ENGL-261 Introduction to Queer Theory
Fall for 2014-2015
Over the course of the 20th century, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals have achieved increasing visibility and acceptance in American culture and society. These advances have often come at a great price, as we witness in events ranging from the AIDS crisis to ongoing violence against queer youth. In this class, we will take an interdisciplinary approach to both changing patterns of LGBT representation and enduring legacies of homophobia. We will consider topics including the emergence of modern sexual identity, queer community-building, changing understandings of the body, and the developing discourse transgender studies. Each week, we approach these issues through a variety of theoretical texts by thinkers like Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, and Leo Bersani. To enrich our understanding of these works, we will pair them with fictional and autobiographical texts by writers like David Sedaris and James Baldwin, examine poetry by Marilyn Hacker and Mark Doty, and watch award-winning films such as Milk and How to Survive a Plague.
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