|English 320/ WEST 3200: Women Writers and Women’s Experiences
Reading Race and Gender in American Women Writers Through 1924
Spring 2009: Tuesdays, 1:40-4:20, SENG B 213
Course Webpage: http://www.uccs.edu/~faculty/lginsber/english320/index.html
Dr. Lesley Ginsberg
Office: 1007 Columbine Hall Email: email@example.com
Campus Phone: 255-4004 Mailbox: 1042 Columbine Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays Noon-1:00p, and by appointment.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Norton Critical Edition)*
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, (Harvard UP)*
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (Norton Critical Edition)*
Geraldine Brooks, March (Penguin)
“Emily Dickinson and her Contemporaries” (Packet On Reserve)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper (Bedford Critical Edition)*
Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona (Broadview)*
Zitkala-Sa, American Indian Stories (Nebraska UP)*
On-Line Readings: Child, “The Quadroons”; Alcott, “Behind a Mask.” (Available through the Course Web Page; please print out).
All texts are currently available at the campus bookstore except the on-line and the reserve texts.
* Please use the edition selected for the course.
American women were not granted the right to vote nationally until 1920 (Native American peoples of any gender did not receive this right until 1924). This course examines the legacy of literature written by American women through 1924—fiction, narratives, and poetry created before women were fully enfranchised citizens. We will consider the legacy left by some of these writers (Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Helen Hunt Jackson, Zitkala-Sa) in light of the profound disenfranchisement of women from national discourses of liberty and equality. In addition, we will read Geraldine Brooks’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel March, which draws creatively on the legacy of the writers featured in our readings and looks at that legacy in relation to race. Yet this course also enables students to delve into the legacy by exploring the vast field of American women writers before 1924, and invites students to think critically and creatively about their legacy, culminating in a term paper. In so doing, we will examine the unique tensions explored by American women writers of varied ethnicities, and discover how those tensions are present in literary works across two centuries that interrogate such issues as aesthetics, authorship, citizenship, motherhood, class, gender, sexuality, race, and writing.
1. This course is conducted as a seminar: regular attendance and participation in class discussions are essential. Since we have only fifteen course sessions per semester, each student will be permitted up to two absences without penalty. With the third absence, the grade is lowered by two-thirds of a letter grade (e.g. from B+ to B-). With the fourth absence, the student has missed more than twenty-five percent of all class sessions; the student fails the course. There are no “excused” absences, except under the most extraordinary circumstances. Each day I will circulate an attendance sheet—please sign in.
2. Participation in discussions. I ask you to make every effort to come to class, to ask questions, and to take advantage of my office hours (or make appointments). This also includes completing assignments—and your required paper conference. Finally, participation means being present—that means no texting, web surfing, or other distractions.
3. Reading Quizzes. There will be six as indicated on the syllabus, testing both reading comprehension and writing skills. The bottom two scores will be dropped in calculating your final quiz grade. There will be no make-ups for reading quizzes.
4. One in-class Midterm essay exam. You will need your books (Stowe, Alcott, Jacobs) and printouts, but please do not use notes external to your books. Dictionaries are allowed. Please bring one or two blue books; lined paper stapled together is also acceptable.
5. One in-class presentation on a primary source. You will work independently on this assignment, which asks you to link the primary source you’ve read to the main readings on our syllabus for the day you choose to present. There is a worksheet to get your started. One week after your presentation, you will submit a 2-page primary source essay on your presentation.
6. First draft of a 7-8 page term paper. Though focused on one the main readings in our syllabus, the paper also incorporates at least one additional primary source and a minimum of two secondary sources. You may write either an expository or a creative term paper.
7. One paper conference with me, one the first draft of your term paper. I will not accept the final draft of your term paper without a conference. A conference before your first draft is due is highly recommended.
8. Final version of a 7-8 page term paper that is focused on one of the main readings in our syllabus, that incorporates at least one additional primary source, and a minimum of two secondary sources. You may write either an expository or a creative term paper.
