• ENGL 319-01
  • Women and Literature
  • Spring 2019 (27 Jan, 2019 – 23 May, 2019)
  • Mon 5:00 pm – 7:45 pm
  • Liberal Arts Building B205
  • The information below is a draft and will be finalized be the beginning of Spring 2019

Course Description

A brief examination of women’s representation in art form from Greek times to the present, with a focus on Western Literature. We will be reading a selection of literary and theoretical texts that provide a historical overview of this perception as we attempt to study any shifts to the ideologies surrounding women and how they were reflected in art form. Readings will briefly touch on philosophy, psychology, sociology as a background to our understanding of art. Literature will be the main art form analyzed, with other forms used as an aid, sculpture, painting, film and possibly music.

Learning Outcomes (LO)

Upon successful completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • – Read, understand and analyze works of literature by and about women spanning a variety of times and places.
  • – Read and interpret theoretical texts that relate to women’s psyche, their cultural roles, their literary contributions, and their changing position in society.
  • – Relate the critical debate on and about women to women’s literary contributions.
  • – Argue for and against the variety of worldviews held by writers and thinkers covered in class.
  • – Use feminist theory to analyze literary texts.

Required Textbooks

  • – Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
  • – Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway
  • – Maria Irene Fornes’s Fefu and her Friends
  • – Shahd Alshammari’s Notes on the Flesh
  • – Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis
Analysis of the novels to be secured through Library search
Other short texts will be supplied in class

Grading System

  • – 10% Participation: Your contribution to the class discussion is vital. You will not be judged for your informed opinion but will be expected to come to class prepared with your reactions, question, and comments on the assigned reading. Read each assigned text, take notes, and join class discussion (LO 1, 3, 4)
  • – 15% Reports (3 submissions): Submit a 2-3 page report on an article that analyzes the assigned text in terms related to class discussions (LO 2, 4)
  • – 10% Reflection & Response (2 submissions): Submit a 2-3 page essay reflecting on and responding to assigned text (LO 1, 5)
  • – 20% Midterm Exam or Paper: class discussion will determine the choice we make. Either a midterm essay exam, or a short research paper of 4-6 pages, with a minimum of 3 secondary texts as reference. (LO 4, 5)
  • – 25% Final Exam: details to be discussed in class. (LO 4, 5)
  • – 20% Final Paper: Analyze a work of literature not presented in class in about 8 pages (2400-3200 words). The paper should focus on how this work of literature can be seen as part of the ongoing discourse on women and gender. At least 5 secondary sources are required to support your argument. Proposal or outline requires approval by instructor at least one week before submission due date. During the last week of class, you may be asked to present your topic in around 5 minutes. (LO 1, 2, 3, 5)

Paper Writing Guidelines

  • – All written material (papers, reports, handouts) is to be submitted on A4 white paper with 1” margins, in Times New Roman size 12 (bold, italics, or underline can be used when you feel the need to highlight certain words/lines), using proper academic English. Always carry A4 size (or similar) lined paper for in-class assignments. Save your work as word.doc and submit via tunritin on Moodle.
  • – On the upper left-hand side of the paper, include the following, each in a separate line: Your name (or names if a group), your teacher’s name, course title and number, date. The title of the paper is to be centered under that.

General Guidelines

  • – Arrive to class on time. I might allow you into class late occasionally, but don’t abuse this privilege.
  • – Mute your mobiles and put them away, unless you use them for note-taking.
  • – Leaving the classroom can disrupt your classmates and put a strain on the ongoing discussion. If you have to leave class, find a corner seat so you can leave quietly
  • – Taking pictures or videos in class is prohibited, unless you get permission in advance.
  • – Argue well, for or against, but never demean of insult another person’s opinion.
  • – English is the only language of conversation in class (unless the content diverges).
  • – Your grades and other class-related issues are a private matter between teacher and student. I will not discuss your grades or class performance with other members of your family, your friends, or other members of AUK.
  • The last day to withdraw with a “W” is 28 April

Academic Integrity Policy

Plagiarizing and/or cheating is not tolerated. You plagiarize when you present any information in your paper that is not yours, without properly referencing it. Whether you quote directly, paraphrase, or summarize, you have to include your brief parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, then include the full bibliographical information in your works cited page. Your first attempt at plagiarism will earn you a zero for that assignment. If you plagiarize again, you will fail the course.

