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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description


Instructor(s): Mason Stokes, English

An exploration of the centrality of writing to the creation, promulgation, and enforcement of human sexualities. We will focus on the written word as a place where an otherwise amorphous network of desires gets clarified and organized, deployed and policed. From Plain Talks on Avoided Subjects, a popular nineteenth-century guidebook for the young, to The Flame and the Flower, a Harlequin romance from the early 1970s, we will explore the ways in which sex becomes text. We will position these sometimes-bizarre popular texts in the context of medical, scientific, and philosophic discourses, including the work of Freud, Foucault, and Kinsey, in an attempt to understand the relation between the written word and the ways in which we live and imagine human sexual identity. 

Course Offered: