Selected Women Writers II

ENGL 223/3.0

A survey of women writers from after 1900. Geographical focus of course may vary from year to year. Focuses on English, American and Canadian women writers of the twentieth century.

Description

In A Room of One's Own (1929), Virginia Woolf wonders, "who shall measure the heat and violence of the poet's heart when caught and tangled in a woman's body? 

This course introduces you to fiction, poetry and drama by twentieth-century and twenty-first century women writers who have sought both to "measure" and to heal the division between poet's heart and woman's body that Woolf so eloquently describes.

First, we will concern ourselves with the global diversity of feminine Anglophone literary traditions across categories of genre, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and geography. Second, we will explore how women writers adapt and alter masculine literary influences to both scandalous and sobering effect. Finally, we will consider how literature by women offers a unique and often dissident perspective on the radical social, economic, psychological, scientific and technological, and cultural transformations of the modern and contemporary world. Throughout the dissemination of this course, pertinent reference will be made to aural, oral, visual and digital cultural production by women as well as to significant moments of collective struggle.

Evaluation

Discussion Forum (Best 5 of 6)20%

Assignment 1

15%

Assignment 2

30%
Proctored Final Exam35%

Optional Assignment*

The optional assignment is to encourage you to use your training in another discipline to produce a different method of reading literary texts. For example, if you are an English major and a History Minor, you can write a historical essay rather than a literary one. If you are a Politics Major and an English Medial, you can write an essay which resembles one that you are likely to write for a Politics course. Your subjects or objects of investigation will still be the literary texts in this course, but your approach will be one that draws on your knowledge of a different discipline and the kinds of questions and vocabulary that are germane to it. This assignment can also involve a creative option: art, music, performance, digital media, poetry including spoken work, dramatic sketches or stand up comedy, journalism, video, and fiction. See details in syllabus.

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc. during the exam period.

Topics

Learning Outcomes

While women have a well-established "literature of their own" (Elaine Showalter's phrase) and no longer need to prove its existence, the continue to defend its value and necessity.  The aim of this course is to explain whether and how a distinct female voice, perspective, and style can be discerned in the astonishing wealth and variety of Anglophone literary traditions and why sexual difference matters in the writing and interpretation of literature. By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • make relevant links between women writers and their historical and cultural contexts without reducing their writing to autobiography
  • understand the feminine literary tradition chronologically as well as geographically
  • trace the development of women's writing from the internalization of and resistance to masculine norms to the creation of new forms of female identity that escape the shadow of men
  • explain why and how women's writing is an act of defamiliarization, shocking us out of our complacency, making the world and self anew, and doing so through the power of linguistic expression
  • write about women in a complex fashion, attending to race, class, sexuality, and culture, and without turning women into heroes or victims
  • write well-argued and eloquent essays that demonstrate your unique style and perspective.  While learning about the characteristics that make each writer on the course distinct from her companions, you should be able to refine your own sensibility and find new ways of expressing yourself.  The writers you read may well serve as models for how you write.
  • and, if you're lucky, discover thoughts, emotions, perceptions, sensations, facts, dreams and visions you haven't encountered before and all without the aid of vampires!

Instructor

Welcome to the excitement, challenge, and illumination that writing by women offers, to the realization of Virginia Woolf's dream of both a room and a literary tradition of one's own! 

While I cannot promise to break MuchMusic's monopoly on "the intimate and interactive" experience, this newly designed course will offer regular opportunities for the exchange of ideas in multiple formats and registers and for the engagement with multi-media resources and creative possibilities.

Here's your chance to encounter literacy in its verbal, visual, aural, oral, and digital dimensions!  I look forward to introducing you to a historical and cross-cultural perspective on the visceral, iconoclastic, cheeky, and wondrous world of writing by women! 

Dr. Asha Varadharajan
Office: Watson 433
E-mail: varadhar@queensu.ca
Phone: (613) 533-6000 x 74420

Time Commitment

The amount of time necessary to complete the course successfully will vary from student to student. I recommend, ideally, 15 hours a week, but 10-12 hours a week is reasonable time commitment for most students.

Please be aware that literary texts should be read at least twice, and, particularly if you are writing assignments on them, 3 or 4 times with care in order to communicate not only what the story or poem or play is about, but how the text tells its story or communicates its perspective, and why its style or diction or point of view alters conventional ways of seeing the world and our place in it.  In short, you should not only be able to paraphrase the text, but to use literary vocabulary to describe its most significant features.  Reading a text more than once allows you to build on or challenge first and hasty impressions; the correct use of literary terms adds depth, substance, and nuance to your interpretation and shows that you respect the literariness of the text.

Course Resources

About SOLUS

SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About MOODLE

Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows XP/Vista/7, Pentium III, or Mac OS X 10.5, G4 or G5 processor, 256 MB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, and microphone, and up-to-date versions of free software (Explorer/Firefox, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.

Dates/Deadlines

The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s are 1 April (for May summer term), 1 June (for July summer term), 1 August (for fall term), and 1 December (for winter term). All documents must be received by the 15th of the month following the deadline. You can register for a course up to one week after the start of the course. See also Dates and Deadlines.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.