What makes a person “hysterical”? The word hysteria derives from the Greek hustera (“uterus”). The ancient Greeks believed that the uterus was an animal within an animal, to be blamed for any disease or disturbance in a woman’s body or psyche. In modern times, especially after Sigmund Freud, hysteria came to signify emotional excess or any inexplicable behavior, particularly in women. Historically, then, hysteria has always been a gendered concept. In this course, we will ask how and why the uterus plays such a large part in the Western imagination when it comes to women’s psychology and physiognomy, and what role it plays historically in reaffirming or resisting the ancient Greek belief that women are irrational beings. Alongside our transhistorical exploration of literature and film, we will look at medical history for evolving discussions of the emotional, physical, and psychological conflicts of women (cis and trans). We will also investigate recent pop culture phenomena: what do Beatlemania, Bieber Fever, and the screaming Directioners have to do with hysteria? Class taught in ENGLISH; this is not a French class.