academic writing.
For SPRING 2007: This course examines ongoing tensions between sexuality and belonging from the l. 19th century to the present. In many of the texts we’ll consider, sexuality is understood as desire and desire as a productive force that connects us to other bodies and things, scrambles every identity and so queers the possibility of totally belonging to a social group (eg., American, Chicano, lesbian) or to a class of beings (eg., homosexual or male). We’ll track these tensions between sexual desire and belonging from modern representations of sexuality and race which trouble the hetero/homo and white/black binary through contemporary queer writers who, among other things, critique belonging to the nation-state, “the gay and lesbian community,” “the queer movement,” and same sex marriage, while promoting more dynamic modes of affiliation. In other texts, sexuality is identified with sexual identity and the latter with homosexuality, bisexuality, heterosexuality, maleness and femaleness. Here, the emphasis falls on sexual belonging and the tension produced by not fitting in. This type of belonging may be imposed, as in: medical assignment to a pathological sexual category or to a particular sex, cold war era identifications of homosexuals as “UnAmerican,” etc. It may also be “chosen,” as in “coming out” into a sex/gender community. Required reading will include a course packet, Foucault’s The History of Sexuality; Baldwin’s Another Country;Alameddine’s Koolaides: the Art of War and Chua’s Gold by the Inch. Students should expect to engage with queer theory and to participate actively in class discussions. Short responses to assigned readings, a class presentation and final paper are required.
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