English 210Q. Queer/Medieval

Instructor: Anna Wilson
Thursday, 9:45-11:45am | Location: Barker 269
Course site

The / in this course title can suggest a slippage or interchangeability; opposition and polarization; or erotic or romantic friction. This course functions as an introduction to queer theory as an intellectual tool with which to read texts far removed from the political, cultural, and social discourses from which queer theory emerged. We will ask: what can queer theory offer readers of medieval literature in its explorations of gender, sexuality, race, power, narrative, trauma, and time? We will read a range of queer theorists from foundational works to new thinkers, including but not limited to Judith Butler, C. Riley Snorton, Lee Edelman, Eve Sedgwick, José Esteban Muñoz, and Carolyn Dinshaw, alongside a selection of medieval texts from the European middle ages (roughly 500-1500). Texts will be in modern English translation or in Middle English (no experience in Middle English is required, the class will include additional support for those who have not read Middle English before). Medieval texts may include Aelred of Rievaulx’s Rule of Life for a Recluse, The Book of Margery Kempe, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the poems of Baudri of Bourgeuil and other twelfth century Latin poets of the Loire school, the plays of Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, The King of Tars, and Roman de Silence.