Instructor: Anna Wilson
Day & Time: Wednesday 12:45-2:45pm
The / in this course title can suggest slippage or interchangeability, opposition and polarization, or (in fanfiction tagging conventions) erotic or romantic friction between two entities. This course functions as an introduction to queer theory as an intellectual tool with which to read texts far removed from the modern 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, power, narrative, trauma, and time? Each week we will read a single queer theorist alongside a single medieval text to do a deep dive into both. Theorists include Judith Butler, José Esteban Muñoz, Lee Edelman, Eve Sedgwick, and Carolyn Dinshaw. Texts will be from the European Middle Ages (roughly 500-1500) that think through questions of gender and sexuality, including the plays of Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, the lais of Marie de France, the poetry of Baudri of Bourgueil, Roman de Silence, The Book of Margery Kempe, and Alan of Lille's Plaint of Nature. Readings will be in modern translation or in glossed Middle English; some experience with the latter is recommended but not necessary.