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ENGL BC3916 Sr. Sem: Gender, Sexuality and the American Stage: Performing the Body Politic. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

(Formerly ENGL BC3998; this course has been renumbered but has not changed in content.) This seminar investigates how American theatre/performance, as read through the lens of gender and sexuality, operates as a cultural force.  Simply put, the U.S. is obsessed with sex; theatre/performance has proven a fertile medium for America’s expression of this obsession. Exploring texts from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries, we will consider how performance intersects with the nation state’s desire to regulate how we “practice” gender both publicly and behind closed doors. How is performance, which always includes gendered/raced/classed/sexualized bodies, situated in relationship to ideas of a national body politic?  How does the American nation state hinge on how gender and sexuality are performed both on-stage and off?  Authors include John Winthrop, Dion Boucicualt, Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, David Henry Hwang, Michel Foucault, Jose Muñoz, Jill Dolan, Suzan-Lori Parks, Holly Hughes, Tony Kushner, Lisa Kron, Margaret Cho and performance groups Split Britches, Five Lesbian Brothers, Pomo Afro Homos.