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EN2G1/EN3G1 - Queer and There: Queer Theory and the History of Sexuality in the Global Context

377 Protest

This module complements the 15-CATS module "Queering the Literary Landscape."Link opens in a new window 




Thursdays 11:00-12:30pm, S1.69
Thursdays, 12:30-2:00pm, S1.69

Module tutor:

Evan Hayles Gledhill
Office Hours: Thursdays, 4-5

Module convenor:
Ross Forman

Office Hours: Wednesdays, 12-1, and Thursdays, 4-5 (H5.11)

Module aims: This module aims to familiarise students with current theories of and literary and historical approaches to gender and sexuality, with a particular focus on “non-heteronormativity.” Taking a global approach, it introduces students to the vocabulary of sexual difference in Europe and North America, Asia, and Latin America (including queer, trans, cisgender, asexuality, bakla, and kathoey) through critical and literary readings. [That said, the geographical scope of the module is necessarily selective, since we only have 10 weeks!] Students 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.

Module outcomes: Students will leave the module with sharpened skills in critical thinking; in using historical and theoretical materials in literary criticism; and in understanding sexuality and gender as one constitutive way of analysing the contemporary world. They will gain familiarity with new methodologies and regimes of knowledge, as well as new ways to apply these insights to the study of world literature and culture.


Course Readings:

Most of the readings are in the form of articles or book chapters, as listed in the syllabus. (Many are also quite short.) The library will make these available in online form through Talis AspireLink opens in a new window.

In addition, you should purchase the following literary text:

Monique Truong, The Book of Salt.



Week 1: Introduction. Terms, Places, Contexts

Required Reading/Viewing:

Recommended Reading:

  • Judith Butler, "Critically Queer" in Bodies that Matter, 169-185.

[Ebook available through the Library]

Week 2: Focus on Southern Africa

Required Reading:

  • Zackie Achmat, "My Childhood as an Adult Molester: A Salt River Moffie" in Gevisser and Cameron, Defiant Desire (325-341).
  • Nkunsi Zandile Nkabinde, Black Bull, Ancestors and Me: My Life as a Lesbian Sangoma (Selections: "The Ancestors Don't Mind"; "Doing Things Differently"; "Making Connections").
  • Mark Givisser, "Aunty's Story" in The Pink Line: Journeys across the World's Queer Frontiers.
  • Xavier Livermon, "Soweto Nights: Making Black Queer Space in Post-apartheid South Africa." in Gender, Place and Culture.

Recommended Reading:

  • Neville Hoad, "Queer Customs against the Law" in Research in African Literatures.

Week 3: Focus on South Asia

Required Reading/Viewing:

  • Deepa Mehta (dir), Fire (available via the Library in the Box of Broadcasts database).
  • "The Visit": "Lesbian" Advertisement (3 minutes). CLICK HERE to watch "The Visit" on YoutubeLink opens in a new window.
  • Ahoona Roya, "Contesting Violence, Contesting Power." Cosmopolitan Sexuality
  • Alok Gupta, "Englishpur ki Kothi," in Because I Have a Voice: Queer Politics in India.


Week 4: Focus on Southeast Asia/Singapore

Required Reading:

  • Audrey Yue, "Trans-Singapore: Some Notes towards Queer Asia as Method." Intra-Asian Cultural Studies 18.1 (2017): 10-24.
  • Loo Zihan, Queer Objects Exhibition, SingaporeLink opens in a new window.
  • Sharyn Davies, "Waria" in The Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History, vol. 3.
  • Evelyn Blackwood, "The Contentious Category of Lesbian: Butch, Femme and Andro from the New Order to Reformasi Era Indonesia" in Sex and Sexualities in Contemporary Indonesia.
  • Dredge Byung'chu Kang, "Eastern Orientations: Thai Middle-class Gay Desire for 'White Asians'." Culture, Theory and Critique 58.2 (2017): 182-208.

Recommended Reading:

Week 5: Focus on Global Trans Identities

Required Reading/Viewing:

  • Susan Stryker, "At the Crossroads of Turk and Taylor."
  • Jack Halberstam, "Becoming Trans*" in Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability 45-62.
  • Toby Beauchamp, "Flying Under The Radar" in Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices.
  • Diana Taylor, "We Have Always Been Queer" in GLQ.
  • PLUS Video of Jesusa Rodriguez and Liliana Felipe's Juana La Larga (Long Juana) (14 minutes). CLICK HERE for the video on YoutubeLink opens in a new window.
    Recommended Reading:
  • Afsaneh Najmabadi, "Living Patterns, Narrative Styles" in Professing Selves 231-274.

Week 6: Reading Week

[No meeting this week.]

Week 7: Sexuality and/in the Diaspora I: Theorizing the South Asian Experience

Required Reading/Viewing:

  • FILM: My Beautiful Laundrette, dir. Stephen Frears (1:20 minutes).
  • Jasbir Puar, "'The Turban Is Not a Hat': Queer Diaspora and Practices of Profiling" in Terrorist Assemblages 166-202
  • Gayatri Gopinath, "Communities of Sound: Queering South Asian Popular Music in the Diaspora" in Imposible Desires
  • Shani Mootoo, "Out on Main Street"Link opens in a new window in the short story collection Out on Main Street.

