Ancient Mediterranean World

Ancient Mediterranean World

History of Sexualities/Literature and Sexual Identity/Interpreting the Queer
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Leslie Kurke
12:00-1:00 p.m.
101 Moffitt

This course will study sexuality and gender in two very different historical periods--ancient Greece and 19th-century Europe. Sexuality will be defined as including sexual acts (e.g., sodomy, pederasty, masturbation); sexual identities (e.g., erastes and eromenos); and sexual systems (e.g., kinship structures, subcultures, political hierarchies). Readings and lectures will focus on situating queer sexualities relative to dominant organizations of sex and gender. Topics will include Greek democracy and male homosexuality; the biology of sexual difference; the politics of sodomy; “romantic” friendship between women and men; and the emergence of strictly defined homosexual and heterosexual identities. We will read literary texts along with historical documents and critical essays to constitute a comparative analysis of ancient Greek and 19th-century European systems of gender and sexuality.  

Authors to be read include Hesiod, Sappho, Aeschylus, Plato, Wilde, Freud, and Foucault. 

There will be two papers and a final exam. There will also be required weekly reading questions that will count towards your final grade.  

NOTE: Sections for this course will be constituted manually, and will start in the third week of the semester. Once sections start, you will have EITHER lecture OR section on the Friday of each week. Of the four sections, TWO will meet F 12-1 (and two F 1-2), so as long as you can make the lecture time, you should be able to make the section time.