ENGL 382/SWGS 380: Feminist Literary Theory
Instructor: Prof. Lurie
Feminist theory and criticism has had a profound effect on literary and cultural studies for decades. It has opened up new critical questions, generated new methodologies, and inspired major changes in the canon of texts that are taught at universities and studied by scholars. Interdisciplinary by definition, feminist inquiry has introduced questions of women, gender, and sexuality into a wide range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, and, most recently into science studies. So, when we read literary and cultural texts from a feminist perspective today, we are asking questions and extending insights that emerge from and across the disciplines.
We will begin at the beginning, tracing the challenges that feminist theory and criticism posed to literary studies from its academic beginnings and go on to explore major debates within feminist theory itself. But we will devote most of the course to exploring the vital and exciting directions in feminist inquiry today, including feminist political theory, feminist environmental criticism, feminist frames for approaching questions of the relation between human and nonhuman life. All of our critical readings will be paired with literary and cultural (including visual) texts, so throughout the course we will be thinking about how and why the study of literary texts is so fruitful for the production of feminist knowledge.