Taking as our conceptual starting point Sojourner Truth’s famous question, “Ain’t I a woman?”, we will consider consider the politics of literary representation through the figure of the “woman writer.” How do we define a woman? Who can speak on behalf of women? How do other identity categories—race, class, ethnicity, nationality, coloniality, sexuality—shape our understanding of gender categories? How does expanding the literary canon to include more women work to sustain or challenge other political and aesthetic hierarchies? We will address these questions by reading contemporary trans, queer, and feminist theory in dialogue with poetry and fiction from a range of historical periods—from Sappho’s love songs to Margeurite de Navarre’s Heptameron to Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl to Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues.