WGSS 396 Spring 2013 Modern Pleasure (D)

Cross Listed as ENGL394
This course investigates the modernist imagination of pleasure, both sensual and aesthetic, with a particular focus on the ways that modernism's formal strategies facilitate the representation of queer pleasures, affections, intimacies, and desires. We will read some texts that seek explicitly to represent queer sexualities; we will look at others that radically re-imagine the feeling and expression of pleasure. We will approach these texts through the questions: What constitutes "modern" pleasure? What makes pleasure (or a representation of it) queer? And do queer textual expressions of pleasure differ from representations of LGBT sexualities and desires? In tandem with our discussion of literary form, we will consider the crucial role that subcultural sites of intimacy, like Harlem's cabarets and Natalie Barney's sapphic salon, played in the collaborative production and transatlantic circulation of modernism. Authors likely to be studied include Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, Nella Larsen, Radclyffe Hall, Willa Cather, and James Baldwin. We will also consider visual and aural texts, including photographs of the Barney salon, cubist portraits and landscapes, and the music of Gertrude "Ma" Rainey. We will read the work of sexologists and situate modernist literature in relation to early 20th--century scientific and cultural conversations about the nature of pleasure. Some contemporary scholarship on modernist sexual culture and much queer and feminist theory will accompany these texts and provide a framework for our analysis of modernism's queer pleasures. This course satisfies the Exploring Diversity Initiative in that it emphasizes critical theorization of sexual difference and pleasure as constructed, contested, and historically contingent categories, and considers the effects of power and privilege in the social construction of gender and sexuality.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: engaged and thoughtful discussion; one 5- to 7-page paper and one 8- to 10-page paper
Additional Info:
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course, or a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in English Literature or a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate
Enrollment Preference: english majors and/or students interested in Gender/Queer Studies
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 C
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 25
Class Number: 3629
WGSS396-01(S) SEM Modern Pleasure (D) Division 2: Social StudiesExploring Diversity Initiative Margaux E. Cowden
MWF 11:00 AM-12:15 PM Hollander 240 3629
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