18700 Sexual Violence in America: Theory, Literature, and Activism

This course will consider how a spectrum of sexual violence has been represented, politicized, and theorized in the United States from the 1970s to the present. To get a handle on this vast topic, our archive will be wide-ranging, including legal statutes and court opinions on sexual harassment and pornography; fiction, poetry, and graphic novels that explore the limits of representing sexual trauma; activist discourses in pamphlets and editorials from Take Back the Night to #MeToo; and groundbreaking essays by feminist and queer theorists, especially from critical women of color. How does the meaning of sex and of power shift with different kinds of representation, theory, and activism? How have people developed a language to share experiences of violation and disrupt existing power structures? And how do people begin to imagine and build a different world whether through fiction, law, or institutions? (Theory)

Michael Dango
2018-2019 Winter