Taught in English
Although the German language has struggled with disentangling the concepts of sex and gender, German culture has long allowed – and sometimes even celebrated – remarkably nuanced performances of sexuality and gender on the stage, the screen, and in real life. Beginning with the linguistic roots of German’s three grammatical genders and the productive dilemma of having one word to mean both “sex” and “gender,” the course will then ask students to consider the concepts of performativity and performance anew by analyzing them in the context of twentieth-century German culture. Alongside works by canonical German playwrights like Brecht, Wedekind, and Müller, students will engage with the lesbian cult classic Girls in Uniform, the celebrated androgyny of Marlene Dietrich in Morocco, and the genderqueerness of East Germany’s most famous drag queen in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. By not only viewing and reading, but also staging some of these works in the classroom, students will be encouraged to explore the full meaning of performing, embodying, and enacting sex and gender. Satisfies a major requirement for Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Satisfies the Liberal Studies distribution requirement.