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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2005

AMS 390 • Lit Societies to Chick Flicks

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
28190 TH
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
GAR 301

Course Description

"The first weekend after I heard, I considered turning it down&.I see this as my book, my creation, and I didn't want that logo of corporate ownership on it&.I feel like I'm solidly in the high-art literary tradition." --Jonathan Franzen, about being chosen for Oprah's book club "America is now wholly given over to a d-ned mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public taste is occupied with their trash - and should be ashamed of myself if I did succeed," --Nathaniel Hawthorne, to his publisher This course will explore select American women's communities-real and imagined-to ask questions about gender, genre, culture, and audience. From nineteenth century literary societies, to rural cooking or sewing exchanges, to Progressive Era women's clubs, to women's colleges, to consciousness raising groups, and back around to twenty-first century book clubs, knitting circles, and chick flicks, we will focus on these gatherings of women together. We will read what they read, view what they watched, and find how they were seen as potential markets. Rather than ask good or bad, liberatory or conservative, separatist or conciliatory, we will instead investigate how they function in larger narratives of nation, class, race, and gender in the United States and transnationally. This multimedia course will investigate the idea of genre by focusing on culture and audience. Theoretical texts on reading, class, popular culture, material culture, and gender will support our examinations of literature, film, and markets.


Possible Texts: Elizabeth McHenry Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies Elizabeth Long, Book Clubs: Women and the Uses of Reading in Everyday Life Lora Romero, Home Fronts: Domesticity and Its Critics in the Antebellum United States Janice Radway, Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature Ellen Moore and Kira Stevens, Good Books Lately: The One-Stop Resource for Book Groups and Other Greedy Readers Debbie Stoller, Stitch'n'Bitch Nation Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Bridget Jones's Diary (book, movie), The Last Girls, etc. Bernice Kanner, Pocketbook Power: How to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Today's Most Coveted Consumers Anne Ruggles Gere, Intimate Practices: Literacy and Cultural Work in US Women's Clubs, 1880-1920 Jennifer Price, When Women Were Women, Men Were Men, and Birds Were Hats Susan Leonardi, Recipes for Reading Lisa Maria Hogeland, Feminism and Its Fictions: The Consciousness-Raising Novel and the Women's Liberation Movement


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