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Unit information: Queer Writing in 2015/16

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Unit name Queer Writing
Unit code ENGL20049
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Andrew Blades
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will introduce students to a range of ‘queer’ writings, including poetry, plays, novels and essays. It will consider the term ‘queer’ and its histories, and explore how it has been theorized by examining its intersections with other literary and social theories. It will ask how far it is possible to read any text ‘queerly’, consider how queer writing deals with questions of influence and canon, and how it might relate to other understandings of human sexuality. It will also locate queer writing in specific historical contexts, such as the World Wars, urbanization, (de)criminalization, and the AIDS epidemic, before considering what lies beyond: has the queer movement in literature achieved its aims, and might we even be ‘post-queer’?

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will have (1) developed a detailed knowledge of different queer literatures; (2) developed a critical understanding of the political, social and cultural contexts of twentieth-century queer writing; (3) acquired an understanding of major critical and theoretical approaches; (4) demonstrated their ability to analyse and compare queer writing from different historical periods and across genres; (5) strengthened their skills in academic writing, argumentation, and evaluation of evidence from primary texts and critical literature.

Teaching Information

Weekly 2 hour seminar

Assessment Information

One short essay of 2000 words (40% weighting) and one longer essay of 3000 words (60% weighting). Both summative elements assess ILOs 1-5.

Reading and References

Thom Gunn, The Man with Night Sweats (London: Faber, 2002)

Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of my Name (London: Pandora, 1996)

Edmund White, A Boy’s Own Story (London: Penguin, 2009)

Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are not the only fruit (London: Vintage, 2009)

Virginia Woolf, Orlando (Oxford: OUP, 2008)

Jeffrey Weeks, Sexuality (London: Routledge, 2009)