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Welcome

This is the website for the English 251 course, Queer Melancholia, taught by Jacob Aplaca at Hunter College, CUNY. Contact information for the Fall 2019 semester is available under the “Syllabus” tab above.

About the Course

In our contemporary moment, public discourses about queer life and history often demand an unrelenting positivity or optimism (e.g. LGBTQ+ Pride, It Gets Better, etc.). While there are certainly good reasons to advance the project of imagining a brighter, more inclusive future, it seems equally important to resist the impulse to minimize or ignore the traumas of the past, many of which still haunt queer individuals and communities today. This course explores a range of literary works through the lenses of queerness, melancholia, and other negative affects—depression, grief, shame—in order to consider what happens when we refuse to turn away from the darker stories, histories, and emotions of queer life. Broad questions we will consider include: How might the refusal to “get over” personal and/or historical trauma provide avenues for meaningful critical, creative, and political work? How might an embrace of melancholia and other “negative” emotions help to foster a sense of queer belonging? What do we gain by encountering stories in which happiness is ultimately refused or made unavailable?