WGSS 331
Queer Europe: Sexualities and Politics since 1850
Last Offered Spring 2019
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed WGSS 331 / HIST 332
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

This course explores the construction, articulation, and politics of queer sexual desire in Europe from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. By placing queer sexualities in their broader social and political context the course examines the ways in which sexuality has become central to questions of identity, personal and national, in modern European society. Topics include: women’s “friendships” in Victorian Britain; the role of the new science of sexology in specifying various “sexual perversions”; the rise of sexual undergrounds in the context of European urbanization; the birth of campaigns for “homosexual emancipation”; attempts to regulate and suppress “deviant” sexualities, especially under the fascist regimes in the 1930s; the effects of the postwar consumer revolution on the practices of sexual selfhood; the postwar “sex change” debates; the politics of 1950s homophile organizing and the 1970s Gay Liberation Movement; and recent debates about migrant queer identities in an increasingly multicultural Europe. The course will focus primarily on experiences in Britain, France, and Germany, but Italy and Russia will also be the focus of some meetings. Readings will be drawn from sexological texts, political tracts, memoirs, and the writings of recent historians. Several films will be screened and will also be central to our discussions of the changing meanings of sexual selfhood in modern European societies.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 12-20
Class#: 3281
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class discussion, the posting of four 500 word response papers, two 7- to 8-page interpretive essays, and a final research paper of 12- to 15-pages
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: junior and senior History and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies majors
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 331 Division II HIST 332 Division II
DPE Notes: Queer Europe is a DPE course insofar as it explores the mechanisms by which sexual difference has been constituted, contested, and experienced and addresses how what we assume to be the "sexual norm" has a profoundly political history. It focuses on the means by which norms are created and enforced through the operations of power and on how those norms have been challenged and resisted by individuals who have come to understand themselves outside the normative categories of sexual selfhood.
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia

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