WGSS 329 Fall 2014 Premodern Sexualities (D)

Cross Listed as ENGL329
Is it possible that a European Middle Ages so beholden to the cultural authority of the Catholic Church could model forms of desire relevant to 21st-century discourse about sexual identity? In this course, we will think about what medieval texts can tell us about desire and how we might understand its modes within a wider perspective of a history of sexuality. In addition to investigating the theme of courtly love in medieval romance, we will explore troubadour poetry, saint's lives, theological treatises, courtesy manuals, and mystical visions. We will frame our investigation around some of the most influential narratives regarding the evolution of sexuality, including those of Michel Foucault, David Halperin and Karma Lochrie, in order to analyze how medieval texts uphold and sometimes challenge received notions about how, when, and whether these categories emerged. In our investigation, we will cover the paradox of virginity, the rise of a knightly class as an experiment in the homosocial, the poetics of desire, the sexuality of grammar, and more. By investigating the varied modes of sexuality depicted in the narratives and practices of the European Middle Ages, Premodern Sexualities will challenge students to think critically about theorizations of gender/sexuality pre- and post-modern.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: participation in class discussion, two presentations, short position papers, one 5- to 8-page paper, one 8- to 10-page paper
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Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preference: English majors
Department Notes:
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under WGSS
Divisional Attributes: Division II,Exploring Diversity
Other Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories A
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 1966
WGSS 329 - 01 (F) SEM Premodern Sexualities (D) Division 2: Social StudiesExploring Diversity Initiative Cancelled 1966
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