COLT 46.03 Writing Kinship Spring 2015

What does it mean to be part of a family? Why do kinship bonds
continue to structure the nature of our everyday lives? This course
will explore the intersections of literary and familial structures in
social and psychological contexts. It will explore what it means to be
part of a family (or not) by focusing on literature and film from diverse
literary traditions, and from multiple points of view. We will begin by
examining patriarchal hegemony and its discontents through a
reading of Emile Zola’s naturalist depiction of a family falling into
ruin. We will then ask how gender and race alter our perceptions of
family and intimacy through an analysis of work by Sandra Cisneros.
Next, we will look at how the family is rewritten in queer terms
through analysis of Jenny Livingston’s 1990’s documentary on the
culture of drag. Finally, we will return to a depiction of patriarchy but
one that is haunted by a colonial past in the work of Gabriel García
Márquez. Our readings will be guided by the theoretical framework of
Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, as we consider the intense link
between kinship, sexuality, authorship, and identity.