Spring 2025 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

E 330 Gender in World Literature

Overview of Course

This course is designed to offer students both a personal and a regional view of the status, achievements, and experiences of women in the Global South, moving away from a western-centered gaze. We will explore women writers and their pleas, looking at the priorities they are sharing with their readers. To understand their work, we will look into the history and cultural backgrounds these women come from. Using different genres (fictions or autobiographies), we will try to understand how women’s writings have been shaped by history, culture, and their experiences on the ground. We will analyze how these women writers address gender in their respective societies. Our discussions will focus on identity, colonialism, socialization, modes of resistances used, and gender relations in a postcolonial world, inviting discussion not only of the past, but also about the challenges of the present in the world we live in. Our main query will be to study the use of writing as a mode of resistance to find one’s voice and place in the said society. The readings, which are organized around the physical journey we will undertake, will allow us, as a group, to better understand these women’s lived experiences as we disembark in the different places.
The course will be discussion-based. Students will work in pairs and groups, discussing and analyzing the works studied. Coursework includes presentations, response papers, journaling and a final project to be discussed and determined in class by each group.
Writers and regions : Vietnam: Kim Thuy; India: Arundhati Roy; Kenya: Wangari Maathai; South Africa: Miriam Tlali; Akan region: Veronique Tadjo; Senegal-USA Mariama Bâ; Morocco: Leila Lalami.