Feminist & Queer in Primetime

What can Keeping Up With the Kardashians tell us about the concept of gender? How does HBO’s Looking embrace the legacy of the AIDS crisis or the widely popular Modern Family speak to the issue of gay marriage? Such questions animate this course. In this class, we will read formative works in feminist and queer theory as we explore how television, as a highly visible and influential medium, converses with, clarifies or complicates the important concepts found therein. In seeking to define and draw connections between the thereotical texts and television shows, we will also read shorter, contemporary essays that deal directly with the intersections between theory and popular culture. Authors and shows include: Judith Butler, Eve Sedgwick, Audre Lorde, and Lee Edelman as well as The Bachelor, Girls, and Transparent.

Check out the blog my students produced as one of their assignments in the link below!


Introduction to Poetry   
(For Non-Majors)

The postmodern poet Frank O’Hara suggests in his mock manifesto “Personism” that “The poem is at last between two persons instead of two pages.” Taking the point seriously, O’Hara asks us to re-evaluate our understanding of what poetry may be. Rather than view the poem as a static entity on a page or in a book, the poem, in O’Hara’s estimation, takes on new life as conversation between persons. Following O’Hara’s charge, this course asks students view poetry as a dynamic literary mode, one that not only demands its readers' attention but also invites them into the space of the work.

Critical close reading and class discussion of assigned poems drive this class. Broadly, the course aims to enhance your ability not only to analyze and write about poetry, but also to appreciate the aspects of the form that make it unique. We will therefore focus on how and why poets use literary devices such as allusion and metaphor to convey their messages. We will read works from disparate eras and theoretical schools, tracing the movement of poetry alongside its evolving aesthetic and cultural contextsfrom the early modern period to the contemporary era.

Frank O'Hara, "In Memory of My Feelings" (Section 5) (Photography of manuscript from Tiber Press Archives, Harvard University)

Frank O'Hara, "In Memory of My Feelings" (Section 5)
(Photography of manuscript from Tiber Press Archives, Harvard University)