Recommended Reading:

  • Rahul K. Gairola, "Capitalist Houses, Queer Homes: National Belonging and Transgressive Erotics in My Beautiful Laundrette" in South Asian Popular Culture

Week 8: Sexuality and/in the Diaspora II: Theorizing the East and Southeast Asian Experience

Required Reading:

  • Fran Martin, "Transnational Queer Sinophone Cultures" in Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia.
  • Emmanuel David, "Outsourced Heroes and Queer Incorporation" in GLQ.
  • Martin Manalansan, "The 'Stuff' of Archives: Mess, Migration, and Queer Lives" in Radical History Review (2014).
  • Wisnu Adihartono, "Breaking Free in Gay Paris."Link opens in a new window

Recommended Reading:

  • Howard Chiang, "Transsexual Taiwan" in After Eunuchs: Science, Medicine, and the Transformation of Sex in Modern China.
  • NGUYEN Tan Hoang, "The Politics of Starch" in A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation.

Week 9: Literature, Sexuality, Diaspora: Monique Truong's The Book of Salt

Required Reading:

  • Monique Truong, The Book of Salt.
  • Deborah Cohler, "Teaching Transnationally: Queer Studies and Imperialist Legacies in Monique Truong's Book of Salt" in Radical Teacher.

Recommended Reading:

  • David Eng, "The End(s) of Race" in PMLA.
  • Denise Cruz, "Love Is not a Bowl of Quinces" in Eating Asian America.

Week 10: Queer and Diaspora Film and New Media

Required Reading/Viewing:



Juana La Larga

Indicative Bibliography and Bibliography of Required Readings

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

Arondekar, Anjali, and Geeta Patel. "Area Impossible: Notes towards an Introduction." GLQ 22.2 (2016): 151-171.

AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 2008.

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.

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).

Cohler, Deborah. "Teaching Transnationally: Queer Studies and Imperialist Legacies in Monique Truong's Book of Salt." Radical Teacher 82 (2008): 25-31.

Cruz, Denise. "Love Is Not a Bowl of Quinces: Food, Desire, and the Queer Asian Body." Eating Asian America: A Food Studies Reader. Ed. Robert Ku, Ji-Song, Martin F. Manalansan, IV, and Antia Mannur. New York, NY: New York UP, 2013. 354-370.

David, Emmanuel. "Outsourced Heroes and Queer Incorporations: Labor Brokerage and the Politics of Inclusion in the Philippine Call Center Industry." GLQ 22.3 (2016): 381-408.

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

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.

Gairola, Rahul. K. "Capitalist Houses, Queer homes: National Belonging and Transgressive Erotics in My Beautiful Laundrette." South Asian Popular Culture 7.1 (2009): 37-54.

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.

Köng,Dredge Byung'chu. "Kathoey 'In Trend': Emergent Genderscapes, National Anxieties and the Re-Signification of Male-Bodied Effeminacy in Thailand." Asian Studies Review 36.4 (2012): 475-494.

Jackson, Peter, ed. Queer Bangkok: Twenty-First-Century Markets, Media, and Rights. Hong Kong: Hong Kong UP, 2011.

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.

Livermon, Xavier. "Queer(y)ing Freedom: Black Queer Visibilities in Postapartheid South Africa" GLQ 18.23 (2012)297-323.

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

--. The 'Stuff" of Archives: Mess, Migration, and Queer Lives." Special Issue on "Queering Archives: Historical Unravelings." Radical History Review 120 (2014): 94-107.

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

Mootoo, Shani. Out on Main Street. Vancouver: Press Gang Publishers, 1993.

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. "The Resurrection of Brandon Lee: The Making of a Gay Asian American Porn Star." Porn Studies. Ed. Linda Williams. Durham: Duke UP, 2004. 223-270.

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

Nkabine, Nkunsi Zandile. Black Bull, Ancestors and Me: My Life as a Lesbian Sangoma. Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2008.

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

Puar, Jasbir K. 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.

Rao, R. Raja. The Boyfriend. New Delhi: Penguin India, 2003.

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

Ribeiro, Daniel, dir. The Way He Looks [Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho]. Lacuna Films, 2014.

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.

Rupp, Leila J. Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women. New York and London: New York UP, 2009.

Sa’at, Alfian. Collected Plays 2: The Asian Boys Trilogy. Singapore: Ethos Books, 2010.

Satyal, Rakesh. Blue Boy. New York: Kensington Books, 2009.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Tendencies. Durham: Duke UP, 1993.

Sex and Sexualities in Contemporary Indonesia: Sexual Politics, Health, Diversity and Representations. Ed. Linda Rae Bennett and Sharyn Graham Davies. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2015.

Shimizu, Celine Parre�as. "Screening Shirtless AZN Men: The Full Frontal Power of Intimate Internet Industries." positions: asia critique 24.1 (2016): 231-252.

Singh, Dayanita. Myself Mona Ahmed. New York: Scalo, 2001.

Taylor, Diana. "We Have Always Been Queer." GLQ 22.2 (2016): 205-2014.

The Transgender Studies Reader 2. Ed. Susan Stryker and Airen Azura. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2013.

Traub, Valerie. “The New Unhistoricism in Queer Studies.” PMLA 128.1 (2015): 21-39.

Ugra [Panday Bechram Sharma]. Chocolate and Other Writings on Male Homoeroticism. Ed. Ruth Vanita. Durham: Duke UP, 2009.

Truong, Monique. The Book of Salt. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

Vanita, Ruth. Queering India: Same-Sex Love and Eroticism in Indian Culture and Society. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Valentine, David. Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category. Durham: Duke UP, 2007.

Walker, Megan, ed. Interdisciplinary and Global Perspectives on Intersex. Palgrave Macmillan, 2022.

Whistling in the Dark: Twenty-one Queer Interviews. Ed. R. Raj Rao and Dibyajyoti Sarma. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2009.