Print Version

Effective: Summer 2014

Advisory: Advisory: Demonstrated proficiency in English by placement as determined by score on the English placement test OR through an equivalent placement process OR completion of ESLL 25 & ESLL 249; not open to students with credit in ENGL 5H.
Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Humanities Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture. (48 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Interpret gay and lesbian literary works within the structure of relevant racial, ethnic, gender, class, aesthetic, and cultural contexts.
  • Trace the development and emergence of distinct gay/lesbian social and political cultures in the twentieth century.
Description -
Introduction to the history and development of gay and lesbian literature as a continuous theme in the development of mainstream literary traditions and, more recently, as a separate and distinct literary genre. Readings selected to represent a variety of historical periods and contrasting societal attitudes toward same-sex relationships, ranging from ancient Greek and Roman texts to contemporary American poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fiction prose. Emphasis on the emergence of contemporary gay/lesbian literatures and identities in the United States in the twentieth century within the broader context of on-going class, race, gender, religious, political, and aesthetic debates.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. analyze and compare the development of a wide array of cultural attitudes toward, and representations of, same-sex relationships from ancient Greece to the present.
  2. identify typical themes, strategies, and techniques employed in the literary representation of same-sex relationships.
  3. trace the development and emergence of distinct gay/lesbian social and political cultures in the twentieth century.
  4. interpret gay and lesbian literary works within the structure of relevant racial, ethnic, gender, class, aesthetic, and cultural contexts.
  5. appraise the value, significance, and meaning of contemporary gay and lesbian literary productions.
  6. recognize and apply basic literary terminologies, theories, categories, motifs, and genres appropriate to an introductory college-level discussion of literature.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus, no special facility or equipment needed.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access, ongoing access to computer with email software and capabilities and current internet browser, email address.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Comparative history of literary representations of same-sex relationships
    1. Ancient Greek and Roman cultures, including brief selections from Sappho, Plato, and Ovid
    2. Medieval Christian representations of homosexuality, including brief selections from St. Augustine and Dante
    3. Traditional American cultural attitudes toward homosexuality
  2. Representations of same-sex relationships in the traditional Euro-American literary canon, including brief selections from
    1. Shakespeare's sonnets
    2. Nineteenth century American works by authors such as Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Susan B. Anthony.
    3. Early to mid-twentieth century European authors such as Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Thomas Mann, Marcel Proust, Colette, and Garcia Lorca.
    4. Significant mid-twentieth century American authors such as Tennessee Williams, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Gertrude Stein, and Hilda Doolittle (HD).
  3. Emergence of Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Identity in Contemporary American Culture
    1. 1950's McCarthy era political oppression and resistance.
    2. 1960's Stonewall era resistance
    3. 1970's Gay and Lesbian liberation movements
    4. 1980's to the present: the post-AIDS era
  4. Selected contemporary gay and lesbian literature
    1. Poetry
    2. Non-fiction prose
    3. Fiction
    4. Drama
  5. Perspectives on cultural diversity of gay and lesbian identities and literary representations
    1. Issues of race, gender and ethnicity as central elements of gay and lesbian representation and literary production
    2. Issues of gender and transgender prejudice within and outside of gay and lesbian communities
    3. Contemporary Asian/Pacific Islander literary representations of same-sex relationships
    4. Contemporary Chicano/Latino and Chicana/Latina literary representations of same-sex relationships
    5. Contemporary Native American literary representations of same-sex relationships
    6. Contemporary African American literary representations of same-sex relationships
  6. Relevant literary theories, terminologies, and analytic techniques
    1. Denotative and connotative meaning of words and statements
    2. Structure or development of events, emotions, images, and ideas
    3. Figurative and symbolic language in relation to central theme(s) of the work
    4. Artistic synthesis of literal and figurative details with theme(s)
    5. Historical evolution of genres and styles in appropriate literary, cultural and historical context
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Critical Papers
  2. Class Presentations and Reports
  3. Journals and Portfolios
  4. Midterm examination
  5. Final examination
  6. Class discussion in large-group and small-group formats
Representative Text(s) -
When choosing texts for this course, the instructor may wish to choose from a range of genres: history, literary criticism, poetry, novels, autobiography, short story, drama. The following are examples of texts which may be appropriate to this course:

Drake, Robert. The Gay Canon. New York: Anchor, 1998.
Faderman, Lillian. Chloe Plus Olivia: Lesbian Literature from the Seventeenth Century to the Present. New York: Penguin, 1995.
Fone, Bryne R. S. The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

When taught via Foothill Global Access, supplemental lectures, handouts, tests, and assignments delivered via email.

Disciplines -
Method of Instruction -
Reading literary texts in the gay and lesbian literary canon, lectures on the texts and their historical and social contexts, class discussion regarding those issues and texts, small group projects and presentations, analytical writing projects.
When taught via Foothill Global Access, feedback on tests and assignments delivered via email; class discussion may be delivered by web devices, e.g. chat rooms, listserves, newsgroups.
Lab Content -
Not applicable.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading from representative literary texts as assigned by instructor.
  2. Quizzes on reading comprehension of assigned literary texts.
  3. Individual and small group presentations on the literature and its historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts.
  4. Analytical and reader response journal assignments on readings.
  5. At least one formal literary analysis writing project demonstrating comprehension and critical thinking.