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

Spring 2005

E 389P • Sexuality in Translation

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32635 MW
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
CAL 419

Course Description

In this course, students would read a number of contemporary novels and films that mess with the ways increasingly globally hegemonic discourses translate human erotic intimacy into the sexuality of the homo/hetero identity binary. Drawn from diverse national contexts in multiple languages, much of what we read (and watch) will be in translation or subtitled. I hope that we will learn to think about sexuality itself as a translation or recoding of bodies, practices, pleasures and economic exchanges. We will also ponder the global politics of language in relation to questions of sexuality. Why does Deepa Mahta make Fire in English? Why is Sevaldurai’s Funny Boy written in English? Has the emergence of a lesbian and gay cultural public sphere in the Anglophone world facilitated the translation and global distribution of cultural products that are legible as gay or lesbian to an international audience? Does this mis/recognition give them an edge over other local products in a globalizing cultural market-place? Do these works imagine the lineaments of a transnational lesbian and gay subject, anticipating their translation or do they remain in certain ways stubbornly local? How has sexuality become a vector for the working out of the relationship between diasporic and home and host national communities?


Fiction could include Barakat’s The Stone of Laughter (Lebanon), Al Shaykh’s Women of Sand and Myrrh (Kuwait), Sevaldurai’s Funny Boy (Sri Lanka/Canada), Rao’s One Day I locked my flat in Soul City (India), Puig’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Argentina), Blu’s Hanging (Hawaii) and Gray’s Time of Our Darkness (South Africa). Films could include My Beautiful Laundrette (U.K.), Dakan (Guinea), Woubi Cheri (Ivory Coast), Heavenly Creatures (New Zealand), Law of Desire (Spain), Dangerous Living (U.S), The Man who drove with Mandela (South Africa), Apostles of Civilized Vice (South African television series), Uncut and /or Zero Patience (Canada), The Wedding Banquet (U.S.), Fire (India) and episodes from the television series Queer as Folk (both the British and U.S. versions.


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