Gender, Power, and Politics

Gender, Power, and Politics on the Stage
In this course we will explore the construction of gender in modern and pre-modern culture primarily through an analysis of the theatrical embodiment of gender. We will read both early modern and contemporary theoretical accounts of gender as a performance, using Judith Butler's conception of performativity as a touchstone for our investigation. Beginning with such critical theatrical issues as the use of boy actors on the early modern English stage, the representation of specifically "female" disorders (e.g., "suffocation" or hysteria) in both medical and dramatic texts, the scapegoating of powerful female figures as witches, and the treatment of same-sex eroticism in Cavendish's early lesbian drama, we will consider how some of these issues reappear in contemporary plays, including for instance David Hwang's M Butterfly. The class will also explore the transgender themes in playwrights such as Doug Wright and Michel Marc-Bouchard. We will play close attention to other cultural products that shed light on these dramatic representations of gender, including medical texts, betrothal and marriage law, sumptuary codes, contemporary films, and contemporary marketing products that highlight the performative nature of gender. (This course satisfies the ENAM seminar requirement; this course meets the major requirement for WAGS 0400 for 2010-2011 only).
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ENAM 0422

All Sections in Spring 2011

Spring 2011

ENAM0422A-S11 Lecture (Wells)