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Feminist Theory

ENGL 290.401
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

The question of the body in feminist theory remains unsettled. >From debates about Twilight Sleep in the early-20th century, to the natural birth movement beginning in the 1970s, to the feminist sex wars of the last three decades, to theories of post-human reproductive technologies and the pregnant man, feminist thinkers have been troubled by women's actual physical bodies. In this course, we will consider the varying feminist approaches to the body through first, second, and third wave feminisms, with specific regard to sexuality, birth, and motherhood. We will take up the question of how feminist theories of the body relate to activism and social change through a socio-historical approach to literature, film, and theory. Readings may include works by Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Margaret Sanger, Virginia Woolf, Adrienne Rich, Margaret Atwood, Audre Lorde, Ursula K. Le Guin, Angela Davis, and contemporary Gurlesque poets. Possible films include Alien 3, Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale, Live Nude Girls Unite, and Orgasmic Birth.  There will be an oral presentation, a short midterm paper (5-7 pages), and a longer final research paper (15-20 pages).