ENGL 729-01: Queer Memoir: Theory & Practice

Section Description:

Is memoir always already queer? Are queers always already in a state of remembering/memorializing? How do historically bound, ever-changing notions of lgbtq identity and liberation alter what is remembered and how it is narrativized? In this practicum, we will examine 20th and 21st-century texts that collide queerness with memoir—or queer the very notion of memoir, memory, and a stable subject. The genre- and gender-shredding capacities of queer memoir will be interrogated, particularly as they are inflected by race, place, gender, sexuality, the state, and more. We will examine the relationship between the literary genre of the memoir and the radical practice of queer self-fashioning. The range of works examined will be broad, including those not usually read as either properly memoir or queer to complicate what we talk about when we talk about queer memoir. The literary world’s memoirophobia and its intimate (possible self-same!) relationship to homophobia will be interrogated as we study both the ideas/memoirs of others, and create/interrogate our own. We will explore in a hands-on fashion the relationship between literary theory and practice, and investigate (and create!) works that blur the boundaries between them. Questions of form will be central to our inquiry as we explore the politics and poetics of the anti-genre of queer memoir. Expect to write weekly and rigorously.