CANG 9178 et CANG 9278: Women Writing
Instructor: Caroline Boreham
This course will cover a selection of essays, fiction, poetry and life writing written by women in the last decade or so, a period during which, as Elena Ferrante has argued, women’s stories have become “increasingly widespread”. Despite this array of different genres, what brings the writers on our syllabus together is an interest in telling the stories of women’s lives through fictional or (auto)biographical means. Their works all explore how different facets of identity, including gender and race, shape the telling of a life, whether real or imagined. These works also place particular emphasis on the relational quality of all identity, meaning that subjects recognize and create themselves through their relationships with others and within the contexts of communities. In doing so, these texts question and reshape older forms of narrative, such as myths, fairy tales, and more traditional coming of age stories in order to break new ground in the present.
Students will learn to analyse themes and stylistic choices associated with feminist writing. They will also learn to contextualize these works within current cultural dialogues surrounding feminism (intersectional feminism, discussions of care, etc.). This is a discussion-based seminar and participants will be expected to contribute actively to our talks every week.
Excerpts from the following texts (tentative): Ali Smith’s Autumn, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby, Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, Fiona Benson’s Vertigo & Ghost, among other selections.
Evaluation: Ongoing Assessment (50%): writing assignment; oral presentation; book club assignment. Final In-Class Exam (50%)