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Queer Histories/Queer Cultures


Module description

In this module we will explore:

  • ‘homosexual’, ‘lesbian and gay’, ‘trans’ and ‘queer’ histories in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • our personal, cultural and political investments in such histories
  • the theoretical and methodological issues at stake in pursuing them.

Focusing chiefly on London, we explore key moments, figures and subcultures, and consider the limitations and possibilities of different perspectives and methodological approaches. What happens when we use legal records, or oral histories, or the built environment, or literature, or film to piece together the ‘queer’ past? How might our current understandings of gender and sexual identity distort our vision of that past? What is to be gained by focusing on one city and on the local and the particular? What, conversely, do we miss by approaching queer histories in this way? Most importantly, perhaps, how and to whom do these histories matter: is this a minority project or one which might give us broader insight into British society and culture?