Courses - Spring 2020

LGBT 2290 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.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kate McCullough (mkm23)
Full details for LGBT 2290 : Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies
LGBT 2335 Making Public Queer History

In this course we will examine LGBTQ+ history in the United States with a focus on its recovery and public representation—what are the stakes of researching, preserving, and commemorating the LGBTQ+ past? We will investigate how archival, scholarly, curatorial, and creative practices shape popular conceptions of LGBTQ+ life, politics, and culture, and how those practices and conceptions have changed with evolving understandings of race, gender, sexuality, and oppression. Students will build skills in archival research and historical interpretation and explore possibilities and challenges in building archives and presenting LGBTQ+ history in a variety of public contexts—museums, libraries, monuments, movies and television, and community-based oral history projects. For their final project, students will locate and research a selection of archival materials (periodicals, letters, pamphlets, songs, advertisements, etc.) either online or at Cornell Library's Rare and Manuscript Collections, producing a final research paper and a proposal for a public history project.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
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LGBT 2760 Desire

"Language is a skin," the critic Roland Barthes once wrote: "I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire." Sexual desire has a history, even a literary history, which we will examine through an introductory survey of European dramatic literature from the Ancient Greeks to the present, as well as classic readings in sexual theory, including Plato, Freud, Foucault, and contemporary feminist and queer theory.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ellis Hanson (eh36)
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LGBT 2841 Viruses- Humans-Viral Politics (Social History and Cultural Politics of HIV & AIDS)

This course explores what has been termed "the modern plague."  It investigates the social history, cultural politics, biological processes, and global impacts of the retrovirus, HIV, and the disease syndrome, AIDS. It engages material from multiple fields: life sciences, social sciences, & humanities as well as media reports, government documents, activist art, and community-based documentaries. It explores various meanings and life-experiences of HIV & AIDS; examines conflicting understandings of health, disease, the body; investigates political struggles over scientific research, biomedical & public health interventions, and cultural representations; and queries how HIV vulnerability is shaped by systems of power and inequality. As well, we come to learn about the practices, the politics, and the ethics of life and care that arise in "the age of epidemic."

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Roebuck (cr566)
Full details for LGBT 2841 : Viruses- Humans-Viral Politics (Social History and Cultural Politics of HIV & AIDS)
LGBT 3210 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.

Distribution: (PBS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Shelby Dietz (sbd3)
Full details for LGBT 3210 : Gender and the Brain
LGBT 3250 Staging Gay and Transgender Histories

How have movements for sexual liberation used performance as a means of self-expression and strategies for social justice? How have theatrical stages served as sites of queer sociality and crucibles of invention, where history is made and remade by social actors?

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sara Warner (slw42)
Full details for LGBT 3250 : Staging Gay and Transgender Histories
LGBT 3550 Decadence

"My existence is a scandal," Oscar Wilde once wrote, summing up in an epigram the effect of his carefully cultivated style of perversity and paradox. Through their celebration of "art for art's sake" and all that was considered artificial, unnatural, or obscene, the Decadent writers of the late-nineteenth century sought to free the pleasures of beauty, spirituality, and sexual desire from their more conventional ethical moorings. We will focus on the literature of the period, including works by Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, A. C. Swinburne, and especially Oscar Wilde, and we will also consider related developments in aesthetic philosophy, painting, music, theater, architecture, and design.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ellis Hanson (eh36)
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LGBT 3725 Femininity as Masquerade

"One is not born a woman, but rather becomes one" wrote Simone de Beauvoir. How does such an odd becoming happen? What can literature teach us about it? Does anyone ever achieve "being a woman" and how do we ("we"??) survive always falling short of the implicit ideal? We will think about the power afforded by receptivity, passivity, bottoming, emotionality and openness, whether or not these are enacted by people born, designated or living as female.  What are some of the dimensions of femininity's diversity, even in the United States, today? This course is intimately informed by intersectional queer, women of color and trans* perspectives, which will be at the center of our inquiry. It will cover film, literature, personal essays and gender theory.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Masha Raskolnikov (mr283)
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LGBT 3740 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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nick Salvato (ngs9)
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LGBT 3990 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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Naminata Diabate (nd326)
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LGBT 4701 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.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Karen Jaime (kj12)
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LGBT 4945 Body Politics in African Literature and Cinema

The course examines how postcolonial African writers and filmmakers engage with and revise controversial images of bodies and sexuality--genital cursing, same-sex desire, HIV/AIDS, genital surgeries, etc. Our inquiry also surveys African theorists' troubling of problematic tropes and practices such as the conception in 19th-century racist writings of the colonized as embodiment, the pathologization and hypersexualization of colonized bodies, and the precarious and yet empowering nature of the body and sexuality in the postcolonial African experience. As we focus on African artists and theorists, we also read American and European theorists, including but not certainly limited to Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, and Joseph Slaughter, detecting the ways in which discourses around bodies in the African context may shape contemporary theories and vice versa.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Naminata Diabate (nd326)
Full details for LGBT 4945 : Body Politics in African Literature and Cinema
LGBT 6164 Trans: Bodies, Sexes and Histories

This course explores the changing historical relationship between the body's biological sex, individual subjectivity, and identity. It asks how culture shapes scientific understandings and possibilities of sex, gender and identity. And it seeks to make historical sense of the shifts that have enabled a revolutionary increase in transgender existence today by comparing histories of transgender in specific cultural contexts. When possible, we analyze the role of subjectivity—one's sense of one's relationship to the physical body—in the politics of transgender identities. We examined and critique contemporary theories about the category of "transgender" and its relationship to the body, self, and physical sex, which is understood as malleable rather than fixed.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Tamara Loos (tl14)
Full details for LGBT 6164 : Trans: Bodies, Sexes and Histories
LGBT 6335 Making Public Queer History

In this course we will examine LGBTQ+ history in the United States with a focus on its recovery and public representation—what are the stakes of researching, preserving, and commemorating the LGBTQ+ past? We will investigate how archival, scholarly, curatorial, and creative practices shape popular conceptions of LGBTQ+ life, politics, and culture, and how those practices and conceptions have changed with evolving understandings of race, gender, sexuality, and oppression. Students will build skills in archival research and historical interpretation and explore possibilities and challenges in building archives and presenting LGBTQ+ history in a variety of public contexts—museums, libraries, monuments, movies and television, and community-based oral history projects. For their final project, students will locate and research a selection of archival materials (periodicals, letters, pamphlets, songs, advertisements, etc.) either online or at Cornell Library's Rare and Manuscript Collections, producing a final research paper and a proposal for a public history project.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for LGBT 6335 : Making Public Queer History
LGBT 6755 Staging Gay and Transgender Histories

How have movements for sexual liberation used performance as a means of self-expression and strategies for social justice? How have theatrical stages served as sites of queer sociality and crucibles of invention, where history is made and remade by social actors?

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Sara Warner (slw42)
Full details for LGBT 6755 : Staging Gay and Transgender Histories