I'm not teaching this semester, but my book list for next semester is due exceedingly soon. I think it'll have to be one of those late-nite activities, since looking up ISBNs doesn't take a lot of brain. ("Night," when preceded by "late-," is properly spelled "nite." True facts.)
I've done a poor job of articulating the course's interest and importance of late, mostly because I haven't been in the teaching zone, but it's about gender and the discourses of automatism circa 1900, and is in some degree related to the talk I'll be giving at MSA next month on Stein and repetition. Repetition structures normality and (as a "compulsion") pathology, habit and obsession; it's evidence of mechanicity and, in its ability to provoke laughter, also a site of evidence of the human. Butler brilliantly makes repetition the scene of gender.
We'll read/watch some of the classic Lady Robots texts of the Gilded Age and early C20—L'Ève future, Metropolis, "In the Cage," "Melanctha." We'll also look at some contemporary nonfiction theories of mechanicity and gender, like Otto Weininger's theory of variability, the biometrics of Lombroso and Berthillon, and of course Freud, contextualizing them in more recent work by Haraway, Oreskes, Kittler, Hayles, and Fleissner. I had sort of a lovely (that is, entertaining) Twitter conversation with Chris Forster, Jentery Sayers, and Stephen Ross (probably among others) a week or two ago about modernist humor and the role of gender in Michael North's Machine-Age Comedy, which is one of the problems I intend for the class to investigate.
Roughly, the course will use the rubric of "automatism" to look at female labor; the gendering of humor; affect and the human; objectivity and knowledge; psychopathology c. 1900; and biological determinisms.
Needless to say, I'm still in that grandiose, overly ambitious phase of syllabus-planning. I haven't done all the necessary cutting down, which will have to happen soon. I'm also contemplating some sort of introspective exercise (observing one's repetitions, or the like) that I haven't quite worked out yet. Suggestions welcome.