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

Spring 2010

E 314V • Gay & Lesbian Lit & Culture-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34070 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM

Course Description

E314V: "Gay and Lesbian Literature and Culture" will introduce students to some seminal texts in the queer literary canon and expand students' understandings of literature and sexuality. We will be especially attuned to the following questions: Can we accurately identify a “history” of gay and lesbian identity? And how might we read simultaneously through our own cultural lens, and with an understanding of the text’s historical period? Our readings will be both historical and contemporary, both overtly and covertly queer; we will read canonical and popular literatures, and expand the terms “literature” and “culture” by likewise considering film, music, and visual art.

Ultimately, students will assess queer literatures not merely through their subject matter or the public identity of their authors, but also through methods of reading. (That is: how might one "read queerly?")

Grading Policy

Two short papers 40% "Close reading" assignment 15% Final research paper 30% Attendance and Participation 15%


Possible texts include: Plato's Symposium; the Biblical accounts of Sodom and Gomorrah, and of Jonathan and David; selected sonnets by Shakespeare; selected poetry by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester; Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Christabel"; Virginia Woolf’s Orlando; Quentin Crisp’s The Naked Civil Servant; Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly Last Summer; Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckenridge; selections from Larry Kramer’s Faggots and Michael Rumaker’s A Day and a Night at the Baths; Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues; selected pieces by David Wojnarowicz and Robert Mapplethorpe; the Hidden Cameras’ The Smell of Our Own; and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. The instructor will also prepare lectures for each text, introducing students to the given work’s major themes, cultural relevance, and social context, and incorporating film, images, and music. Accessible critical readings, such as selections from Nikki Sullivan’s Critical Introduction to Queer Theory, Susan Stryker and Stephen Whittle’s Transgender Studies Reader, Kate Bornstein’s My Gender Workbook, and Riki Wilchins’s Queer Theory, Gender Theory, will also inform our reading.


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