online materials:

http://emuonline.edu/

professor email:

abbcoy@gmail.com

professor homepage:

http://people.emich.edu/
acoykenda/

professor information:

http://emich.edu/english/faculty/
facultypages/acoykendall.php

office hours:

603j pray Harrold hall

MTWTh 1:45–2:45 PM

~ schedule ~

LITR/WGST 455:

Sexualities in Literature and Culture

Winter 2014

Dr. Abby Coykendall

 

 

 

Section #26820

Tuesday & Thursday 12:30–1:45

Pray-Harrold Hall 318

“[O]f this we may be perfectly sure, [modesty] was originally designed as nothing but a stimulant to lust: the engaging idea was to postpone desire’s fulfillment in order to increase excitement, and fools subsequently took as a virtue what was merely a contrivance of libertinage” —Marquis de Sade, Juliette

 “[T]he deployment of sexuality established the desire for sex, … to discover it, to liberate it, to articulate it in discourse, [a desire which] makes us think that we are affirming the rights of our sex, … when in fact we are fastened to [it as] a sort of mirage in which we think we see ourselves reflected” —Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality

Copy of Sexualities Image.jpg

Course Description: LITR/WGST 455 will investigate the vexed interconnection between sexuality and society, the ways in which culture scripts the erotic imagination and eroticism scripts the cultural imagination in turn, by attending to the myriad discourses of the social body (the ‘body politic’) and the sexual or sexualized body found in popular and canonical literature extending from the late seventeenth to the twentieth century. Sex and culture are often treated as antithetical domains, with sex strictly segregated from the social order as obscene, literally “off stage,” and the obscene construed as wholly inimical to the aesthetic. However, these presumed distinctions often themselves hinge on arbitrary partitions of normative, socially sanctioned sexualities from other modes of erotic and/or affective intercourse. Where, for example, would canonical literary culture be if not inclusive of the “great novels” so often featuring heterosexual romances either culminating in marriage (Pride and Prejudice, Portrait of a Lady) or complicating that social institution by way of intrigue (Madame Bovary, Dangerous Liaisons, Great Gatsby, The English Patient)?

The title of this class is deliberately plural, as plural as sexuality itself can be, since we will be considering an array of erotic, affective, and bodily practices that may or may not be monogamous, missionary, conjugal, heterosexual, or even pleasurable. Our readings will extend from the seventeenth-century libertine poetics of the Earl of Rochester and Aphra Behn, to the enlightenment-era novels of John Cleland (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) and the Marquis de Sade (Philosophy of the Boudoir), to late Victorian decadent novelists like Oscar Wilde (Picture of Dorian Gray), and finally to contemporary feminist and/or queer authors such as Angela Carter, Kathy Acker, and Rob Halpern. Along the way, we will ask how the very attempt to sever certain sexualities from the cultural imagination and from the larger social order leaves a trace not only of the obscene, but of the mise en scène (or scene-making) of sociality itself, as dominant cultures reconfigure their parameters in relation to changing political, historical, and material conditions.

Required Textbooks:

Books are available for purchase at the EMU Bookstore in the Student Center, as well as at online merchants (Amazon, Able’s, Barnes & Noble) or other university bookstores in the area. Make sure to get the correct edition pictured below by double-checking the ISBN numbers (a fingerprint of sorts for the book):

      

John Cleland, Fanny Hill; Or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, ed. Gary Gautier
(Modern Library/ Random House, 1995; ISBN #
0375758089)

Marquis de Sade, Philosophy in the Boudoir (Penguin 2006; ISBN # 0143039016)

Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray (Oxford 2008; ISBN # 0199535981)

Tennessee Williams, Streetcar Named Desire, ed. Arthur Miller
(New Directions, 2004; ISBN #
0811216020)

Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body (Vintage 1994; ISBN # 0679744479)

The other required readings are available in the online course shell, printable from any campus computer: http://emuonline.edu/ (see the "Doc Sharing" link). Bring copies of required readings, whether the books above or handouts from the course shell, with you to class. You will need everything on hand for groupwork and class discussions

Assessment:

 

25%

Participation (Responses, Homework, Presentation, & Quizzes)

25%

Examination #1 (self-designed essay exam question synthesizing Section I materials)

25%

Six-Page Research Essay (on one of the literary works assigned in class)

25%

Examination #2 (self-designed essay exam question synthesizing Section II materials)

Nothing is more vital for success in this course than keeping up with, and actively engaging in, the reading assignments, response papers, and class discussions each day. The more actively you participate, the more the course content can reflect your unique needs and interests. As with any university course, homework will take around two hours to complete for every unit of class or, in other words, six hours per week. See the course shell online (http://emuonline.edu/) for information about assignments, including ways to augment your grade through extra credit if you fall behind.

