Topics in Literature: Queer Love in Public


This course gives a history of queer happy endings in literature and culture, and their relationship to the public sphere. We will read novels that shocked their first readers-not because they ended in death or dismay, but in a romantic kiss. Mainstream culture has often perceived the mere ideas of queer joy, pleasure, and community as destructive. As LGBT+ activism exploded in the second half of the twentieth century, queers pushed back against this mischaracterization by living and loving defiantly in public. We're here, we're queer, get used to it! This course will use these legacies of literature and activism to consider the meaning of the public sphere. Can gay people demolish the American family simply by existing? How is a kiss on a street corner different from a kiss at home or in a dimly lit bar? We will consider the uneven access that queer people have had to domestic bliss, and how other forms of marginalization have shaped their public and private lives. We will also explore how these representations have changed in the present, when queer love stories are far more accessible in popular media. What does "representation" mean, and what is its relationship to politics? We will consider a second meaning to "Queer Love in Public" in this course's projects. Each assignment will be public-facing: designed for a non-academic readership. We will contribute to digital archives that preserve queer history and tell its stories to people around the world. We will confront the gaps and tension between queer theory and queer life, and experiment with forms of writing (researched analysis, fan fiction, art, photo captions, Wikipedia entries) that seek to bridge those gaps. We will read texts by EM Forster, Patricia Highsmith, Samuel Delaney, Lauren Berlant, Alice Walker, Cat Sebastian, José Esteban Muñoz, Chencia C. Higgins, and others
Course Attributes: EN H; BU Hum; AS HUM; AS SD I; FA HUM; AR HUM; EL TC

Section 01

Topics in Literature: Queer Love in Public - 01
View Course Listing - FL2022