Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

Gay Autobiography



This course has been cancelled for this academic year.

We will read five autobiographical texts and view four films. "Gay autobiography" means an autobiography in which the story of the author's sexual experience and identity is a central concern, not just an autobiography by an author who happens to be gay. Among the films we'll consider is Brokeback Mountain. Our discussions will be directed at three issues: (1) Identity: To what extent do our writers view their sexual orientation as a deep, inalterable, and defining characteristic? (2) Gender: Do these writers link their sexual orientation to "gender deviance"; i.e., effeminacy in men and mannishness in women, or do they argue that sexual orientation and gender style are separate matters? and (3) Solidarity: How much do these writers identify with others who share their sexual situation? What politics follow from their circumstances? Every student will be expected to write a 10-page autobiographical essay. 


Meet the Instructor(s)

Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson

Paul Robinson is the Richard W. Lyman Professor in the Humanities. Since 1967, he has been in the Department of History, where he teaches courses on modern European thought and culture. He received Stanford's Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education. Among his books are The Freudian LeftThe Modernization of SexOpera and IdeasFreud and His Critics; and Gay Lives: Homosexual Autobiography from John Addington Symonds to Paul Monette. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.