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EN9B8 Queer Theory & Praxis

This module is available to all MA students in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. It may be taken as either the Critical Theory requirement or as an optional module. Students from other departments are welcome to request permission to join this module.

Seminar tutor: Dr Ross G. Forman,, H539
Seminar Time for 2018/19: Term 2, Thursday 3-5

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This module aims to familiarise students with current theories of gender and sexuality, with a particular focus on literary and historical methodologies. You will learn about the effect of legal, medical, and moral frameworks on the emergence of forms of sexual identity worldwide and the impact of globalization on local forms of sexuality and sexual practice. You will work with Intersectional approaches to literary and cultural study that involve queer theory.

Please purchase the following texts:

Alison Bechdel, Fun Home

Neel Mukherjee, A Life Apart

Critical readings will mostly be available through Talis Aspire.

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Seminar Schedule:

Week 1: What Is Queer Theory Today?

Gayle S. Rubin, "Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality" in Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader

Laura Doan, "Queer History, Queer Memory: The Case of Alan Turing," GLQ 23.1 (2017): 113-136

Mel Chen, "Queer Animality" in Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect

Heather Love, "Queer," Transgender Studies Quarterly 1.12 (2014): 172-5

David Halperin and Valerie Traub, "Beyond Gay Pride" in Gay Shame

Week 2: Queer Theory "Classics" in the Age of AIDS

Adrienne Rich, "Compulsory Heterosexualiy and Lesbian Existence" in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader 227-254

Leo Bursani, "Is the Rectum a Grave?" October 43 (1987): 197-222

Gayle Rubin, “The Catacombs: A Temple of the Butthole” in Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader, 224–240

D. A. Miller, "Anal Rope," Representations 32 (1990): 114-133

Recommended Viewing:

Rope, dir. Alfred Hitchcock

Week 3: Queer Theory and Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Tison Pugh, "Introduction," Sexuality and Its Queer Discontents in Middle English Literature 1-20

Carla Freccero, "Prolepses: Queer/Early/Modern" in Queer/Early/Modern

Madhavi Menon, "Introduction: Queer Shakes," Shakesqueer, ed. Madhavi Menon 1-27

Valerie Traub, "The New Unhistoricism in Queer Studies," PMLA 128.1 (2013): 21-39

Week 4: Queer Theory and Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Studies

Leila Rupp, "Finding Each Other (1600-1900)," Chapter 6, Sapphistries 105-141

Heike Bauer, "Literary Sexualities" in The Cambridge Companion to the Body in Literature, ed. David Hillman and Ulrike Maude 101-115

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, "The Beast in the Closet: James and the Writing of Homosexual Panic" in Epistemology of the Closet 182-212

Henry James, "The Beast in the Jungle"

Joseph Allen Boone, "Histories of Cross-Cultural Encounter, Orientalism, and the Politics of Sexuality" in The Homoerotics of Orientalism 3-49

Week 5: Global Contexts I: Latin America and Issues of Archive

Zeb Tortirici, "Introduction: Archiving the Unnatural" in Sins Against Nature: Sex and Archives in Colonial New Spain 1-24

María Elena Martínez, "Archives, Bodies, and Imagination: The Case of Juana Aguilar and Queer Approaches to History, Sexuality, and Politics," Radical History Review 120 (2014): 159-182

Juliana Martinez, "Dressed Like a Man? Of Language, Bodies, and Monsters in the Trial of Enrique/Enriqueta Favez and Its Contemporary Accounts," Journal of the History of Sexuality 26.2 (2017): 188-206

David Squires, "Roger Casement's Queer Archive," PMLA 132.3 (2017): 596-612

Ben Cowan, "'A Passive Homosexual Element': Digitized Archives and the Policing of Homosex in Cold War Brazil," Radical History Review 120 (2014): 183-203

Week 6: Global Contexts II: East Asia and the East Asian Diaspora

Ari Larissa Heinrich, "Chapter 1: Chinese Whispers: Frankenstein, the Sleeping Lion, and the Emergence of a Biopolitical Aesthetics" in Chinese Surplus: Biopolitical Aesthetics and the Medically Commodified Body 25-48.

Howard Chiang, "China Castrated" in After Eunuchs: Science, Medicine, and the Transformation of Sex in Modern China

Petrus Liu, "Chinese Queer Theory," in Queer Marxism in Two Chinas 34-84

James Welker, "Beautiful, Borrowed, and Bent: 'Boys’ Love' as Girls’ Love in Shojo Manga" Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 31.3 (2006): 841-870

Week 7: Global Contexts III: South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora

Anjali Arondekar, "Archival Attachments: The Story of an India-Rubber Dildo," For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India 97-130

Gayatri Gopinath, "Queer Regions: Imagining Kerala from the Diaspora" in Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora (2019)

Shraddha Chatterjee, "Transgender Shifts: Notes on Resignification of Gender and Sexuality in India," Transgender Quarterly 5.3 (2018): 311-320.

Michelle Schut and Eva van Baarle, "Dancing Boys and the Moral Dilemmas of Military Missions: The Practice of Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan" in International Security and Peacebuilding: Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, ed. Abu Bakkar Bah 77-98

Week 8: The Queer and the Global

Jonathan Goldberg, "Sodomy in the New World: Anthropologies Old and New" in Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory, ed. Michael Warner 19-3

Scott Lauria Morgensen, "Conversations on Berdache: Anthropology, Counterculturism, Two-Spirit Organizing" in Spaces between Us : Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization 55-87

Niko Besnier, Susan Brownwell, and Thomas F. Carter, "Sport and Sex, Gender, and Sexuality" in The Anthropology of Sport 127-157

Matthew Waites, "Genocide and Global Queer Politics," Journal of Genocide Research 20.1 (2018): 44-67.


The two concluding workshops are designed to help students think about the relationship between theory and practice in more concrete terms by applying critical methodologies to literary and cultural texts.

Week 9: Theory and Praxis I

Neel Mukherjee, A Life Apart

Recommended Criticism:

Oliver Ross, "Communal Tensions: Homosexuality in Raj Rao's The Boyfriend and Neel Mukherjee's A Life Apart" in Same-sex Desire in Indian Culture: Representaitons in Literature and Film, 1970-2015*** Read 121-131

Week 10: Theory and Praxis II

Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Ann Cvetkovich, "Drawing the Archive in Alison Bechdel's 'Fun Home,'" Women's Studies Quarterly 36.1/2 (2008): 111-128

Ramzi Fawaz and Shanté Paradigm Smalls, "Queers Read This! LGBTQ Literature Now," GLQ 24.2-3 (2018): 169-187

Hijras, Kolkata

Selected Bibliography

Aggleton, Peter, and Richard Parker. Routledge Handbook of Sexuality, Health and Rights. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Arondekar, Anjali. For the Record. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2009.

Boellstroff, Tom. The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2005.

Boone, Joseph. The Homoerotics of Orientalism. New York: Columbia UP, 2014.

Bristow, Joseph. Sexuality. New York: Routledge, 2011.

Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Chen, Mel Y. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Durham: Duke UP, 2012.

Chiang, Howard, and Alvin K. Wong. "Queering the Transnational Turn: Regionalism and Queer Asias" Gender, Place & Culture (2016).

Defiant Desire: Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa. Ed. Mark Gevisser and Edwin Cameron. Bramfontein: Ravan Press, 1994.

Dinshaw, Carolyn. How Soon Is Now? Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2012.

Doan, Laura. Disturbing Practices: History, Sexuality, and Women's Experience of Modern War. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Eng, David."The End(s) of Race." PMLA 123.5 (2008): 1479-1493.

--. The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy. Durham: Duke UP, 2010.

Gopinath, Gayatri. Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. Durham: Duke UP, 2005.

Halberstam, Jack [formerly Judith]. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York UP, 2005.

--. The Queer Art of Failure. Durham: Duke UP, 2010.

Halperin, David, and Valerie Traub. Gay Shame. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010.

Hoad, Neville. "Queer Customs against the Law." Research in African Literatures 47.2 (2016): 1-19.

Kaplan, Morris. Sodom on the Thames: Sex, Love, and Scandal in Wilde Times. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2005.

Jagose, Annamarie. Orgasmology. Durham: Duke UP, 2012.

Lim, Eng-Beng. Brown Boys and Rice Queens: Spellbinding Performances in the Asias. New York: New York UP, 2014.

Manalansan, Martin F. Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora. Durham: Duke UP, 2003.

Martin, Fran. Backwards Glances: Contemporary Chinese Cultures and the Female Homoerotic Imaginary. Durham: Duke UP, 2004.

Menon, Madhavi, ed. Shakesqueer:A Queer Companion to the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Durham: Duke UP, 2011.
Najmabadi, Afsaneh. Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-sex Desire in Contemporary Iran. Durham: Duke UP, 2014.

Narrain, Arvind, and Gautum Bhan, eds. Because I Have a Voice: Queer Politics in India. New Delhi: Yoda Press, 2005.

Ngyuen, Tan Hoang. A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation. Durham: Duke UP, 2014.

Patton, Cindy, and Bengino Sanchez-Eppler, eds. Queer Diasporas. Durham: Duke UP, 2000.

Prosser, Jay. Second Skins: The Body Narratives of Transsexuality. New York: Columbia UP, 1998.

Puar, Jasbir K. The Right to Maim. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2017.

--. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalisms in Queer Times. Durham: Duke UP, 2007.

Puri, Jyoti. Sexual States: Goveranance and the Struggle over the Anti-sodomy Law in India. Durham: Duke UP, 2016.

Reddy, Gayatri. With Respect to Sex: Negotiating Hijra Identity in South India. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2005.

Ross, Oliver. Same-sex Desire in Indian Culture: Representations in Literature and Film, 1970-2016. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia. Ed. Mark McClelland and Vera Mackie. London: Routledge, 2014.