ENGL359F - Special Topics in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Literatures: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Film and Video
Syllabus:
Section(s):

In the 2005 book In a Queer Time & Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives (NYU Press), Judith (Jack) Halberstam defines queer time in opposition to (re)production, i.e., to the progressive family narrative that leads from childhood innocence to an uneven, yet ultimately untroubled adolescence to adult, parental responsibility. Queer time, implicitly &/or explicitly, pushes back against the future-oriented, for it challenges the progressive familial narrative by fostering the existence of the non-normative gender roles that adherents to hetero-time believe are un(re)productive, & anti-future.

In conjunction with queer time, Halberstam defines queer space as realms – or, at least, as the possibility of realms – where practitioners/instigators of queer time can operate, where those who are outside of hetero-time can exist, &, by existing, call into question the assumptions that support hetero-time. The practitioners, according to Halberstam, are a diverse group indeed: “ravers, club kids, HIV-positive [& HIV-negative?] barebackers, rent boys, sex workers, homeless people, and the unemployed” (10), &, later, “nonmetropolitan queers, prisoners, homeless people [again], undocumented workers” (33-34). In short, these practitioners (willfully, by force, or somewhere in between) exist outside hetero-time. At best they are ignored, & at worst they are annihilated for the sake of hetero-time’s health. Each film this semester directly or indirectly criticizes hetero-time, & each film attempts (in very different ways, both formally & in terms of narrative) to explore alternative temporalities & to provide (the possibility of) spaces where these explorations might take place. Featured filmmakers include Todd Haynes, Rainer Warner Fassbinder, Isaac Julien, Kimberly Pierce, Cheryl Dunye, Pedro Almodovar, John Waters, Harry Dodge & Silas Howard, among others.

This course consists of two 1,000-word queer close readings (15% each), one 2,500-word comparative analysis (25%), quizzes (10%), ample in-class participation (10%), & a final exam (25%).

Repeatable to 9 credits if content differs.

Prerequisites: 

Two lower-level English courses, at least one in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.