Instructor Availability:

I will be delighted to discuss any course-related questions, interests, or concerns during my office hours, as well as at any time through email (abbcoy@gmail.com). Emails with straightforward questions usually receive a reply within a few hours to a day; those with thornier issues usually receive a reply within a week. Please limit inquiries to those that I alone can answer so I can give the more pressing issues of other students the attention that they deserve. If, for example, you are unsure about a due date, consult the syllabus, the handouts in the online course shell, or the peers in your group, and then email only if the confusion persists. Your first visit to my office hours with a course-related inquiry, such as to get guidance on homework, discuss readings lately covered, or brainstorm essay ideas, will be worth extra credit.

Attendance:

Failure to participate regularly in class discussion makes achieving the course objectives difficult and, eventually, impossible. Reserve absences for illnesses, car accidents, or other unforeseen emergencies preventing you from coming to class and make sure not to exhaust your allowable absences too early in the term. Because this course primarily consists of reading and discussion—rather than facts, figures, or memorization—regular attendance is crucial. You never need to explain why you are absent, as I always will assume that you have an excellent reason to miss class. However, any student who misses FIVE class periods for any reason—that is, any student who misses over two weeks of the term—will have his or her final grade reduced by a full mark (for example, lowered from A to B, B to C, etc.), and any student who misses SIX or more class periods will become ineligible to pass. When you must be absent, contact the other students in your group to share notes or determine what you missed. All missed homework is due on your return, and any changes to the schedule will be sent to the class as a whole by email.

Lateness:

The most essential information—due dates, assignment instructions, clarification of issues—is given at the beginning of class, so it is essential to come on time. Make sure to leave early just in case you encounter any problems along the way (traffic jams, late busses, no parking). Arriving well into the period or exiting well before its conclusion both count as half an absence. If you are late, it is your responsibility to sign the attendance sheet to avoid being marked absent. Habitual lateness that disrupts the class eventually counts as an absence (or absences) as well.

Classroom Etiquette:

It is important to be mindful of your peers during class time, listening to them with the same respect and attention that you hope to receive yourself. Once class begins, do not distract your peers by walking in or out of the room unless there is a genuine emergency. If you have a medical condition requiring you to leave occasionally, bring a doctor’s note confirming as such; otherwise, conduct all personal business outside of class.

Disruptive exits can be both mental and physical. Students unprepared to discuss the materials for the day, or discovered using laptops or phones for purposes unrelated to the course, will be asked to leave and marked absent. This course has a no-laptop, no-cell-phone policy, so do not bother using these instruments during class time unless specifically asked to do so to look something up.

Accessibility

This class is meant to be a welcoming educational experience for all students, including those who may have challenges or disabilities that impact learning. If you find yourself having difficulty participating or demonstrating knowledge in this course, please feel free to contact me to discuss reasonable accommodations (preferably at least one week prior to the need), even if you currently lack a Disability Resource Center (DRC) accommodation letter. You can also contact the DRC directly to talk about possible accommodations (734-487-2470; 240K Student Center; drc@emich.edu).

Grading Scale:

100-94%

A

 

89-88%

B+

 

83-80%

B-

 

77-74%

C

 

69-68%

D+

93-90%

A-

 

87-84%

B

 

79-78%

C+

 

73-70%

C-

 

67-64%

D

 

Academic Resources & Campus Safety:

The University Writing Center (115 Halle Library) offers one-to-one writing consulting. Students can make appointments or drop in from 9AM to 6PM Mondays through Thursdays and from 11AM to 4PM on Fridays. Students should bring a draft of what they’re working on and their assignment. The Academic Projects Center (116 Halle Library) offers one-to-one, drop-in consulting for students on writing, research, or technology-related issues from 11-5 Monday-Thursday. Another support center is the International Student Resource Center (200 Alexander, 487-0370) dedicated to second-language students from abroad.

Also consider availing yourself of the campus escort service, Student Eyes and Ears for University Safety, by calling 48-SEEUS (487-3387). If you sign up for the emergency text-messaging system (www.emich.edu/alerts), DPS can notify us of any calamity afflicting the campus.

