Gender identity and expectations; prison reform and the death penalty; personal accountability and protest; new media and modes of expression. Writers in the 19th and 20th centuries grappled with these questions as we do today. How do their sometimes revolutionary, sometimes surprisingly familiar approaches overlap with movements like Romanticism, Realism, Existentialism, and other new forms of fiction? We will explore short works by Sand, Hugo, Balzac, and Zola; poetry by Baudelaire; drama by Camus; a novel by Colette; a graphic novel by Fres; and films by Berri and Tavernier.
When accepting the Oscar for Best Actress in 2015 Patricia Arquette said the following: “The truth is, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are at play that do affect women, and it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we all fought for to fight for us now.” This course examines why such statements are part of a larger and longer tradition of disappearing black women and why they are popular in the cultural zeitgeist. Through extensive reading and tough discussion this class examines the current discourse around sexual harassment and assault from the #MeToo movement through the informed lens of Harriet Jacobs’s slave narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Both “texts” involve navigating spaces of subjugation and supremacy and yet one voice has remained steadily ignored in mainstream audiences. We will also look at the intersection of race and gender that Incidents reveals and trace how these remain intact or not through today.