Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
english masthead
english masthead
Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2005

E 314L • Reading Women Writers

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32280 MWF
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
Par 104

Course Description

Helene Cixous proposes that there is a feminine way of writing, l'ecriture feminine, and Virginia Woolf writes of a feminine sentence. Alternatively, Willa Cather and Gertrude Stein (among others) bristled at being called women writers. This class will focus on US women writers to pose the question: what makes a woman writer? And is there a kind of women's writing? We will examine the definition of literature by including letters, plays, speeches, and diaries among our texts. We will focus on texts by women that address social justice issues, including class awareness, segregation and racial identity, union organizing, lesbian feminism, and disability discourse. Ultimately, we will explore how these historical and ongoing issues shape the identity of women writers. This class will familiarize students with a range of approaches to literary analysis as we discover whether or not those methods work for reading women writers.

Grading Policy

This is a substantial writing component class and a course intended to prepare students to undertake other literature courses, so we will spend time developing at least two styles of writing, including the academic paper and the personal response. Both of these writing styles are important to an understanding of women writers and of yourself as a writer and reader. Students will write three short papers, a midterm paper, and a final paper (or project), will conduct literary blog entries throughout the semester, and will work with a small group of students to lead one class discussion.

Three short papers (2-pages each) 30%
Midterm paper (4 pages) 20%
Final paper (6 pages) 20%
Literary blog posts 10%
Active participation/attendance 10%
Leading one class discussion (with other students) 10%


The Oxford Book of Women's Writing in the United States, Eds. Linda Wagner-Martin & Cathy N. Davidson (1995)
Louisa May Alcott, Work: A Story of Experience (1872)
Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)
Elana Dykewomon, Beyond the Pale (1997)
Ana Castillo, Peel My Love Like an Onion (1999)


bottom border