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

Spring 2009

E 314L • Reading Women Writers

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33600 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
Hurt, E

Course Description

Computer-assisted instruction

In preparation for the English major, students in this course will develop critical reading and response skills by working with a body of texts that indicates the scope of U.S. women's writing from the 1700s to the present. We will consider how each of these texts shapes the field of women's writing, and we will question the coherence of that field as we describe its complexity. Issues including colonization, social activism, ethnicity, sexuality, and genre will inform our readings and discussions as students learn various approaches to the study and definition of a literary field.

In this course, we will use these texts to think about the complexity of "woman" as an identity as well as the complexity of the field of women's literature. This course will reflects a recognition of the centrality of writings by women of color to the act of "reading women writers," and a representation of women of different sexual orientations. As a result, this course prepares students to engage in complex conversations about interlocking concerns of nationality, race, gender, and sexuality. We will consider how these issues inform each text and how women writers in particular depict the nation, culture, identity, and desire.

Grading Policy

As this is an introductory English course, we will spend considerable time working on skills that will help you succeed in your future English classes. Some of these skills include: doing literary research, preparing for classroom discussion, becoming familiar with the vocabulary of English majors, close reading, and writing about literature, including finding and incorporating secondary sources into your writing. The usefulness of this class for you will depend largely on your willingness to take these activities seriously and to devote yourselves to practicing the skills that make successful English majors.

Eight (1 page) reading responses: 25%
Paper 1 (2-3 pages): 15%
Paper 2 (2-3 pages): 15%
Final paper (4-5 pages): 25%
Semester project: 10%
Participation, attendance, quizzes, in-class writing: 10%


Dorothy Allison, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
Flannery O'Connor, Ballad of the Sad Café
Alisa Valdez-Rodriguez, Dirty Girls Social Club
Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Course packet


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