Academic Integrity:

Understanding and avoiding academic dishonesty, and doing all coursework on your own, is imperative. Copying the homework of peers, taking credit for essays that you find on the internet, cheating on exams, or recycling your own essays written for other classes for double credit are all forms of academic dishonesty. The worst form of academic dishonesty is plagiarism, which, put simply, is taking either the ideas or the words of another person and reusing them as if they are your own.

You thus must acknowledge when you make use of the concepts and/or expressions of other people without any exception under any circumstance, whether it be by drawing on Wikipedia for mundane (and quite possibly specious) information or channeling the most holy of holy books for heavenly inspiration. When describing the ideas of someone else in your own words, make sure to signal as such (e.g., So and so says X … ”); most importantly, when inserting the words of someone else into your own writing, make sure to credit that person for the passage and place quotation marks on either side (e.g., So and so says “X”). Writing that lacks these acknowledgements will pass as your own by default, and any writing that thus seems to be your own, without actually being your own, will be plagiarizing the original source.

All instances of academic dishonesty will result in an automatic 0% grade for the assignment; second instances will result in outright failure of the course. There is no excuse for academic dishonesty, nor will there be any exceptions to this policy. Make sure that your work is plagiarism-free before turning it in.

 


Schedule for WGST/LITR 445: Sexualities in Literature and Culture

Section One: Sexuality and Discourse Readings and handouts explaining the homework assignments are available in the online course shell: http://emuonline.edu/. Unless specified otherwise all homework is due on the Thursday class period, although discussion questions can be posted earlier on the Tuesday materials if you prefer. Supplemental readings relating to the course topic are available in the Electronic Reserves, password 445: http://reserves.emich.edu/eres/coursepage.aspx?cid=3946.

Tue Jan 7

No Class: Snow Day

Thu Jan 9

Course & Student Introductions; Conjectural Responses

Tue Jan 14

Theory: Stallybrass and White, “Politics and Poetics of Transgression” (1986)

Literature: Samuel Delany, “On the Unspeakable” and “Motion of Light on Water” (excerpt); Kathy Acker, “Girls Who Like to Fuck”

Optional: Martha C. Nussbaum, “Platonic Love and Colorado Law: The Relevance of Ancient Greek Norms to Modern Sexual Controversies”

Homework: Group 1 writes a response, Group 2 writes a discussion question; Group 3 replies to a discussion question; Group 4 brings in optional reading quotation (remaining groups serve as respondents in class)

Thu Jan 16

Theory: Michel Foucault, “We Other Victorians” (1976)

Philosophy: Plato, Symposium (ca. 380 bce)

Tue Jan 21

Context: Tim Hitchcock, English Sexualities, 1700-1800

Theory: Judith Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure (2013)

Literature: John Wilmont (Earl of Rochester), “Disabled Debauchee” and “Imperfect Enjoyment”; Aphra Behn, “The Dream” and “To the Fair Clorinda”; Jonathan Swift, “A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed”

Recommended but Optional: Riot Grrrl Manifesto (1989); Violent Femmes, “Add It Up”; Eminem, “Rain Man”; The Slits, “Typical Girls”

Optional: Faramerz Dabhoiwala, Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution

Homework: Group 5 writes a response, Group 6 writes a discussion question; Group 7 replies to a discussion question; Group 8 brings in optional reading quotation (remaining groups serve as respondents in class)

Thu Jan 23

Context: Introduction to The New Sexuality Studies

Theory: Anne Fausto-Sterling, “Dueling Dualisms” (2000)

Context: Susan Stryker, “An Introduction to Transgender” (2008)

Literature: Henry Fielding, “Female Husband”

Optional: Thomas Lacquer, Making Sex

Homework: Group 2 writes a response, Group 3 writes a discussion question; Group 4 replies to a discussion question; Group 1 brings in optional reading quotation (remaining groups serve as respondents in class)

 

Tue Jan 28

Theory: Judith Butler, Introduction to Undoing Gender

Literature: Begin Marquis de Sade, Philosophy of the Boudoir (through the fifth dialogue)

Optional: Georges Bataille, “Use Value of D. A. F. de Sade”

Homework: Group 6 writes a response, Group 7 writes a discussion question; Group 8 replies to a discussion question; 33 brings in optional reading quotation (remaining groups serve as respondents in class)

