This course explores feminist and queer literary criticism and theory, the use of feminist and queer literary methods across disciplines, and the uses of literary evidence in gender and sexuality studies. Rather than covering a particular period or genre of literature, the course uses a selection of primary texts in English from Shakespeare to the present, from multiple literary genres (fiction, poetry, drama, memoir, creative nonfiction), and from popular culture and non-literary sources as well as canonical texts. Most of the reading, however, will be in literary criticism and theory and in scholarly writing that makes use of literary methods. Topics include the power of narrative and of representation to create norms; the intersectional gender politics of language, including issues of access, code-switching, and appropriation; the uses of narrative as a scholarly tool and of narrative methods across disciplines; historicisms and presentisms; and art as activism. Students learn to do research in literary criticism and theory, and practice thinking broadly about the cultural work that literature does and about the uses of literary methods and practices in other fields.
Also WGSS 352