Spring 2010

Queer Canons


Frederick T. Griffiths (Section 01)


We consider how evolving sexual identities (homosexual/LGBT/queer) have used foundational texts (or “classics”) to create a shared history without getting trapped in it.  We look at these emerging identities in the context of more visible racial and ethnic communities, and read theory by Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, and others.  Some questions: How are queer kids parented by texts and, since great books tend to be tragic books, do we get more pride than pain from the experience? What do we gain and lose by recruiting earlier authors into identities that they would not have recognized or admitted? Are such canons a relic of the closet or do they still matter amid mainstreaming and the Internet? Authors and directors include: Sappho, Sophocles, Plato, Petronius, William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Radclyffe Hall, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Yukio Mishima, Manuel Puig, and Marlon Riggs.  

Spring semester. Professor Griffiths.


2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010