ENG 497 Seminar in English Literature |
Sexualities, Textualities, and Queer Theory
In this course, we will explore the role of sexuality in literature and literary theory, with an emphasis on queer theory. How can paying attention to sexuality and sexual identity deepen our reading of literature? What makes a text “queer”? To what extent are the categories of “gay” or “straight” stable or useful lenses for examining ourselves or the books we read? We will ground our inquiry in the works of literary and cultural theorists such as Michel Foucault (The History of Sexuality, Volume I), Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire) and Judith Butler (Gender Trouble). Our readings will span multiple genres and time periods: authors to be considered include Shakespeare, Tennyson, Gustave Flaubert, Jeanette Winterson, Jeffrey Eugenides, and others. Assignments include weekly reading responses, several mid-length papers, a presentation, and a substantial research paper.