Love is what it is, and you can’t argue with love, right? ‘Love’ seems to be one of the most important refuges from the complications of our time, where so many other fundamental truths have become contested territory. But if love is what it is, why are whole sectors of our cultural production (romance novels, pop songs, telenovelas, reality tv dating game shows, the wedding industry, etc.) devoted to the obsessive assertion and reaffirmation of the meaning(s) of love?
Looking at cultural products from different periods and media – from Renaissance love poetry to 21st-century pop songs, from Sex and the City to queer romance novels –, we are going to explore the ‘cultural work’ those products do. Taking a historical perspective into account will help us to trace where our contemporary notions of love come from, and a Foucauldian discourse-analytical perspective will bring into focus what we do with ‘love’: How does our culture determine what it is by the way it talks about it? Which hegemonic concepts of family, relationships, gender, marriage, romance, sexuality, and intimacy rest upon our notion of ‘love’? How do representations of love in cultural products contribute to the normalisation and naturalisation of certain relationships and sexualities and the policing or silencing of others?
By engaging with a wide range of cultural products as well as academic texts from sociology, discourse theory, feminist criticism, and queer theory, among others, you will develop an idea for a scholarly project that you will present at a final course conference at the end of term like a proper academic paper (Studienleistung). This is a writing-intensive course, and the development of your ideas into conference papers will be aided by in-class activities and homework assignments.
Zu dieser Veranstaltung existiert ein Lernraum im E-Learning System. Lehrende können dort Materialien zu dieser Lehrveranstaltung bereitstellen: