English | Introduction to Feminist Critical Studies
L663 | 22348 | Gubar

2:30p – 4:00p TR

This survey opens with classic texts in the history of feminism:
Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own and her Three Guineas, excerpts
from Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, excerpts from Kate
Millett's Sexual Politics, and often cited essays by Audre Lorde,
Tillie Olsen, Alice Walker, and Adrienne Rich.  Then we will read a
cluster of feminist scholars attempting to redefine literary history
and the canon:  Judith Fetterley, Nina Baym, Jane Tompkins, Lillian
Robinson, Annette Kolodny, Elaine Showalter, Barbara Christian,
Martha Vicinus, and Norma Alarcón.

With a little help from historians of post-structuralism (like Terry
Eagleton and Diane Elam), we will look at the work of influential
feminist thinkers in psychology and anthropology like Nancy Chodorow
and Gayle Rubin as well as a few French theorists:  Hélène Cixous
and Luce Irigaray, especially.  Then we will approach the impact of
post-structuralism on American feminism through texts by Judith
Butler, Joan Scott, Donna Haraway, and Diana Fuss.

In the last weeks of the course, we will focus on recent scholarship
on gender in critical race, sexuality, and trauma studies.  Gender
and race:  we will read often anthologized essays by Hortense
Spillers, Gayatri Spivak, Barbara Johnson, Toni Morrison, and
Chandra Mohanty.  Gender and sexuality:  we will discuss excerpts
from Anna Marie Jagose's Queer Theory and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's
Epistemology of the Closet.  Gender and trauma:  we will explore
influential articles by Shoshana Felman, Cathy Caruth, Marianne
Hirsch, Patricia Yaeger, and Amy Hungerford.

As of yet, there is no adequate anthology of these texts so we will
frequently rely on electronic reserve.  Throughout the semester, we
will be working toward envisioning what principles should shape
future anthologies of feminist theory and criticism.

Students will be asked to produce two one-page response statements
to help generate discussion.  These should be made available on
Oncourse twenty-four hours before the pertinent class session.
There are also two longer required essays, each approximately 10-12
pages long.  In the first paper, students will be asked to consider
the pre-history of feminist criticism and theory by dealing with a
figure prominent before the nineteen seventies.  From Maria
Edgeworth and Margaret Fuller to Anna Jamison, Anna Julia Cooper,
Dorothy Richardson, Rebecca West, Zora Neale Hurston, H.D., Sylvia
Townsend Warner, and Dorothy Sayers, British and North American
literary women have produced essays about gender and creativity that
could serve as the basis for the first assignment.   In the second
paper, students will be encouraged to examine one significant aspect
of the impact of feminist theory and criticism on their future area
of expertise.