Fall 2012

Queering the History of the Body in Empire, c. 1750-1950


Onni L Gust (Section 01)


Whether by categorising and experimenting on bodies, criminalising and incarcerating them or exoticising and desiring them, European imperial power operated through the body.  This course looks at how Western European empires constructed and governed colonised bodies both "at home" and in the colonies.  The course charts the ways in which ideas of masculinity, femininity and able-bodiedness changed as a result of colonial encounter.  It looks at a number of case studies, including the history of an enslaved South African woman, Sarah Baartman, who in life and death was displayed in Britain and France as the "Hottentot Venus." The course explores and discusses controversial questions in historical perspective, for example the practice of female circumcision (also referred to as female genital mutilation) during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s.  Using queer, post-colonial and feminist theory, this class explores how changing constructions of race, class, disability and gender were used as a tool of imperial governance.  Two class meetings per week.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Gust.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012