This seminar will look at a selection of the manifold contributions by female writers to North American Literatures from colonial times to the present. Students will be introduced to select readings from feminist theory and Gender Studies to critically engage with our corpus of texts and analyze how the perception of female authors and their texts changed over time and especially how the representations of gender within the texts developed. We will trace how concepts like “Puritan good wife,” “Republican motherhood,” “true womanhood” or “new woman” developed and were later questioned and how gender roles were re-negotiated over time. Students will be provided with historical contexts for the individual texts as well as select theoretical readings to help foster our critical discussions. Our readings will include a few poems from your reading list plus a selection of short stories like Sarah Orne Jewett’s “A White Heron,” Charlotte P. Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Alice Walker’s “Laurel,” as well as Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening.
The shorter primary texts and a selection of secondary material will be made available.
You need to have access to Kate Chopin’s novel, if possible in this edition:
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Penguin Books, 2018. EAN: 9780241341421.
Active participation, including reading and writing assignments, participation in class discussion, a short presentation and a seminar paper.