T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 91788
posted 04-23-2012 06:39 PM
I was just assigned an English seminar project. The topic is the analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet through queer theory.
Does anyone have ideas as to reputable resources about queer theory that I can look into?
Member # 29754
posted 04-24-2012 12:36 PM
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's
Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire will be an invaluable resource, since it's all about Queer readings of English lit. and was the first work to codify the idea of homosociality, which bears a lot of relevance to Shakespeare's work. I took a class on Shakespeare that used a Queer lens to interrogate the way roles/identity function; it's important to keep in mind that the plays were written to be performed and not really intended for print publication at all - this adds another layer of self-conscious performance to the way identity is constructed, and it's important to consider what is played straight, what's given a wink and a nod, and what blatantly breaks the fourth wall. Our professor had also just read Judith Butler's Gender Trouble, which influenced the way the class went. It's often cited as the founding work of Queer Theory, so if you haven't read it, you might want to (it's dense as hell and requires familiarity with critical theory and postmodern/post-structuralist analytical jargon, and it's really good). I'll try to remember to dig up my readers for my Queer Theory course and that Shakespeare course to look for other articles or books that might be helpful. Also, you should definitely see the play in production, on stage if possible, or on film/DVD if not. In case you're completely unfamiliar with Queer Theory (assigning an analysis project using a particular theoretical lens without discussing that lens strikes me as irresponsible on the part of your instructor if it's the case, but one can never be sure), the basic premise is to interrogate essentialized or naturalized roles/identities/performativities. These identities are dislocated from individuals and instead posited as functions of intersecting and overlapping cultural discourses, with the loci of action or expression of the discourses positioned at individuals. In a circular process of cultural construction, discourse creates individuals and individuals create discourse.
Member # 25425
posted 04-24-2012 02:24 PM
Nikki Sullivan's Critical Introduction to Queer Theory is an awesome basic text, if you are looking for a place to get started. Another good basic intro is Queer Theory, Gender Theory by Rikki Wilchins.
[ 04-24-2012, 02:25 PM: Message edited by: September ]
Member # 91788
posted 04-24-2012 02:56 PM
Thanks a lot! I will take a look at those resources for sure.
Wish me luck! [ 04-24-2012, 02:58 PM: Message edited by: SansNom ]