The study of contemporary approaches to analyzing the gender politics of literature and culture. Examines special topics in the history and development of the major theoretical trends, including the relationship of certain theories of gender to relevant works of literature.
For AUTUMN 2007: Gender and the Ghost Story: Avery Gordon writes in Ghostly Matters that “to write stories concerning exclusions and invisibilities is to write ghost stories.” In this class we will explore the figure of the ghost in literature in order to analyze how the construction of gender has created its own exclusions and invisibilities in literatures of the 19th and 20th centuries. We will also consider how women in literature have been rendered “ghostly,” and how gender studies has worked to “turn toward the ghost” as a figure to be reckoned with. We will examine how gender matters in a variety of typically haunted spaces—the attic, the house, the city, and the nation—and how women artists have evoked the ghost as a figure of resistance. In doing so, we will address Gordon’s question, “What does the ghost say as it speaks, barely, in the interstices of the visible and the invisible?” Students can expect to read key texts in gender studies, as well as novels, short stories, and films. Possible readings include texts by Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Michelle Cliff, Tim O’Brien, and Bharati Mukherjee, as well as films by Pedro Almodovar and Ursula Biemann.
Students are expected to come to class prepared for active participation. This is a discussion based course.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
Assignments will include response papers, midterm and final paper, and a presentation.