Disability Accommodations

If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, kindly arrange for an appointment with Dr. Huda Shaaban (hshaaban@auk.edu.kw) at the Counseling Center (located in the Student Center building) at the earliest with the understanding that all disability-related accommodations require registration with the Counseling Center and are not applied retroactively.

Weekly Syllabus

Week 1 (28 Jan): Introduction:
Why do we need literature? Why study women in literature? What are some typical images of women in literature, good and bad?
Start reading The Handmaid’s Tale – Report due Week 5 (4 March)
PART I: The Influencers:
Week 2 (4 Feb): The Classics: Readings of Women in Plato & Aristotle

Representations of Women in Green & Roman Mythology: Goddesses, Sirens, Nymphs, Amazons, and Mortals. (Aphrodite, Calypso, Psyche, Helen of Troy, etc.)

Class discussion: Click on text to download:

Optional modern representation: Xena, Warrior Princess …

Week 3 (11 Feb): Judaeo-Christian Influences: Readings of Biblical Stories
Representations of Women in Biblical History (Eve, Mary, Delilah, Jezebel)

Class discussion: Click on text to download:

Week 4 (18 Feb): The Brits: Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton
Representations of Women in early English texts (Taming of the Shrew, Lady Macbeth, Wife of Bath)

Class discussion: Click on text to download:

National & Liberation Day Holiday (24-28 Feb)
PART 2: The Novel:
Week 5 (4 Mar): The Handmaid’s Tale – Discussion

Report on The Handmaid’s Tale due on Moodle
Start reading Mrs. Dalloway – Report due Week 7 (18 Mar)
Week 6 (11 Mar): The Rise of the Novel and its effect on women in literature
Class discussion: Pamela & Miss Havisham versus Jane Eyre & Elizabeth Bennet – text to be shared later
Week 7 (18 Mar): Mrs. Dalloway – Discussion
Report on Mrs. Dalloway due on Moodle
Midterm Week (24-28 Mar)
Spring Break (31 Mar-4Apr)
PART 3: Women in Literature Today:
Week 9 (8 Apr): Rousseau & Wollstonecraft
Class discussion: Chopin & Gilman (texts to be shared later)
Start reading Fefu and Her Friends – Report due Week 10 (15 Apr)
Week 10 (15 Apr): Fefu and Her Friends – Discussion
Report on Fefu and Her Friends due on Moodle
Start reading Notes on the Flesh – Response due Week 12 (29 Apr)
Week 11 (22 Apr): Feminist Theory: Woolf, Gilbert & Gubar, Beauvoir, Friedan
Class discussion: TBA
Week 12 (29 Apr): Notes of the Flesh – Discussion
Start reading Persepolis – Response due Week 14  (13 May)
Response on Notes on the Flesh due on Moodle
Week 13 (6 May): Feminist Theory: Cixous, Butler, Anzaldua, Kristeva, Haraway, Bordo
Resistant Writers: Sexton, Atwood, Walker
Class discussion: Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl & Judith Butler’s Subversive Bodily Acts (texts to be shared later)
Watch Crenchaw on Intersectionality: https://www.ted.com/talks/kimberle_crenshaw_the_urgency_of_intersectionality?language=en
Week 14 (13 May): Persepolis – Discussion
Response on Persepolis due on Moodle
Week 15 (20 May): Influences on Today’s Lead Women Characters:
Arya Stark, Ygritte, Katniss, Hermione Granger
Final Paper due on Moodle