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ENGL458B Sexualities and Life Writing

Selected writings by women after 1800.

With rooms/spaces of their own, women have scripted literatures of their own, negotiating gendered relationships to language, power, their bodies, families, religions, and the state that patriarchal, heteronormative proscriptions have sought to control. Attending to important differences of race, class, sexuality, gender, physical ability, and nationality, this course begins by asking how the category “woman” is understood. From Harriet Tubman to Toni Morrison to Janet Mock, from Emily Dickinson to Janis Joplin to Susan Stryker (these are examples of writers likely to be included), we will examine ways in which very different women writers script identity, conditions of being, passion, desire, genders, and sexualities in a variety of genres, including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, memoir, criticism and theory, and film. Besides our readings, course work requires keeping a weekly journal in online discussions, an oral presentation, two short papers, and a longer paper and/or digital media production. The course is designed to help students develop close reading skills and formulate analyses of works in a variety of media. Of particular interest will be how writings, readings, and receptions queer and are queered by gender and sexual identities.

0101 - Martha Nell Smith

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