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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2008

E 314V • Gay and Lesbian Literature and Culture

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34530 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Smith, L

Course Description

This course will introduce students to key issues and methods of inquiry in the field of English, while investigating major texts and questions in gay and lesbian literature and in LGBTQ studies. As we read and view landmark works of fiction, drama, poetry, film, art, theory, and cultural analysis, historical and contemporary, we will examine the ways they present historically specific iterations of gender, sexuality, and identity. At the same time, we will consider the ways historical texts inform or might be read in relation to contemporary problems in queer studies and queer public culture. Throughout the course, we'll be interested in literary representation itself (and our discussions will frequently be rooted in close formal analysis), but we'll also consider the ways literature and theory connect to the pressing personal/political realities of LGBTQ experience, including the ongoing AIDS crisis and the continuing struggles for legal recognition and protection. In addition, most of our texts will ask us to examine the way sexual identity is constructed in dialogue with other aspects of identity; we'll pay particular attention to the ways in which sexuality and race are interrelated and co-constructed in text and culture.

Reading and writing assignments will emphasize skills necessary to the English major, including careful close-reading and detailed analysis of the formal, linguistic, and representational strategies at work in the texts.

Grading Policy

3 short papers (2-3 pages) 40%
1 longer paper (4-6 page) 20%
2 presentations 10% each
Semi-formal reflective writing (online, throughout semester) 14%
Attendance and Participation 6%


Texts may include Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, James Baldwin'sGiovanni's Room, Jeanette Winterson's Oranges are not the Only Fruit, Tony Kushner's Angels in America Part I, Sharon Bridgforth's love conjure/blues, Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of my Name, and Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red. A course packet will include a selection of essays and poems, including works by Shakespeare, Gertrude Stein, Marilyn Hacker, Riki Wilchins, David Halperin, and Kate Bornstein.


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