English 186 - Winter, 2022

Literature, Sexuality & Gender

Class Information

Instructor: Badley, Chip
CRN: 44416
Time: MWF 9:00-9:50
Location: 118 Olson
GE Areas: Writing Experience


This course explores the intersections among literature, sexuality, and gender from the 1900s until today. We'll focus on literature that contributes to the emergence of modern sexual orientations and gender identities. The class will move chronologically: first, we will study the so-called "invention of the homosexual" as depicted in modernist literature such as E. M. Forster's Maurice (1913-14) and Richard Bruce Nugent's "Smoke, Lilies and Jade" (1926) before analyzing the rise of heteronormativity in Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt (1952). Then, we will examine second-wave feminism, radical/Marxist feminism, and post-Stonewall queer culture as narrated by Valerie Solanas' SCUM Manifesto (1967), Silvia Federici's "Wages Against Housework" (1974), and the essays and poetry of Audre Lorde. We will explore how AIDS and the criminalization of queer sex transformed urban space as rendered by Samuel Delany's Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (1999). Finally, we will engage two contemporary accounts of queer life, pain, and hope: Billy-Ray Belcourt's A History of My Brief Body (2020) and Torrey Peters' Detransition, Baby (2021). Students can expect to learn more about literary movements (modernism, postmodernism, contemporary fiction), genres (the novel, the manifesto, the sketch, the memoir, the poem), as well as a broader understanding as to how literature chronicles sexuality and gender. Drawing upon scholarship in feminism, the history of sexuality, and queer theory, we will consider topics including anti-racism, disability studies, heteronormativity, intersectionality, queer-of-color critique, settler colonialism, and trans studies.


Maurice, E. M. Forster
The Price of Salt , Patricia Highsmith
The Selected Works of Audre Lorde , Audre Lorde
Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, Samuel Delany
A History of My Brief Body , Billy-Ray Belcourt
Detransition, Baby , Torrey Peters