WGS 345 • Nature and Gender in America: Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam, and the Fruited Plains-W
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
In stories of conquest, progress, and struggle, Nature has been described as unspoiled virgin, capricious female fury, and fertile earth goddess. We hear of Old Man River, and Man Against Nature. Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty compete to represent the United States. Throughout our national narratives, then, run metaphors of gender and nature. How does a focus on gender and nature reveal the workings of race, class, and sex in ideas of our nation? What are the stakes involved? What are the stereotypes and what are the individual truths about "women," "men," and "nature" in this context? We will look at the multiple experiences of diverse Americans--black, white, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, working class, middle class, upper class, etc. We will study how these ideas have changed over time and across the country. We will use fiction, film, popular culture, letters, diaries, and a grounding in environmental and literary theory in this interdisciplinary exploration.
Possible Texts Jennifer Price, Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America (1999) Susan Griffin, Women and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her (2000) Wendell Berry, What Are People For? (1990) Stacy Alaimo, "Cyborgs, Whale Tails, and the Domestication of Environmentalism," (2002). Annette Kolodny, "Unearthing Herstory" (1996). Patrick D. Murphy, "Sex-Typing the Planet" (1995). Richard White, "Are You an Environmentalist or Do You Work for a Living?" (1996). Anna Wilson, "Sexing the Hyena: Intraspecies Readings of the Female Phallus" (2003).