This course engages with a diverse selection of fiction, prose and poetry authored by, and focussed on, women. We examine a range of theoretical perspectives within feminism and delve into vital social, political and cultural issues that concern women characters as well as captivate women writers. We explore the suppression of female autonomy and the recognition of women’s alternate viewpoints. Running through the course will be the motif of ‘awakenings’: we will consider how women writers have articulated their experiences in working, partnering, advocating, parenting, changing and grieving. We will also discuss elements of excellent critical writing.
This course will foster development in the following areas:
- general knowledge of feminist critical theory in the study of literature
- strategies for reading different genres of literature
- skills in composing reflections and essays on literature by women
- understanding of social, political and cultural factors in women’s struggles for equality
The topics covered in readings, lectures, discussions and assignments will include:
- introduction to theories of feminism
- women’s autonomy of thought
- women’s autonomy in relationships
- women’s political, social, financial independence
- women’s activism
- intersectionality in the subjugation of women
The course provides students with a theoretical framework for the critical reading of English-language literary texts by women. The lectures and discussions are designed to illuminate various influences on women’s experiences and to identify the reasons women still seek equality.
This course will consist of a combination of live and/or recorded lectures, as well as discussions in person and/or online. Every student is expected to read the assigned texts, in their entirety, in advance of each week’s class. Both attendance and participation (either in person or online) will constitute part of the final mark.
Final marks are determined through 100% coursework. The course assessments will be divided into the following components; since alterations may occur, please see the course syllabus for specifics.
15% Class participation
15% Reflection on initial readings
30% Mid-term: written short essay responses
10% Outline, with supporting information, for final essay
30% Final essay
Natasha Trethewey, Beyond Katrina (excerpt)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ‘The Headstrong Historian’ from The Thing Around Your Neck
Jane Harrison, Stolen
Selected poems by Emily Dickinson, Carol Ann Duffy and others
Essays by Adrienne Rich, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and others