Thu Jan 30

Theory: Catherine MacKinnon, “Difference and Dominance” (1984)

Literature: Finish Marquis de Sade, Philosophy of the Boudoir (sixth dialogue to end)

Tue Feb 4

Theory: Angela Carter, Sadean Woman

Literature: Begin John Cleland, Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure), pg. 1-45

Optional: Barbara Creed, “Horror and the Monstrous-Feminine”

Homework: Group 3 writes a response, Group 4 writes a discussion question; Group 1 replies to a discussion question; Group 2 brings in optional reading quotation (remaining groups serve as respondents in class)

Thu Feb 6

Context: Gary Gautier, Introduction to Fanny Hill

Literature: Begin John Cleland, Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure), pg. 46-86

Tue Feb 11

Theory: Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (excerpt)

Literature: Continue Cleland, Fanny Hill, pg. 87-152

Optional: Ruth Perry, “Colonizing the Breast”

Homework: Group 7 writes a response, Group 8 writes a discussion question; Group 5 replies to a discussion question; Group 6 brings in optional reading quotation (remaining groups serve as respondents in class)

Thu Feb 13

Theory: Felicity Nussbaum, “Prostitution, Body Parts, & Sexual Geography”

Literature: Finish Cleland, Fanny Hill, pg. 153-174, 194-213

Tue Feb 18

Section One Review

Thu Feb 20

Examination #1 (self-designed essay exam question tying together section materials)

Feb 25–27

No Class: Winter Break


 

Section Two: Sexuality and Modernity

Tue Mar 4

Theory: Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror (1980)

Literature: Begin Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray , pg 1-47

Homework: Begin Preparing for your research paper (see guidelines in the course shell)

Thu Mar 6

Context: “Queer Gothic”

Literature: Continue Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray, pg 48-95

Tue Mar 11

Theory: Lee Edelman, No Future (2004)

Literature: Continue Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray, pg 96-143

Optional: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Terrorism and Homosexual Panic”

Homework: Group 4 writes a response, Group 1 writes a discussion question; Group 2 replies to a discussion question; Group 3 brings in optional reading quotation (remaining groups serve as respondents in class)

Thu Mar 13

Theory: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet(1990)

Literature: Finish Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray, pg 144-89

Tue Mar 18

Theory: Michael S. Kimmel, “Masculinity as Homophobia”

Literature: Begin Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire, to Scene 7

Optional: Homi Bhabha, “Are You a Man or a Mouse?”

Homework: Group 8 writes a response, Group 5 writes a discussion question; Group 6 replies to a discussion question; Group 7 brings in optional reading quotation (remaining groups serve as respondents in class)

Thu Mar 20

Theory: Lauren Berlant, “Starved”

Literature: Finish Williams, Streetcar Named Desire , Scenes 8-11

Recommended Artwork: Streetcar Named Desire, dir. by Elia Kazan (1951)

Tue Mar 25

No Class (International Narrative Conference)

Thu Mar 27

Theory: Franz Fanon, “Fact of Blackness”(1952)

Literature: James Baldwin, “Going to Meet the Man”

Homework: Groups 5-6 write a discussion question; Groups 7-8 replies to a discussion question (remaining groups serve as respondents)

Tue Apr 1

Theory: José Muñoz, Disidentifications (1999)

Literature: Carol Queen, “Leather Daddy and the Femme”

Homework: Groups 1-2 write a discussion question; Groups 3-4 replies to a discussion question (remaining groups serve as respondents)

Thu Apr 3

Theory: Luce Irigaray, This Sex Which Is Not One (1977)

Literature: Begin Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body, pg 1-65

Homework: Groups 7-8 write a discussion question; Groups 5-6 replies to a discussion question (remaining groups serve as respondents)

Tue Apr 8

Theory: Susan Lanser, “Sexing the Narrative”

Literature: Continue Winterson, Written on the Body, pg 66-130

Homework: Groups 3-4 write a discussion question; Groups 1-2 replies to a discussion question (remaining groups serve as respondents)

Thu Apr 10

Theory: Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner, “Sex in Public”

Literature: Finish Winterson, Written on the Body, pg 131-192

Tue Apr 15

Section Two Review

Thu Apr 17

Examination #2 (self-designed essay exam question tying together section materials)

Tue Apr. 22

Research Paper Presentations (11:30 - 1:00)