ENGL 355 A: American Literature: Contemporary America

Meeting Time: 
MW 3:30pm - 5:20pm
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Professor Ishii, presumably saying smart things
Douglas Ishii

Syllabus Description:

Emerging from the new social movements of the U.S. 1970s and '80s, “queer of color” as a category recognizes that LGBTQ+ people exist in communities of color, just as people of color have participated in and led queer liberation struggles.  Responding to these limitations of single-identity models of organizing and theorizing, queer of color cultural criticism analyzes how constructions of race operate through sexuality, as well as how our collective understandings of sex and sexuality carry racialized meanings.  Reading queer of color criticism in conversation with the literary texts expanded its theoretical imagination, this course will ask: How can an intersectional lens focused on queer lives of color allow us to theorize a more just world for us all?

To answer, this course will analyze theoretical and literary texts by U.S.-based, queer-identified artists of color.  Taking up the rise of queer of color cultural criticism, this course will bring to bear concepts and issues from U.S. multiethnic literary studies, American studies, queer theory, and critical ethnic studies.  Through queer of color critique, we will read novels, poetry, plays, and films that focus on LGBTQ+ people of color.  The first half of the course will focus on core texts that have led to the rise of queer of color criticism, and the second half will turn to newer explorations on that same theme.  Further, we will ask after the social and political function of art.  Key issues will include race and empire, migration and displacement, history and memory, intimacies and segregation, and love and kinship. 

The course will require weekly discussion posts, an examination, and a final 4-5p research project.  This course will meet asynchronously on Monday, and synchronously at our scheduled course time at 3:30p PDT on Wednesday afternoon.  Due to the time constraints of remote instruction, the instructor may not add new students after Week 1.

Catalog Description: 
Examines recent American literature and its historical and cultural contexts.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
February 8, 2021 - 10:50pm