ENGL 362
Difference and Desire Spring 2015 Division I; Exploring Diversity Initiative;
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Do we desire that which is different from us, or the same? Why are we taught to celebrate and embrace “difference,” but most often in terms closer to sheer tolerance than attraction? Can difference—or sameness—be characterized as a moral good? Politically, is difference a goal or an obstacle? How and where do we encounter the “other” in ways that change who we are? This course will probably not answer these questions tidily but will definitely bring them up over and over again, refining them through close reading of poetry, graphic novels, fiction, philosophy, and film from the latter half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. We will encounter literary works by Roland Barthes, Alison Bechdel, Junot Diaz, Marguerite Duras, Ariana Reines, Adrian Tomine, Monique Truong, as well as films by Rainer Warner Fassbinder, Isaac Julien, and Eric Rohmer. As we court these scintillating primary texts, we will also flirt with secondary authors in psychoanalysis, queer theory, feminism, black studies, and postcolonial studies. As the aim of our course is to explore and interrogate the notion of social difference itself, we will participate in the College’s Exploring Diversity Initiative. This EDI course will focus on the power relation between queer sexuality and heteronormativity in twentieth-century culture, as well as on the relationship between queerness as lived experience (cultural practice) and queerness as metaphor (institutional and psychic life).
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 4001
Requirements/Evaluation: one 5-page paper and one 8- to 10-page paper, and steady and thoughtful class participation
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
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST or WGSS
Distributions: Division I; Exploring Diversity Initiative;

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