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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 379S • 19th Century Women Writers and the Literary Marketplace

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34650 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
GAR 2.104

Course Description

As part of our University-directed self-assessment project, the English Department has initiated an ePortfolio program for English majors. You will be asked to submit, in electronic form, two documents--a one page essay on the English major and a copy of your final paper for the seminar. Additionally, you will be asked to complete a brief four question survey. During the semester, you will receive details from your instructor or from the English Department on completing the survey and submitting the documents on your senior seminar's Blackboard website.

This course examines fictional and autobiographical writings produced by black and white women writers from 1797 to 1900, paying attention to the way these works negotiated conflicts of race, class, gender and sexuality. During the nineteenth century, both black and white women writers took a risk when writing to the public. For white women, addressing the public in print could be seen as overstepping the era's strict social boundaries around female modesty, and as a result female sexual virtue and propriety became implicit and explicit themes in the works these authors produced. For African American women writers during this era, this delicate situation was compounded by the necessity of addressing black female sexual oppression in slavery and the racial subtexts of gender ideals. By studying and writing about these novels and the scholarship that has been written about them, we'll work to understand the way women used authorship to withstand, adapt, and subvert dominant ideas of black and white femininity.

Grading Policy

One response paper 10%
Mid-term essay exam 10%
Class participation 10%
12-15-page research paper (including proposal and annotated bibliography) 70%


Foster, The Coquette
Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin
Fern, Ruth Hall
Craft, The Bondswoman's Narrative
Collins, The Curse of Caste, Or, the Slave Bride
Hopkins, Contending Forces
Wilson, Our Nig
Southworth, The Hidden Hand
Mary Tyler Peabody, Juanita: A Romance of Real Life in Cuba Fifty Years Ago
Course Copy packet


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