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Queer Archives, Aesthetics, Performance

ENGL 280.401
crosslisted as: THAR 281
instructor(s):
W 2-5:00
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

The course focuses on questions of how to represent the queer past, which it approaches from several angles: through training in archival methods and in scholarly debates about historiographical methods (or, in the words of David Halperin, “how to do the history of homosexuality”); through engagement with the work of artists who make archives central to their practice; and through lab-based training that aims to represent encounters with queer history through embodied performance. The course will address both practical and theoretical issues raised by research in LGBT archives, from the problem of the empty archive to the ethics of recovery to the haunting of the present by the past. The course will include project-based work that engages with local and regional archives; short writing assignments; and performance-based work. The course will meet three hours per week but it also requires that students participate in a series of off-campus trips in both Philadelphia and New York City.