This seminar will explore the history of sexuality in the West with Shakespeare from a historical and transnational perspective. In thinking sex, sexuality, and sexual acts with Shakespeare and his contemporaries to trace constitutive interlinks between literature, history, and socio-cultural dynamics, weekly discussions will focus on such topics as male homosexuality, lesbianism, sodomy, erotic friendship, crossdressing, transgender, sexualization of the other, prostitution, masochism, fetish, bestiality, and consent. Such discussion will be guided by various contextual foci from the early modern period: revival of classical tropes, translations, global encounters, discoveries and colonial expansions, material history, religious conversions, cartographic knowledge, emergent nationalism, race, and empire. As investigating continuities, ruptures, and crossings between discourses and practices in the past and the present, the seminar will also cover major critical debates in the field of early modern sexuality studies, and the current state of (and future directions in) the history of sexuality studies, queer theory, and trans studies.
A premium will be placed on regular attendance and active participation. Assignments will include presentations, weekly responses, and a final research paper.