Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Comparative Histories of Sexuality

ENGL 538.401
also offered as: COML 558
Wednesday 3-6:00pm

This seminar will be cruising in different locations and periods in search of connected histories of sexuality within a global context. Through an exploration of various queer historical methods and approaches (comparative, contrapuntal, intersectional, interdisciplinary, etc.) to a wide array of materials from literature to performance, biography, photography, film, and pornography in different geographical contexts, this seminar will trace sexuality within the global-historical contexts of imperialism, colonialism, slavery, trade, travels and discovery, cross-cultural encounters, religious conversions, and interracial romance. Our historical focus will mostly be on early modernity to address genealogies of contemporary crossings of sexuality (i.e. over different geographies as well as race, class, religion, immigration) revealing continuities, ruptures, dissonances, and interrelations between discourses and practices in the past and present. Our investigations of comparative methods in queer and history of sexuality studies therefore will include comparisons not only between western and non-western contexts, but also between sexuality and other critical issues such as race, religion, empire, and class. 


This course is tentatively scheduled to be conducted remotely and synchronously on Zoom. Students should be able to attend synchronous sessions on the scheduled class time (W 3-6 pm Philadelphia time). Course requirements and assignments include regular attendance, timely readings of assigned materials, presentations, weekly forum posts, short reflection papers, and a final paper. 


The list of required books to purchase will be posted on Canvas before the semester starts. For now, tentative reading list include work by Ann Laura Stoler, Anne McClintock, Joseph Massad, Walter Andrews and Mehmet Kalpakli, Joseph Boone, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Khaled El-Rouayheb, Anjali Arondekar, Durba Mitra, José Esteban Muñoz, Roderick A. Ferguson, David Eng, Saidia Hartman, Riley Snorton, Martin F. Manalansan IV, Hiram Perez, Eng Beng Lim, Kadji Amin, Amber Musser, Howard Chiang, among others.

fulfills requirements