Courses by semester
Courses for Spring 2023
Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .
|LGBT1940||A Global History of Love By posing seemingly simple questions such as what is love and who has the right to love, this introductory-level lecture course surveys how love has been experienced and expressed from the pre-modern period to the present. Through case studies of familial and conjugal love in Africa, Asia, the US, Europe, and South and Latin America, the course will examine the debates about and enactment's of what constitutes the appropriate way to show love and affection in different cultures and historical contexts. Among the themes we will explore are questions of sexuality, marriage, kinship, and gender rights. A final unit will examine these themes through modern technologies such as the Internet, scientific advances in medicine, and a growing awareness that who and how we love is anything but simple or universal.||Spring.|
Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies
This course offers an introduction to central issues, debates, and theories that characterize the field of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Studies. Starting from the assumption that neither "sex" nor "sexuality" is a private experience or category, we will explore some of the ways that these powerfully public and political terms have circulated in social, legal, economic, and cultural spheres. We will also examine how these categories are situated in relation to other formative categories including race, ethnicity, religion, family, marriage, reproduction, the economy, and the state. Using a comparative and intersectional approach, we will read from various disciplines to assess the tools that LGBT studies offers for understanding power and culture in our contemporary world.
Full details for LGBT 2290 - Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies
|LGBT2350||Literature and Medicine How does literary language depict the experience of physical suffering? Can a poem or a novel palliate pain, illness, even the possibility of death? From darkly comic narratives of black plague to the rise and fall of hysteria to depictions of the AIDS crisis, this course examines literature centered on medical practices from the early modern period through the twentieth century. Why have medical practices changed, and how do writers address their political, social, and ideological implications? Readings will include a broad range of genres, including poetry (Dickinson, Whitman, Keats), fiction (McEwan, Chekhov, Gilman, Kafka, Camus), theater (Kushner), nonfiction prose (Woolf, Freud), and critical theory (Foucault, Scarry, Canguilhem, Sontag).||Spring.|
|LGBT2560||Black Queer Writing and Media This course will introduce students to Black Queer literatures and media. Since these materials decenter whiteness and patriarchal heterosexism, they often seem illegible to those approaching them from the perspective of the dominant culture. We will start with foundational texts that outline the parameters of our dominant culture. We will then discuss Black Queer contemporary novels, films, essays, and visual art in order to understand the ways that these works move past the limitations of those parameters. By engaging these literatures and media, this course investigates the exciting possibilities that emerge from understanding alternative ways of being and living in our world. This course satisfies the Literatures of the Americas requirement for English majors.||Spring.|
|LGBT2770||Islam and Gender This course explores the role of gender and sexuality in shaping the lives of Muslims past and present. Through a close examination of ethnographies, intellectual histories, and religious treatises, we will analyze the key debates and discourses surrounding the intersection of gender and Islam. We begin by investigating Quranic revelations and hadith concerning gender and sexual ethics, female figures of emulation in early Islam, and feminist exegeses of the Quran. Continuing onward, we focus upon the everyday lives of Muslim women and non-binary individuals in medieval, colonial, and post-colonial contexts, highlighting the ways in which people negotiate and respond to the sexual politics of the times in which they live as we ask what, if anything, is specifically "Islamic" about the situations under discussion? Following this, we embark upon a history of sexuality within Islam, tracing the ways in which the categories of "homosexuality" and "heterosexuality" came to exist in the Muslim world, as well as the history and positionality of trans communities past and present. We then continue with an exploration of Islamic feminism as it exists today, looking to the ways in which Muslim feminists have critically engaged both religious texts as well as Western feminist theory. Finally, the course concludes by analyzing the relationship between the study of Islam, gender, and empire.||Spring.|
|LGBT3210||Gender and the Brain Why are boys more likely than girls to be diagnosed with autism, and why are women more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression? Are there different "gay" and "straight" brains? And how does brain science interact with gender and sexuality in popular debate? Reading and discussing the original scientific papers and related critical texts, we will delve into the neuroscience of gender. In this course, we will delve into the neuroscience of gender difference. Reading the original scientific papers and related critical texts, we will ask whether we can find measurable physical differences in male and female brains, and what these differences might be. Do men and women solve spatial puzzles differently, as measured physiologically? Do nonhuman animals display sex-specific behaviors mediated by brain structure, and can we extrapolate these findings to human behavior? Why are boys three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed as autistic, and is there any connection between the predominantly male phenomenon of autism and other stereotypically male mental traits? Are there physical representations of sexual orientation in the brain, and how are these related to gender identity? And how are scientific studies represented and misrepresented in popular debate?||Spring.|
|LGBT3702||Desire and Cinema "The pleasure of the text," Roland Barthes writes, "is that moment when my body pursues its own ideas—for my body does not have the same ideas I do." What is this erotics of the text, and what has it been up to lately at the movies? Are new movies giving our bodies new ideas? In the context of the changing art of the moving image in the 21st-century, how might we read and revise classic works of psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theory on erotic desire and cinema? We will focus especially on relatively recent metacinematic work, moviemaking about moviemaking, by such directors as Pedro Almodóvar, Olivier Assayas, Michael Haneke, Todd Haynes, David Lynch, Steve McQueen, and John Cameron Mitchell.||Fall or Spring.|
Undergraduate Independent Study
Individual study program intended for juniors and seniors working on special topics with selected reading or research projects not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Students select a topic in consultation with an LGBT Studies faculty member who has agreed to supervise independent study.
Full details for LGBT 3990 - Undergraduate Independent Study
|LGBT4701||Nightlife This course explores nightlife as a temporality that fosters countercultural performances of the self and that serves as a site for the emergence of alternative kinship networks. Focusing on queer communities of color, course participants will be asked to interrogate the ways in which nightlife demonstrates the queer world-making potential that exists beyond the normative 9-5 capitalist model of production. Performances of the everyday, alongside films, texts, and performance art, will be analyzed through a performance studies methodological lens. Through close readings and sustained cultural analysis, students will acquire a critical understanding of the potentiality of spaces, places, and geographies codified as "after hours" in the development of subcultures, alternative sexualities, and emerging performance practices.||Spring.|
|LGBT6600||Erotics of Visuality "You didn't see anything," a woman in a movie says to her dubious lover. "No one sees anything. Ever. They watch, but they don't understand." What is desire in a movie, and how do we know it when we see it or feel it? How do the images, sounds, and narratives of a cinematic event engage us erotically? How might we want to revise classic psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theories of desire and cinema in light of the changing art of the moving image in the 21st century? We will focus especially on metacinematic work by Pedro Almodóvar, Olivier Assayas, Todd Haynes, David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Steve McQueen, and John Cameron Mitchell, among others.||Fall or Spring.|