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Comparative Cross-Dressing

ENGL 346.401
instructor(s):
TR 1:30-3

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the basic materials and methods of theatre history and historiography, as applied to a particular topic, organized around a specific period, national group, or aesthetic issue.  This year's topic is Comparative Cross-Dressing.  We will examine several periods of theatrical activity in which men regularly appeared as women or women as men.  These include the ancient Greek theatre; Early-Modern English stage (the theatre of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries), in which women's roles were portrayed by boy actors, in contrast with the English Restoration stage, where women's roles were played by actresses; traditional Japanese No and Kabuki theatres; cross-dressed and castrati roles in eighteenth-century opera; various theatrical cross-dressing traditions in nineteenth-century England (including Christmas Pantomime and music hall); and, in the twentieth century, Japanese Takarazuka, contemporary drag, and American collegiate cross-dressed comedy revue troupes.