This course introduces students to the poetry, literary prose, and artful correspondence of one of the major poets of the twentieth century, considering her innovations in all these genres. We will look at her writing in multiple genres alongside the mid-century shift from ‘closed’ to ‘open’ verse forms, and relate stylistic issues to the intellectual and social changes, and political and historical developments of the period.... Read more about Elizabeth Bishop and Others
Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring, and Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union, both campaigned against toxic exposures in the mid-20th-century United States and yet are rarely considered in tandem. This course puts the writings and activism of these two women in conversation, ranging through feminist, queer, and Latinx environmental writing to build connections between environmentalism and labor rights.... Read more about Resisting Toxicity: Rachel Carson, Dolores Huerta, and Environmental Nonfiction
Women have historically exerted their voice and power through writing, even as the professional writing trades of journalism and publishing have historically been unwelcoming of their presence. This seminar class will examine reporting and writing by and about women, and engage students in the practice of writing about gender, feminism, and women’s lives.... Read more about Writing Women: Workshop
An introduction to foundational concepts and skills in the interdisciplinary study of gender and sexuality. Readings include Gloria Anzaldúa, Audre Lorde, Donna Haraway, Patricia Hill Collins, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Judith Butler, Lorgia Garcia- Peña, Hortense Spillers, José Esteban Muñoz, Sara Ahmed, Alison Bechdel, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, and Michel Foucault.... Read more about Tutorial - Sophomore Year
This course examines recent scholarship on women in American religious history, focusing particularly on questions of narration, agency and power. We will ask several interrelated questions: How have historians integrated women into narratives of American religious history? Whose stories have they highlighted, and why? How have they conceptualized women as historical agents?... Read more about Women, Religion, and the Problem of Historical Agency
A survey of modern and contemporary queer writing from twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature. We will read writers such as Jean Genet, Hervé Guibert, Édouard Louis, Mireille Best, Violette Leduc, Monique Wittig, Anne Garréta.... Read more about Queer Fictions
This seminar looks at the expanding range of genres, forms and strategies pursued by modern and contemporary authors who want to represent LGBTQ+- lives, communities, bodies and selves; poems and performances, novels and stories, YA (young adult) fiction and science fiction, memoirs and graphic novels, will all be represented, along with a light frame of what's usually called queer theory and some points of comparison, or contrast, from earlier centuries. Bechdel, Audre Lorde, O'Hara, Whitman, Walden, and many others.... Read more about Introduction to LGBTQ Literature
What does is it mean to be, or feel as, a woman? This course will survey major female authors from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who ask these questions in their novels, plays, and essays.... Read more about Modern Women Writers
The material of this course consists of the following exceptionally rich late medieval and early modern Trojan materials: Chaucer’s House of Fame; Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde; Lydgate’s Troy Book (Book 2); Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid; and Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. We will be guided into these materials by the inter-related topics listed in the course title. Wherever possible and appropriate, we will absorb the publication conditions and media of these texts and/or performances.... Read more about Gender, War, Writing, Rhetoric, and Reading: Troilus and Criseyde from Late Medieval to Early Modern
French feminism, as it is studied and taught in the Anglo-American academy, is most often associated with the three names that constitute the “Holy Trinity” of Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray, and Julia Kristeva—thinkers whose various theorizations of sexual difference permitted the convergence of an emergent feminist literary criticism with high theory and all its cachet.... Read more about Against Difference: Monique Wittig's Trojan Horse Writing and Theory
A survey of modern and contemporary twentieth- and twenty-first-century queer French literature. We will begin first with an introduction to some canonical texts in queer theory (e.g. Sedgwick, Butler, Bersani, Warner) and proceed to the fictions (Genet, Guibert, Louis, Leduc, Wittig, Best, Garréta) to see the ways in which literature itself theorizes and does the work of deconstructing identity and desire.
This course seeks to map a history and to expand the boundaries of what is commonly thought of as queer cinema. We will explore LGBTQ films within a variety of frameworks, including but not limited to queer history, theory, and politics, and across a range of modes and genres, from classical Hollywood to the experimental underground.... Read more about Queer (and Queering) Cinema
In this reading group on Feminist Utopias, we explore literature, essays and history of women’s law reform movements through time. What difference will feminist governance make in society? Is it most effective to reform the current system or to imagine and then build an alternative one? Students will have the opportunity to develop their own concepts for utopian ideals in a sex-equal society....
Close readings of postwar French fiction and theory with emphasis on what is called "the feminine'' in key psychoanalytic, philosophical, and literary writings of the French poststructuralist tradition. In particular, we will focus on fifty years of dialogue between postwar theory in France and feminist practice in the United States. Writers considered include Cixous, Duras, Irigaray, Kristeva, and Wittig as well as Deleuze, Derrida, and Lacan....
In a powerful essay, the late writer and activist Audre Lorde suggested, “Where the words of women are crying to be heard we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives.” Lorde is not alone in asking us to pay attention to and take responsibility for women’s stories; for centuries scholars and activists alike have championed the words of women, including women of color and queer women, whose stories have routinely gone untold or unheard.... Read more about Expository Writing 20: Telling Her Story: Narrative, Media, and #MeToo
This course explores relationships between 19th- and 20th-century women’s movements and religion by considering spiritual and religious practices in fiction, poetry, and essays by writers including Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, and Zora Neale Hurston, alongside essays by critics such as Saba Mahmood and theologians such as Katie G. Cannon.
“Reader, I married him.” As this famous line from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre reminds us, writers have long been preoccupied with matters of the heart. Courtship plots are everywhere, from the novels of Jane Austen to the “rom-coms” of the 1980s and 1990s to essays you can find every Sunday in the “Styles” section of the New York Times. For centuries, marriage was primarily an economic relationship, and love outside of marriage ended in humiliation or even death. But what happens when society expands the options for living and loving?... Read more about Expository Writing 20: Modern Love
The femme fatale—the attractive, seductive woman who brings about the downfall of men—has fascinated us through the ages, from Biblical figures like Eve and Delilah, to historical women such as Cleopatra and Wallis Simpson, to the media personas of modern pop stars like Cardi B and Miley Cyrus. In the classic femme fatale narrative, the woman’s dangerous actions empower her, but she also must submit to the fact that her empowerment renders her a villain. Might this contradiction in the femme fatale’s character reflect tensions in our own evolving understanding of gender? How can the femme fatale character help us untangle the real-world gender problems that modern women and men face?... Read more about Expository Writing 20: The Femme Fatale
Rosalind, Portia, Ophelia, Juliet, Isabella, Cressida, Cleopatra, Cordelia, Imogen, Volumnia, Miranda, Lady Macbeth—the women of Shakespeare’s plays have become iconic figures, cited, admired, critiqued, and invoked in every generation. But in the English public theater of Shakespeare’s time no women were permitted to appear onstage.... Read more about Shakespeare's Women