LGBT Literature, Politics, and Identity (Gen Ed 1176)





What is the relationship between LGBT literary representation and politics, activism, and culture?


Aesthetics & Culture icon with text

Linda Schlossberg

In this course, we’ll learn how sexual identity and desire are understood and represented in different social and historical circumstances, We’ll move beyond the binary of identifying images as “positive” or “negative,” paying attention to how depictions, definitions, and understandings of sexuality are shaped by specific historical moments, as well as the aesthetic traditions and personal experiences shaping these individual works. Along the way, we’ll unpack terms such as “intersectionality,” “feminist,” and “queer.” We’ll think carefully about how the evolving nature of language and terminology—for instance, the shift from “same-sex marriage” to “marriage equality”—affects political discourse and shapes our understanding of what is possible. In addition to novels, we’ll look at op-eds, essays, poems, plays, photography, performance art, and film with an eye to thinking about how different genres speak to the larger world of politics, activism, citizenship, rights, and popular culture.

Learning how to decode metaphors and images in novels, films, and other works will make you a more sophisticated reader of the texts that circulate outside the classroom. As you sharpen your ability to critically analyze these works as products of particular political and historical moments, you will become a more nuanced reader of the world around you, able to think critically about other texts (not only literature, but memes, videos, blogs, games, tweets, and advertising) that circulate in our own cultural moment and their crucial relationship to identity and social change.
Authors to include: James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Justin Chin, Leslie Feinberg, Langston Hughes, David Henry Hwang, Tony Kushner, Nella Larsen, Audre Lorde, Janet Mock, Torrey Peters, Meredith Talusen, Justin Torres, Ocean Vuong.

Register for Gen Ed 1176