COOL CLASSES: “Time After Time: Queer Pasts, Presents, and Futures”

This first-year writing seminar introduces students to the many ways queer lives and theories challenge normative conceptions of linear time.

Class name: “Time After Time: Queer Pasts, Presents, and Futures”

Taught by: Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Elizabeth Blake


Here’s what Blake has to say about her course:

In this class, we explore the many ways queer lives and theories challenge normative conceptions of linear time. We encounter queers feeling backward, growing sideways, and refusing normative futurity as we travel through the centuries with Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, explore the post-apocalyptic world of Torrey Peters’ Infect Your friends and Loved Ones, and locate the classical past within the contemporary poetics of Anne Carson. Along with these literary readings, we delve into queer theory, and think about how the concepts we’re discussing play out in the world around us: in music videos, in television, and in the materials of everyday life. We even take a trip to the thrift stores in Ardmore, and use the objects we find there as a way of exploring Elizabeth Freeman’s theory of “temporal drag.” We read a lot of very dense and difficult texts in this class, and we find ways to have fun with them.

My hope is that students leave the class with a richer sense of what queerness might entail, including both how queer life has been lived and what modes of thought queerness enables. I also hope that the class itself invites an experimental mode of thought; in thinking against conventional ideas of time, we get to discover other possible timelines, including alternate pasts, but perhaps more importantly, other ways of living the present and imagining the future.

I created this class in order to provide first-year students a space to think about queerness as something more than an identity, and to give them a taste of the way queer thought can reframe the traditional academic disciplines. We read and think across a wide variety of academic fields in this class, and I designed the class this way in order to provide students with a space to think queerness right now, as well as a sense of how queer thought could shape their future academic endeavors (and perhaps even recontextualize their intellectual pasts).


See what other courses the Writing Program is offering this semester.

Cool Classes is a recurring series on the Haverblog that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford College experience. 

Photo of Grace Coberly ’21 enacting Elizabeth Freeman’s theory of “temporal drag” at a protest in Chicago by Ainsley Bruton ’21.