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WS 250 - Queer Stories:LGBTQ People and Communities in Historical Context

Course Description: This course focuses on the past three centuries in North America and Western Europe in order to understand the ways in which the historical cultures of those regions developed particular anxieties which drove the creation of new norms, stereotypes and roles related to gender and sexuality. We will also investigate the ways in which queer identities and sub-cultures grew from the many points of resistance to such norms. Few cultures have developed as many penal, medical, and popular bodies of knowledge and techniques to police the gender and desire of individuals. The course begins with a brief survey of classical Mediterranean sexualities in order to understand the historical distinctions between concepts of homoeroticism and gender ambiguity in antiquity and modern times. We then turn to an examination of the 18th century in order to examine the growth of urban subcultures of gender deviance, along with attempts by Europeans to come to terms with gender and sexual differences in the cultures they encountered in the colonial world. The course will cover the emergence of sexual discourses in the human sciences and bohemian and “free love” cultures that emerged during the nineteenth century, and survey the queer sub-cultures, communities, and politics that surfaced in the urban industrial economies of cosmopolitan centers like London, San Francisco, and Berlin during the early twentieth century. The Second World War and the surrounding historical circumstances proved a significant event, with sometimes tragic consequences, for queer people. The course then turns to an examination of the post-war era, centering on the international Homophile Movement as well as the more radical Gay Liberation Movement influenced by New Left Radicalism, Women’s Liberation, and Post-Colonial Nationalist Movements that convulsed much of the world in the 1960s and 1970s. The course concludes with a discussion of the effects of the devastating HIV/AIDS Pandemic of the 1980s and 1990s.

Coure Rotation: NY: Fall.

3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours

Levels: Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture, Tutorial

Women's & Gender Studies Department

Must be enrolled in one of the following Levels: