COMP 228
Boys Love Spring 2025
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed WGSS 227

Class Details

Originating in Japanese manga of the 1970s, the genre of yaoi, boy love, or BL has expanded into other media and around the globe during the last half century. Created mostly by women for women, BL transposes classic tropes of popular romance into a male homosocial environment, depicting the inevitable love of young, attractive, and typically androgynous men. The growing popularity of BL begs several questions: Why do women create and consume romances that tend to exclude female characters? Why do they enjoy a fictional universe that deliberately downplays homophobia yet ostensibly preserves heteronormativity by showing powerful, protective tops who repeatedly fall for vulnerable, passive bottoms? And how has BL changed global perceptions of and expectations for masculinity? This course explores these and other questions by examining key examples of BL from Japanese manga to Thai television, as well as shipping culture, BL’s robust fandom, and adjacent genres such as slash fiction and girl love.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 40
Expected: 15
Class#: 3661
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: completing all assignments, active participation in class discussions, two short papers, creating your own BL, and a final project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: COMP and WGSS majors
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 227 Division II COMP 228 Division I
DPE Notes: This class examines difference, power, and equity by examining representations of gender and sexuality, as well as their global flow over the past fifty years. Works of yaoi, boys love, or BL represent a significant genre of popular culture, as well as soft power, that originated in East Asia yet has spread around the globe. The course will address the gendered aspects of BL production, consumption, and fandom, as well the genre's mobilization of homosociality and homosexuality.

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