The Politics of Personal Writing




A long tradition of feminist writing asserts that the personal is political. In this creative writing class, we will critically examine the work of feminist and queer authors such as Dorothy Allison, Roxane Gay, Cathy Park Hong, Audre Lorde, Imani Perry, and Margaret Talusen who use personal experience as a starting point for arguments about class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Examining how these authors draw on traditions crafted by earlier authors such as James Baldwin and Virginia Woolf, we’ll ask what this tradition has accomplished in different historical moments and how genres such as the “personal essay” and the “op-ed” have been implicitly gendered. We will think about our own cultural moment, in which we are collectively encouraged to “tell our story” via an endless proliferation of self-revelatory texts (blogs, TikTok, Twitter). Why has the genre of “the personal” become so popular in the 21st century and what does this signal for the future of feminist/queer thought and inquiry? Students will share their own creative writing and provide extensive feedback on their peers’ work.
Additional Information:
Faculty: Linda Schlossberg
Semester: Full Spring Term
Time: Wednesday, 12:00 - 2:45 pm