'Shakespeare's Sex,' a lecture by Prof. Valerie Traub

Date: Monday, February 18, 2013
Time: 05:00 PM
Location: 301 Morgan Hall
Cost: Free 

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On Monday, February 18 at 5 p.m. in 301 Morgan Hall, Professor Valerie Traub of the University of Michigan will offer a lecture entitled, "Shakespeare's Sex." Her lecture is sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies in the department of English.

In her lecture, and in a paper of the same title, Traub asks the question, "When did Shakespeare become gay? Or homosexual? Or bisexual?" she explains that she does not mean at what point in his physical and psychic development--in his mother's womb, during grammar school, at the sight of a beautiful nobleman--did he first find himself exploring through versification the erotic attractions of young men or, conversely, exploring the potential of poetic verse through the muse of masculine beauty, but rather when did we decide that Shakespeare or his poetic persona was any of those things, and how did we decide it? Traub uses the question of Shakespeare's sex to explore the historicity of sexual knowledge. She explains, "The contingencies by which we come to know Shakespeare's sexuality through readings of his sonnets provides one avenue for ascertaining what it means to know sexuality, not only in the past, but in the present. The question of Shakespeare's sex opens onto questions not only of sexual desire and identity, but of gender, aesthetic form, temporality, historicity, and epistemology."

Traub is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan.She received her PhD and MA in English from the University of Massachusetts and her BA in American Studies and Women's Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. The recipient of numerous fellowships for research and of several awards for outstanding articles and books, Professor Traub is the author of The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England (2002), Desire & Anxiety: Circulations of Sexuality in Shakespearean Drama (1992), and the forthcoming Making Sexual Knowledge: Thinking Sex with the Early Moderns (University of Pennsylvania Press).She has co-edited two volumes, including Gay Shame (2009), and has most recently published "The New (Un)Historicism in Queer Studies" in PMLA (January 2013).

Contact Info: Nic Helms,

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