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Theories of Gender and Sexuality

ENGL 096.401
instructor(s):
MW 2-3:30

Although Virginia Woolf burned the word feminism in the 1920s, and Simone de Beauvoir resisted the epithet 'feminist,' it is clear that literature and literary studies today would be completely different, if not direly impaired, without feminism. This class therefore departs from the premise that feminism is primarily political to explore its interconnections with literature and culture. We'll therefore read a variety of foundational texts, from the literary historical to feminist film and queer theories, that have become indispensable to literary study and interdisciplinary research. Readings will include: Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf and Jean Rhys; Sigmund Freud and Simone de Beauvoir; Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar; Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston; Azar Nafisi and Arundhati; Julia Kristeva, Laura Mulvey, and Donna Haraway; Michael Foucault, Judith Butler, and Eve Sedgwick; and Gayatri Spivak, bell hooks, and Chandra Mohanty. Students are also expected to attend film screenings. Requirements include: short response papers and a longer essay, an oral presentation, one mid-term take-home exam, final exam.