Spring 2024 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

E 330 Gender in World Literature [CRN 22337]

Overview of Course

In this course, we move the lens away from Western perspectives to seeing women’s issues from the vantage point of the global south, in particular select African countries. The course is designed to offer students both a specific and a general view of the status, achievements and experiences of African women in fiction and autobiography. We will explore African women writers and writers on African women, looking at their theoretical priorities and cultural positions. Using different genres (novels, autobiography, epistolatory writing), we endeavor to understand how women’s literary expression has been shaped by history, culture, and their experiences. We analyze how these writers address gender in their respective societies. Our discussions will focus on issues of identity, socialization, resistance, colonialism and gender relations as points of entry into a diverse set of texts. The framework encompasses two central issues: The way in which African authors represent gender as a crucial variable for social stratification and the use of writing itself as a tool for social transformation and critique. The readings compliments our physical journey with a literary journey. As we disembark in different places throughout this voyage, our readings will allow us to better situate us and understand the lived experience of people, women in particular, in select places we visit.