9. Final Exam. This will be an open book, essay test.
Class Participation = 10%
Reading Quizzes = 10%
One in-class Midterm essay exam = 15%
One in-class presentation and essay on a primary source = 10%
First Draft of a 7-8 page Term Paper = 15%
Paper Conference and Final Draft of a 7-8 page Term Paper = 25%
Final Exam = 15 %
Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will result in an “F” for the entire course. Read the Honor Code section in the Spring 2009 schedule of course. Please also read attached guidelines and explanations. Plagiarism will be discussed in the first week of class; please see me if you have additional concerns about this important topic.
1. All the reading assignments are due on the dates when the readings appear in the syllabus.
2. If you have a disability for which you are requesting an accommodation, please contact the
Disability Services Office at 255-3354 (Main Hall #105) within the first week of classes.
3. If you’re a student athlete or an active member of the military who requires special scheduling accommodations, please let me know about your needs as soon as possible, preferably within the first week of classes.
4. If class is cancelled due to snow or other emergency, please keep up with the reading.
Week One Reading Women Writers
Tues., 19 Jan. Introduction: Reading American Women Writers—Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”; Introduction to Primary Sources.
Week Two Women, Slavery, and Sentimentality
Tues., 26 Jan. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Vol. I (1-189); “Letter to
Eliza Cabot Follen” (413-414), “Appeal to the Women of the Free States” (427-429). Secondary Source Tutorial.
Tues., 2 Feb. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Vol. II (190-388).
Assignment Due: Finding and Analyzing a Secondary Source.
Week Four The Slave Woman Writes Back
Tues., 9 Feb. Lydia Maria Child, “The Quadroons” (on-line); Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Film clips on Jacobs.
Tues., 16 Feb. Louisa May Alcott, “Behind a Mask: or, A Woman’s Power” (on-
line); Alcott, Little Women, Part One—Skip Chapters 10 and 19.
Tues., 23 Feb. Alcott, Little Women, Part Second—Read Chapters 1 & 2 (190-203), 4 &
5 (211-228), 9, 10 & 11 (253-283), 13 (291-295), 15 (304-313), 17 (324-328), 19 & 20 (337-354), 23 & 24 (362-end); read also Estes and Lant, “Dismembering the Text: The Horror of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women” (564-583).
Tues., 2 Mar. Midterm Essay Exam, Open Book. Bring Stowe, Alcott, Jacobs, and
Week Eight Creatively Re-Imagining the Legacy
Tues., 9 Mar. Geraldine Brooks, March.
Screening of Film on Alcott, featuring Brooks.
Week Nine “On her own Premises”: Dickinson, Femininity, Rebellion
Tues., 16 Mar. Begin Emily Dickinson and her Contemporaries: Photocopy reading packet on reserve at the UCCS Library. Screening of Film on Dickinson; in-class workshop on reading Dickinson’s poetry.
First Draft of 7-8 page Term Paper Due.
Week Ten Spring Break.
Tues., 30 Mar. Finish Emily Dickinson and her Contemporaries: Photocopy reading packet on reserve at the UCCS Library.
Week Twelve Paper Conferences
Tues., 6 April Individual Paper Conferences in my office on your First Drafts.
Week Thirteen The Madwoman in the Attic
Tues., 13 April Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and from Section 5, selections by Gilman, Howells, Henry and Alice James.
Group 1: Section1, “Conduct Literature and Motherhood Manuals.”
Group 2: Section 2, “Invalid Women.”
Group 3: Section 3, “Sexuality, Race, and Social Control.”
Group 4: Section 4, “Movements for Social Change.”
Week Fourteen Field Trip: Into the Archives!
Tues., 20 April Meet at the main entrance of Colorado College’s Tutt Library no later than
2p. Begin Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona (37-256); discussion of Ramona after archival work.
Week Fifteen The Limits of Sentimentality and Benevolence
Tues., 27 April Finish Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona (256-372).
Week Sixteen A Native Woman Writes Back
Tues., 4 May Zitkala-Sa, American Indian Stories.
Term Paper Due.
Tues., 11 May Final Exam in our Classroom, 1:40-4:10.
Final Exams may be picked up at the English Department Office, Columbine 1045, on or after Tues., 18 May. Have a wonderful summer!