Courses by semester

Courses for Fall 2024

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
LGBT3635 Queer Classics
This course engages classical antiquity and its reception through the prism of queer studies. Cruising Homer, Sappho, Euripides, Plato, Ovid and more, we will explore how queer theoretical frameworks help us account for premodern queer and trans bodies, desires, experiences, and aesthetics. We will trace how people historically have engaged with the classical past in political and affective projects of writing queer history and literature, constructing identities and communities, and imagining queer futures. We will unpack how classical scholarship might reproduce contemporary forms of homophobia and transphobia in its treatments of gender, sexuality, and embodiment in the classical past, and in turn how modern uses of the classical might reinforce or dismantle exclusionary narratives around 'queerness' today as it intersects with race, gender, sexuality, and class. Finally, we will consider how the work we are doing in this class (where the 'Queer' in 'Queer Classics' may be taken as an adjective or an imperative) relates to the ways that contemporary writers, activists, artists, and performers have animated the classical past with queer possibilities. All readings will be in translation; no knowledge of Latin and Greek is required.

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LGBT3740 Parody
In A Theory of Parody, Linda Hutcheon defines parody broadly as "repetition with critical difference, which marks difference rather than similarity." Taking a cue from Hutcheon, we will consider parody as a form of meaning making that is not necessarily used in the service of ridicule. Rather, we will examine a number of late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century imitative works in order to distinguish the rich variety of political agendas and aesthetic rationales for recent parody. An emphasis on postmodern or contemporary performances and media that renovate images, ideas, and icons from modernism and modernity will unite our otherwise diverse efforts. Some of these efforts will also highlight what happens when an artist takes up a work made for one platform (for example, theatre, performance art, installation, cinema, television, the Web) and parodies it in another. Creators and works under consideration may range from Christopher Durang, Split Britches, and Pig Iron Theatre Company to The Simpsons, Cookie's Fortune, and Strindberg and Helium.

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LGBT3990 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.

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Fall, Spring.
LGBT4100 The Seminar
Topics vary by instructor.

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LGBT4695 Queer Archives and Archiving Queerness
This course contemplates challenges associated with researching and representing LGBTQ+ pasts. We approach this topic from several angles: 1) by asking what constitutes "queer" and "trans" in different historical contexts and different geographical locations, when sexuality and gender are by their nature fluid; 2) by training in LGBTQ+ archival methods; and 3) by engagement with queer and trans artivists who make archives central to their praxis. We will visit Cornell's Human Sexuality collection, explore online repositories and academic databases (e.g., ONE and Cengage), and consider archive-based artistic projects (e.g., Killjoy's Castle and MOTHA).

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LGBT4835 Performance Studies: Theories and Methods
An understanding of performance as object and lens, modality and method, is integral to scholarship and research across the humanities and social sciences. Charting the advent and defining principles of performance studies, this course explores the interdisciplinary history of the field, including its association with anthropology, visual studies, theater, gender studies, sociology, psychology, literature, philosophy, and critical race studies. This class examines performance as a means of creative expression, a mode of critical inquiry, and an avenue for public engagement. We will attend to both the practice of performance - as gesture, behavior, habit, event, artistic expression, and social drama - and the study of performance - through ethnographic observation, spectatorship, documentation, reproduction, analysis, and writing strategies. Through a study of research paradigms and key issues related to performance, we will explore not only what this highly contested term "is" and "does," but when and how, for whom, and under what circumstances.

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LGBT6312 Synthesizing Pop: Electronics and the Musical Imagination
From Switched-On Bach to Synthpop and EDM, since the late 1960s electronic synthesizers have expanded the sonic palette and identity formation of popular musicians, leading to new concepts of sound and performance as well as communal, technological, and human interfaces. This course will explore the cultural history of analog synthesizers and their progeny of digital devices (samplers, sequencers, drum machines) and desktop technologies that revolutionized popular music soundscapes and embodiment. Synthesis will be considered as both a musical technology and theoretical concept that together spark imagined cyborg identities and post-human futures, challenging and resynthesizing categories of gender, sexuality, and race. Student will also have the opportunity to engage with Cornell's Robert Moog Archive and develop research, creative, or curation projects. This course is open to graduate students and fourth-year undergraduates by permission. Undergraduates should contact the instructor before enrolling.

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LGBT6363 Queer Marxism
Are queer theory and Marxism truly irreconcilable? While queer studies emerged in part as a rejection of Marxism's totalizing approach and Marxists have criticized the queer emphasis on individuals, this seminar explores the potential of bringing the two fields together. We will consider how queer critiques of reproductive futurism, racial capitalism, and homonationalism can transform the legacy of Marxist theory and practice. At the same time, we will examine Marxist notions of totality, reification, and value to reenvision the scope of queer politics. After covering these key Marxist and queer theoretical concepts, the seminar will turn to transnational Marxist debates on gender and sexuality in Weimar Germany and the Soviet Union. We will conclude the seminar with a discussion of new scholarship in the emergent field of queer Marxism and a symposium with presentations by seminar participants.

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LGBT6445 Modernist Fiction and the Erotics of Style
"I am interested in language because it wounds or seduces me," the critic Roland Barthes once wrote. How do we take pleasure in a text, even when it appears to betray us? How do we speak of the erotics of style beyond the mere thematic interpretation of sexual representation? Has such an erotics even been written yet? To explore a methodology for contemplating this elusive embrace between the aesthetic and the erotic, we will consider influential works of psychoanalytic, deconstructive, feminist, and queer theory alongside a survey of great modernist novelists whose innovative experiments in prose style have proved most sensual and most challenging, among them Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Gertrude Stein, D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Ronald Firbank, and Djuna Barnes.

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