Gender, Sexuality, & Music in the Early Modern Era

This course will provide some introductory insights into some of the many intersections between music and ideas of gender and sexuality during the sixteenth-, seventeenth- and early eighteenth centuries. We will consider late twentieth- and early twenty-first century histories and theories of gender and sexuality, particularly of the periods in question, but also some key ideas that are especially applicable to early modern constructs of the body, selfhood, and gender identity, such as cross-dressing, castration, and forms of desire. We will also consider problems and challenges of performing early modern musical stage works today, and choices made in contemporary productions. The course is open to any graduate student with previous course work on the early modern era OR gender & sexuality studies, in any subject or department. In true seminar style, class meetings will consist of discussion of shared material plus presentations by individual students based on their particular interests within each set of topical parameters. It is hoped that, collectively, we can answer some of the open questions about gender and sexuality of the early modern era by using musical evidence, one of the fields most likely to be overlooked by scholars of the histories of gender and sexuality.