Research in Gender and Sexuality (Post-1800)

L752/C701 — Fall 2021

Rebekah Sheldon
Days and Times
12:30p - 3:30p M (4 CR.)
Course Description

AUTHORIZIATION REQUIRED. After the designated pre-enrollment period, English department graduate students and outside minors please email All other students please contact the instructor first for permission.

Topic: Recent Developments in LGBTQ Studies: Sex Without Sexuality

This course asks what might become of sex without sexuality. From its psychoanalytic and feminist inheritances, queer theory offered the crucial thought that the normative categories of gender and sexuality are mutually determining. While sex and gender nonconformity are nothing new, the proliferation of identity formations in the present suggest profound shifts in the matrix that produced binary gender comportment from out of compulsory heterosexuality. Starting from the premise that sexuality names a historically-specific capture of libido, this class will consider what such transformations in gender and sexuality might portend for the thought of sex, considered here as, first, the materiality of the body, and second, the range of affects, pleasures, kinship forms, aesthetics, and modes of subjectivity that might come from the dissolution of sexuality as such. 

Readings will include foundational text in queer theory, feminist and queer science studies, and trans studies. We will read a book a week, possibly including Georges Canguilheim’s The Normal and the Pathological, Michel Foucault’s Care of the Self, Monique Wittig’s The Straight Mind, Jonathan Ned Katz’s The Invention of Heterosexuality, Samuel R. Delany’s Times Square RedTimes Square Blue, Michael Warner’s The Trouble with Normal, Jack Halberstam’s Female Masculinity, Judith Butler’s Subjects of Desire, Gayle Saloman’s Assuming a Body, Siobhann Somerville’s Queering the Color Line, Annemarie Jagose’s Orgasmology, Paul B. Preciado’s Testo Junkie, Lee Edelman and Lauren Berlant’s Sex, or the Unbearable, Jules Gill-Peterson’s Histories of the Transgender Child, Sadiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Amber Musser’s Brown Jouissance, Jean-Luc Nancy and Irving Goh’s The Deconstruction of Sex, and several issues of GLQTSQ, and differences

Assessment will be based on participation, informal writing, and a formal essay or presentation in a theoretical, archival, or interpretive mode. Depending on the state of the pandemic, students will be encouraged to undertake archival research at the Kinsey, which I will help to facilitate.

Interested in this course?

The full details of this course are available on the Office of the Registrar website.

See complete course details