Program in Comparative Literature

Sarah (Pearl) Brilmyer


Interests


the 19th-century novel and literary sketch, the history of German philosophy and science, and 21st-century digital literacies.

Biography


Language Background: English (Native), German, French, Swedish.
Supervising Faculty: Ann Cvetkovich and Tracie Matysik
Thesis Title: "Character Drives: Vitality and the Victorian Novel"

Courses


E 314V • Gay & Lesbian Lit & Culture

34885 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM FAC 10
(also listed as WGS 301)

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Course Description: What does it mean to call oneself gay? Lesbian? Homosexual? Queer? Where did these words come from, and how do their differing meanings reflect a history of changing conceptions of gay and lesbian culture? How does language—and literature specifically—shape sexuality and sexual politics? This course will take a historical approach to the study of gay and lesbian literature and culture. It will consider how shifting definitions of homosexuality, under different guises and different terms, have shaped our understanding of what it means to be LGBTQ today.

In this course we will question whether we can indeed ascribe a “unity” to gay and lesbian culture or politics. Attending to a diverse array of moments in gay and lesbian history—moments of anger, sadness, triumph and hope—we will consider the how discourses of sexuality at a given time shape and inform the representation of same-sex desire in literature, film and other new media. The course will prepare students for the English major by familiarizing them with formal, historical, and cultural approaches to literature, as a well as by providing them with a sense of the history of sexuality, romantic love, and identity politics.

Texts: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Robert Louis Stevenson; Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness; Allison Bechdel, Fun Home; Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider.

Plus a course pack including: John D’Emilio, “Capitalism and Gay Identity;” Richard Thompson Ford, “What’s Queer About Race?” Bailey, Kandaswamy, and Richardson, “Is Gay Marriage Racist?” Elaine Showalter, “Dr. Jekyll’s Closet” from Sexual Anarchy; M. H. Abrams, excerpts from A Glossary of Literary Terms; David Halperin, “Is There a History of Sexuality?” Adrianne Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence;” Michel Foucault, “We Other Victorians” and “Scientia Sexualis” from History of Sexuality; Havelock Ellis, “The Theory of Sexual Inversion” from Sexual Inversion; Judith Butler, “Imitation and Gender Insubordination;” Amber Hollibaugh, “My Dangerous Desires;” Eva Hayward, “Lessons from a Starfish;” Marlon M. Bailey, “Gender/Racial Realness: Theorizing the Gender System in Ballroom Culture;” Anonymous, “Queers Read This: I Hate Straights;” Richard Fung, “Looking for My Penis: The Eroticized Asian in Gay Video Porn”.

Grading: This course will entail three 2-page critical essays and one 5-7-page research paper, all with substantial revisions.

E 314V • Gay & Lesbian Lit & Culture

33921 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM FAC 10
(also listed as WGS 301)

Course Description: What does it mean to call oneself gay? Lesbian? Homosexual? Queer? Where did these words come from, and how do their differing meanings reflect a history of changing conceptions of gay and lesbian culture? How does language—and literature specifically—shape sexuality and sexual politics? This course will take a historical approach to the study of gay and lesbian literature and culture. It will consider how shifting definitions of homosexuality, under different guises and different terms, have shaped our understanding of what it means to be LGBTQ today. In this course we will question whether we can indeed ascribe a “unity” to gay and lesbian culture or politics. Attending to a diverse array of moments in gay and lesbian history—moments of anger, sadness, triumph and hope—we will consider the how discourses of sexuality at a given time shape and inform the representation of same-sex desire in literature, film and other new media. The course will prepare students for the English major by familiarizing them with formal, historical, and cultural approaches to literature, as a well as by providing them with a sense of the history of sexuality, romantic love, and identity politics. 


Course Texts

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness
Allison Bechdel, Fun Home
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider

Critical Essays

Elizabeth Freeman, “Queer Belongings”
John D’Emilio, “Capitalism and Gay Identity”
Richard Thompson Ford, “What’s Queer About Race?”
Bailey, Kandaswamy, and Richardson “Is Gay Marriage Racist?”
Elaine Showalter, “Dr. Jekyll’s Closet” from Sexual Anarchy
M. H. Abrams, Excerpts from A Glossary of Literary Terms
David Halperin, “Is There a History of Sexuality?”
Adrianne Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence”
Michel Foucault, “We Other Victorians” and “Scientia Sexualis” from History of Sexuality
Havelock Ellis, “The Theory of Sexual Inversion” from Sexual Inversion           
Judith Butler, “Imitation and Gender Insubordination”
Amber Hollibaugh, “My Dangerous Desires”
Eva Hayward, “Lessons from a Starfish”
Marlon M. Bailey, “Gender/Racial Realness: Theorizing the Gender System in Ballroom Culture”

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A. 

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