Print Version

Effective: Fall 2011

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Honors Institute participant.
Advisory: Advisory: Not open to students with credit in ENGL 5.
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.
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 towards 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 ongoing class, race, gender, religious, political, and aesthetic debates. Honors work challenges students to a greater level of sophisticated scholarship through extensive research and literature reviews, critical essays, and opportunities for scholarly presentation. This honors course offers students an enriching and rigorous environment through learner-centered pedagogy, student-generated discussions, and self-directed projects. Students will also actively engage in in-depth analysis and critical evaluation of literary texts.

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, critical theories, categories, motifs, and genres appropriate to a college-level discussion of literature.
  7. situate a text within a specific historical movement and critical period.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -

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, 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 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. 1950s McCarthy-era political oppression and resistance
    2. 1960s Stonewall era resistance
    3. 1970s gay and lesbian liberation movements
    4. 1980s to the present: the post-AIDS era
  4. Selected contemporary gay and lesbian literature
    1. Poetry
    2. Nonfiction 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 prejudices 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 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 meanings 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
  7. Specific historical and critical contexts
    1. Historical evolution of genres and styles
    2. Structure and themes of various texts

Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Critical research essays
  2. Class presentations and reports
  3. Response papers
  4. Midterm examination
  5. Final examination
  6. Class discussion in large and small groups
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, and drama. The following are examples of texts that may be appropriate to this course:

Drake, Robert. The Gay Canon. New York: Anchor, 1998.
Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2008.
Faderman, Lillian. Chloe Plus Olivia: Lesbian Literature from the Seventeenth Century to the Present. New York: Penguin, 1995.
Fone, Bryne R. The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature. New York: Columbia UP, 2001.

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.
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.