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Out of Time: Sexuality, Textuality, & the Queer Temporal Turn - ENG00126M

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Hannah Roche
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

The first two decades of the twenty-first century saw a ‘temporal turn’ in queer studies, with theorists and critics examining queer subjects and texts in relation to linear and circular time. If a ‘straight’ path through life leads from childhood to adolescence to marriage to reproduction to child rearing to retirement to death, do non-reproductive queer lives work against time? If a queer subject has been disowned by their family, forced to leave their country of origin, and written out of history, have they also been excluded from the past? If some queer critics argue that markers of ‘progress’ –  including equal marriage, LGBTQIA+ parenthood, and popular Pride parades – should not be seen as positive steps forward, how do we define, debate, and celebrate queer existence now? 

With a temporal span from the late-Victorian period to the present day, and with a focus on form and genre, this module considers the many ways in which queer texts, writers, and characters have disrupted chronology and drawn attention to the possibilities of queer time.  From the forward-thinking heroines of George Gissing’s The Odd Women (1893) to the reversal of time enacted by Sarah Waters’ The Night Watch (2006), via Gertrude Stein’s continuous present and Frank O’Hara’s insistent now, the module explores progressive and provocative ways of reading queer existence against the clock. 

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module will introduce you to a diverse range of canonical and critically neglected queer texts from the 1890s to the present day. By the end of the module, you will be familiar with ongoing debates around queer temporality and the future of queer theory, and you will have gained a clear sense of the history and genealogy of queer writing. With a focus on form and genre, and a methodology that involves careful close reading along with theoretical and historicist approaches, this module will help you to develop the critical skills needed to excel at MA level and beyond. 

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:
1.    Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with key debates in queer studies, particularly queer temporality and queer normativity.
2.    Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with a range of queer novels, poems, and films, as well as close reading skills.
3.    Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields dealing with the theory and practice of queer writing and queer temporality.
4.    Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.


Task Length % of module mark
4500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

You will hand in an essay of approximately 1,500 words in Week 6 of the Autumn term for the Postgraduate Life in Practice module. The main purpose of the essay is to ensure that the department can identify those students who may require additional assistance with academic writing skills.  Material from this essay may be re-visited in either one of the January essays or the dissertation. It is therefore an early chance to work through material that might be used in assessed work. The title topic of the essay, like the title topic of all assessed work for the degree, is left open to the individual student.


Task Length % of module mark
4500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

  • You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your module tutor, the MA Convenor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours  

Indicative reading

Primary texts may include:


George Gissing, The Odd Women (1893)

Gertrude Stein, Three Lives (1909) and ‘Composition as Explanation’ (1925-6)

E. M. Forster, Maurice (written 1913-14, published 1971)

Radclyffe Hall, ‘Miss Ogilvy Finds Herself’ (1926) and The Well of Loneliness (1928)

Frank O’Hara, Lunch Poems (1964)

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (1970) and Beloved (1987)

David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl (2000), and Tom Hooper (dir.), The Danish Girl (2016)

Sarah Waters, The Night Watch (2006)

Ching In-Chen, recombinant (2019)


Key secondary texts will include:


Benjamin Bateman, The Modernist Art of Queer Survival (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018)

Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004)

Elizabeth Freeman, Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010)

Jack Halberstam, In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives (New York: New York University Press, 2005)

Heather Love, Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007)

Valerie Rohy, Anachronism and Its Others: Sexuality, Race, Temporality (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2009)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.