Universität Wien FIND

123250 AR Literature Course - Literature 1/2 (MA) American/North American & Cultural Studies (2020W)

American Gay Plays, 1968 to the Present

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Note on procedure: This is an online class that consists of synchronous and asynchronous elements. The synchronous (i.e. live) elements will take place at the days/time announced above, so if you register for this class, please make sure you’re actually available (in front of your computer) at these days/time. We will use videochat apps (via moodle) so make sure you have a microphone, headphones, and a camera installed at your computer. You also need a stable (broadband) internet connection.

For a more detailed schedule of all our activities, please see moodle once you’re registered at the beginning of the semester.

Tuesday 06.10. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 13.10. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 20.10. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 27.10. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 03.11. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 10.11. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 17.11. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 24.11. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 01.12. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 15.12. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 12.01. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 19.01. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 26.01. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

In this class we will explore the genre of American “gay plays” written and performed between the late 1960s and the present day. We will look at a select number of plays and trace how these texts have facilitated and problematized the emergence of a particular sexual identity position (gay male) and its complex relationship to a cultural mainstream structured by heteronormativity, homophobia, (neoliberal) capitalism, and the U.S. nation-state. We will ask how American gay plays (and their performances) have negotiated questions of cultural visibility, assimilation, and the boundary between the public and private spheres. We will also ask how these plays have explored questions of selfhood, community, and relationality, and to what extent they are merely “preaching to the converted.” We will put a particular focus on how American gay plays have contributed to LGBTQ* (and especially AIDS-related) political activism, and we will look at how they have been shaped by the mechanics of a commercial theater industry (mostly on and off Broadway). Lastly, we will critically examine the (often unquestioned) whiteness of most of these plays, and the blind spots they at times exhibit on questions of race, gender, class, age, and dis/ability.

Assessment and permitted materials

Regular attendance (max. 2 absences); class participation and minor tasks throughout the semester; playbill handout; portfolio

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Class participation and minor tasks throughout the semester (20%) Playbill handout (20%)
Portfolio (60%)

You need to complete all requirements to complete the course. The overall grading scheme is (1): 100-91%, (2): 90-81%, (3): 80-71%, (4): 70-61%, (5): 60-0%

Examination topics


Reading list

Will be announced in the first session. Most of the readings will be provided on Moodle; expect to buy one or two books for yourselves, though.

Association in the course directory

Studium: UF 344; MA 844; MA 844(2); MA UF 046/507
Code/Modul: UF 4.2.4-323-325; MA5, MA6, MA7; MA 3.1, 3.2; M04A
Lehrinhalt: 12-3250

Last modified: Th 23.03.2023 00:18