Gender, Sexuality, Lit (XL WS 381)

DESCRIPTION: In this course we will consider
contemporary texts (popular music, novels, films), from various contexts (i.e.,
regional white American, Muslim Iranian, diasporic Indian, Chicana, white
Canadian) about marriage. Rather than understanding marriage as a natural and
timeless expression of romantic love, we will approach marriage as an
institution. As we engage with representations of marriage, we will consider the
crucial economic and political as well as the social and more personal meanings
that attend marriage. We will read essays that approach marriage from a
theoretical (often feminist) perspective, and we will analyze contemporary
political and legal debates that concern marriage. We will explore ways that
marriage, and the marriage plot, play an integral role in creating, sustaining,
and naturalizing sex and gender roles, as well as national identities and
hierarchies of race and class. We will consider ways marriage serves not only
as a way to perpetuate dominant social norms, but also as a way to challenge
these norms. As well, we will consider the importance of alternatives to
marriage and to the marriage plot.


  Because discussion is a crucial part of this
course, attendance is mandatory. Grades will be determined by the following
components: two 5-7 page papers (300 points); a class presentation (35 points);
in-class activities, quizzes, and short essays (75 points); group journal
entries (90 points).  The distribution
given here is approximate. Missed classes or failure to attend required
conferences will impact your grade negatively.


TEXTS (tentative listing, to be ordered through Revolution Books):

Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Lucha Corpi, Black Widow’s Wardrobe

Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot

Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker

Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain



Asghar Farhadi (director), A SEPARATION
Deepa Mehta (director), FIRE

Mira Nair (director), THE NAMESAKE

Lisa Cholodenko (director), THE KIDS ARE

readings will include:

fiction by Jhumpa Lahiri; essays by Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Gayatri
Gopinath, Adrienne Rich, Gayle Rubin, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.