English | Women and Literature
L207 | 1875 | Hesford


1:00p-2:15p TR (30) 3 cr.

This course will focus on five prominent themes in women's
literature: 1) the politics of reproduction; 2) the art of illness/illness
as art; 3) violence toward women and women's resistance;
4) postmemory: captivity and war across generations; and
5) performing gender. We will read short stories, novels, and
poetry from the early 19th century to the present that take as their
subject gender, race, social class and the politics of women's
health, motherhood, reproduction technology, interpersonal
violence, historical trauma, sexual identity, and feminism. Our
project will be to track how particular historical moments,
conventions of genre, and different audiences (e.g., middle-class
women, abolitionists, temperance reformers, feminists) shape
women's writing. We will employ a case-study approach to each
theme and look at literary and visual representations as well as
related critical, historical, and sociological interpretations.

Class format will be primarily discussion and small group work
(e.g., writing workshops, a small group presentation). In addition,
there will be 2 lectures for each thematic cluster. Course
requirements will include weekly reading responses, one critical
essay (5-7 pages to be drafted and revised), a book report (posted
on a class web-site), and a final essay exam.

Reading List (tentative):
Margaret Atwood, THE HANDMAID'S TALE
Charlotte Brontk, JANE EYRE
Maxine Hong Kingston, THE WOMAN WARRIOR
Susanna Kaysen, GIRL INTERRUPTED
Toni Morrison, THE BLUEST EYE
Edna O'Brien, DOWN BY THE RIVER
Cynthia Ozick, THE SHAWL AND OTHER STORIES
Mary Shelley, FRANKENSTEIN
Virginia Woolf, ORLANDO

Poetry and short fiction by Gloria Anzaldza, Beth Brant, Lydia
Maria Child, Kate Chopin, Sandra Cisneros, Alice Dunbar-Nelson,
Abby Frucht, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Zora Neale Hurston,
Jamaica Kincaid, Caroline Kirkland, Bharati Mukherjee, Sharon
Olds, Alice Walker, and Hisaye Yamamoto.

Films include A QUESTION OF SILENCE, MEANS OF GRACE,
MAKING BABIES PERFECT, RAPE STORIES, DIALOGUES
WITH MADWOMEN, and HISTORY AND MEMORY.