Graduate Course Description

350:568 - The Queer Nineteenth Century

Course No:  350:568
Index #: 14719  

Distribution Requirement:  A4, D
Monday - 10:20 a.m.    
MU 207

The Queer Nineteenth Century
Dana Luciano

 “Damn me, but all things are queer, come to think of ‘em.” This seminar looks at the politics of sexuality and gender in nineteenth-century US fiction through a queer lens. Inspired by Stubb’s meditation on the queerness of all things (from the twenty-ninth chapter of Moby-Dick), we will explore the range of bodily intensities and practices from which the category of “sexuality” as we have come to know it precipitated. What counted as sex? How did people comprehend their own sexuality, and that of others? How did the nineteenth-century body matter? While we will trace the emergence of the invert/homosexual in the latter part of the century, we will also explore what nineteenth-century queerness might look like when not centered on this figure. Particular attention will be paid to the part played by the sexual body in debates surrounding slavery, US expansionism, and the displacement of Indigenous people.

Authors may include Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Harriet E. Wilson, Julia Ward Howe, William Wells Brown, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sui Sin Far, Sutton Griggs, Louisa May Alcott, Frank Webb, Margaret J.M. Sweat, Henry James, Jr., Theodore Winthrop, and Pauline E. Hopkins. Criticism by Leslie Fiedler, Hortense Spillers, Lauren Berlant, Michael Warner, Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman, Elizabeth Freeman, Christine Yao, Riley Snorton, Peter Coviello, Dana Seitler, and others.

Requirements will include weekly blog posts, a shorter midsemester paper, one in-class presentation and a final seminar essay.