ENGLISH 398 - Junior Seminar in English Studies
Winter 2023, Section 002 - The Sexual Life of Colonialism and Empire
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This course will explore the place of sexuality in producing distinctions between the “civilized” and “savage” within the histories and fictions of colonialism and empire (primarily, though not exclusively, of the British and French variants). Ranging from the 19th century to the present across South Asia, West Asia, and North Africa, we will ask how colonial administrators, soldiers, doctors, anthropologists, and writers mobilized sexuality as a form of power by imagining political domination and insurrection in sexual terms. How, for example, did debates about sadomasochism or sodomy come to figure political structures of slavery and colonial servitude? Which kinds of sexual and familial relations were understood as necessary to empire-building, and which kinds were “deviant,” “queer,” or “subversive”? How did inter-racial unions between colonizer and colonized threaten as well as stabilize imperial rule? How did various anti-colonial nationalist movements resist or further colonial sexual imaginaries? Exploring these questions by reading colonial and anti-colonial fictions, memoirs, erotic manuals, and travelogues, as well as by watching documentaries and narrative cinema, we will understand how the study of intimacies between colonizer and colonized contributes to our historical understanding of race, community, and nationhood as well as that of global queer politics now.

Course Requirements:

Students will be introduced to various research methods in cultural studies and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies by undertaking 4 short low-stakes research exercises over the semester which will enable a final project: a scholarly essay of 10 -15 pages or an equivalent creative project. The course is intended for juniors and seniors. Sophomores should seek the instructor’s permission to enroll.

Intended Audience:

Upper-level students in Women's and Gender Studies and English.


ENGLISH 398 - Junior Seminar in English Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
002 (SEM)
 In Person
1Jr or Sr
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
Note: This course is reserved for students with junior or senior status. First and second year students with background in the subject may email the instructor for permission to enroll.
003 (SEM)
 In Person
W 2:00PM - 5:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for ENGLISH 398.002

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for ENGLISH 398 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)