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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Spring 2005


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46350 F
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
PAR 214

Course Description

Recent scholarship on race and slavery has suggested that, rather than examining distinct national traditions in the literature of African and African-descended writers in the colonial period, we should consider such writing part of a diasporic “Black Atlantic” that supersedes national boundaries. The debate over the status, education and rights of women in the period from the Bloodless Revolution of 1689 to the Irish Rebellion of 1798 was also inflected by transatlantic conversations about citizenship and revolution. This course examines feminist writing in a variety of genres produced in the English-speaking Atlantic world of the eighteenth century, including materials from Britain, British North America, and the British Caribbean. Our examination of these texts will allow us to ask such questions as: What were the major concerns of eighteenth-century writers critical of the condition of women in their time? How do such writers contribute to, and/or contest, emerging categories of nation and citizenship? What is the relationship between writing about women’s rights and critiques of slavery? What difference does genre make to how women are represented and advocated for? How do letters, transcribed narratives, and popular periodical verse, as well as polished verse satire, novels, and philosophical tracts, broaden our definitions of the “literary”? And how do the various “Englishes” used in writing by slaves, free women of color, bluestockings, Loyalists and Patriots, and planter’s wives challenge our definitions of eighteenth-century “English” literature? Is there a “feminist Atlantic” in eighteenth century literature? This course will be of interest to English department students in the Women, Gender and Literature and Ethnic and Third World Literature concentrations, as well as to students concentrating in British or American literature. It will also be useful to students outside the English department as a historical background for modern feminist thought and an opportunity to learn about cultural studies methods from a literary perspective. Course Requirements Graduate standing required. Oral presentation. At the beginning of the semester, you will choose a class day on which you want to lead class discussion for the first part of the class. Your presentation should include biographical and historical context of one or more of the writers assigned for that day, as appropriate; a survey of (some of) the secondary literature on these writers; and a discussion of a particular passage, issue, trope or other aspect of one text that you found particularly interesting (problematic, praiseworthy, confusing, satisfying), with an analysis of the formal features of that aspect of the text. Your presentation should be about thirty minutes, and then you have thirty to sixty minutes to lead class discussion in response to specific questions that you will prepare. Formal academic writing. This assignment may be fulfilled one of two ways. Option A: Write three five-page papers on some selection of the material we have read. These papers must be handed in on the due dates noted in the syllabus. Short papers need not cite texts other than course material. One paper may draw on your oral presentation. Option B: Write a 12-15 page research paper on the topic of your choice. You may draw on the research you did for your oral presentation for your final paper. The final paper should include research beyond the materials assigned in class. Texts TEXTS (available at the University Co-op) Required: Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies Maria Edgeworth, Belinda Sharon Harris, ed., Selected Writings of Judith Sargent Murray,. Sarah Scott, A Description of Millenium Hall Mary Wollstonecraft, The Vindications Mary Wollstonecraft, Maria Mary Robinson, A Letter to the Women of England Recommended: Lisa Moore, Dangerous Intimacies: Toward a Sapphic History of the British Novel Sha


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