ENGL 200 A: Reading Literary Forms

WeDontNeedFeminism: Genres of Feminism and Public Scholarship

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 9:30am - 10:20am
DEN 304
Shane McCoy

Additional Details:

How has feminism changed historically in the post-1965 era? What new debates have emerged in our contemporary moment, where public figures like Beyoncé and Chimamanda Adichie both claim feminism as an ideological standpoint while others claim #WeDon’tNeedFeminism? How do these standpoints shape contemporary feminism? How have the public discussions of feminism shaped the dynamics of feminism in the academy and the public? What are the stakes of this movement in the here and now and how does this in turn motivate new publics to (re)engage with feminism and its social justice cause? Finally, what stakes might students have in these conversations about feminism? In this course, we will employ a variety of primary and secondary sources to generate thoughtful conversation and pursue intellectually driven lines of inquiry into feminism as a social justice movement. The course will be divided between two sequences. The first sequence will involve foundational texts from the end of second-wave feminism into third-wave feminism; this first sequence will serve as a frame for reading texts in sequence two. Texts for Sequence One will include selections from Angela Davis’ Women, Race, and Class (1981), bell hooks’ Ain’t I A Woman (1981), and Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982). In Sequence Two, we will jump to the contemporary moment and look at current publications that take up the question of feminism in what many are calling the ‘fourth wave’. These texts will include selections from Michelle Cliff's If I Could Write This in Fire (2008), Piper Kerman’s Orange Is the New Black (2011), Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped (2013), and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist (2014).

Students are expected to come to class and intellectually engage with the material as well as engage with their peers in the form of small and large group discussions. Please note: This course is a “W” class, which means it is both a reading and writing intensive class. Thus, students should expect reading a reasonable amount of primary texts. Three papers will be assigned: 1 academic paper, 1 creative project with a critical academic writing component, and an in-class written critical reflection essay.

4. Book List:

Angela Davis, Women, Race, and Class (1981) ISBN: 978-0394713519

bell hooks, Ain’t I A Woman? (1981) ISBN: 978-0896081291

Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982) ISBN: 978-0895941220

Michelle Cliff, If I Could Write This In Fire (2008) ISBN: 978-0816654741

Piper Kerman, Orange is the New Black (2011) ISBN: 978-0385523394

Jesmyn Ward, Men We Reaped (2013) ISBN: 978-1608197651

Roxana Gay, Bad Feminist (2014) ISBN: 978-0062282712

Catalog Description: 
Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 11:00am