Gender and Literature

This course is part of the programme
Humanities (Third level)

Objectives and competences

 Familiarization with principal concepts and different directions of feminist literary theory.
 Historical insight into the dynamics of gender relationships within literary depictions as well as within broader societal constellations.
 Ability to recognize and critically analyze the traditional conceptualization of gender roles, bodies and sexuality within poetry, drama and prose.
 Understanding the relationship between language, gender and written texts.
 Exploration of female authorship and genre conventions.
 Exploration of the relationship between literature and other arts.
 Ability to interdisciplinary correlate various theoretical discourses.

Prerequisites

Students are expected to have a good command of written and spoken English.

Content

Students will learn fundamental theoretical concepts and methodological tools that will enable them to critically analyze and interpret gender roles and dynamics within literary texts. The emphasis will be put on history and various feminist theoretical perspectives and how they interact with other theoretical currents (anthropology of sex and gender, gay and lesbian studies, the queer theory). We will discuss diverse interpretative methods that allow literature to be recognized as an integral part of a larger family of art disciplines (film, music, video) by fusing philosophical principles with literary theory and contemporary interdisciplinary approaches. The lectures will adhere to the creative principles of feminist pedagogy, which will enable students to actively participate in the process of the expansion and evolution of the program and content, respectively.

Planned thematic units:

 Feminist literary criticism: this field of study will be put in a broader context of humanistic studies, relating feminist literary criticism to other relevant theories and sciences; introduction to the methodology; criticism of the phallocentric approach to literary criticism and the skewed perception of female characters in literature.
a) Anglo-American feminist literary criticism; the study of various images of women. Feminist criticism – writing and subversion.
b) French feminist literary theory: “writing from the body” as a concept and gender inequalities in language use.
c) Literature and psychoanalysis: criticism, introduction to and presentation of psychoanalysis as a seminal philosophical discipline upon which the perception of female sexuality is grounded. Woman's desire from the sociological perspective.
 Feminist treatment of different literary genres (essayistic texts, autobiographical discourses).
 Representations of masculinity: intersection between literary criticism and contemporary theoretical discourse.
 Analysis of gender representations, motherhood/fatherhood and family structures within contemporary Slovene poetry, drama and prose. Gender stereotypes and the construction of identity. The concept of love and sexuality within world literature while focusing on poetry, short prose and drama written by contemporary (Slovene) female and younger male authors. The subject-object relation and the dualistic assumptions of gender differences, respectively, and new models.
 Literature, philosophy and popular culture: reflections on the relationship between gender, bodies and technology.
 Contemporary theoretical discourse: reflections on the manifold identity positions and the interrelation of gender representations in literature with a multicultural perspective and the social exclusion of marginalized groups of people. The concept of the “Other” and the criticism of hierarchical relationships.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Ability to implement concepts and ideas that stem from the theoretical foundation of the course.
  • Ability to understand and apply the methodology of feminist literary theory.
  • Capacity to analyze and evaluate core theoretical concepts and philosophical interpretations of literary works.
  • Ability to write academic essays, papers and other scientific publications.
  • Competence to critically analyze societal and cultural aspects of gender perception and gender interpretations in literature, contemporary culture, media and public speech.
  • Ability to participate in group discussions and communicate the acquired knowledge in public.

Readings

 ADAM, A. (2009): Evridika in Orfej – Od zrcalne k mnogoteri ljubezni, Založba Sofija.
 BRAIDOTTI, R. (2002): Metamorphoses: towards a materialist theory of becoming, Cambridge.
 CALLAHAN, A. (2001): Writing the voice of pleasure – Heterosexuality Without Women, Palgrave, New York.
 CIXOUS, H. (1998): Where Is She in Language?, in: Baker, Wininger, Elliston, Philosphy and Sex, Prometheus Books, New York, pp. 311–318.
 CIXOUS, H. (2005): Smeh Meduze in druga besedila, trans. Barbara Pogačnik, Fraktal - Apokalipsa, Ljubljana.
 FELSKI, R. (1989): Beyond Feminist Aesthetics: Feminist Literature and Social Change, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
 FREUD, S. (1991): »Nekatere psihične posledice anatomske razlike med spoloma«, in: Ženska seksualnost: Freud in Lacan, Društvo za teoretsko psihoanalizo, Ljubljana.
 GOODMAN, L. (1996): Literature and Gender, Open University Routledge.
 IRIGARAY, Luce. (1995): An Ethics of Sexual Difference, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.
 IRIGARAY, Luce (1998): Linguistic Sexes and Genders, Philosphy and Sex, in: Baker, Wininger, Elliston, Prometheus Books, New York, pp. 306–311.
 LACAN, J. (1988): Etika psihoanalize, Analecta, Ljubljana.
 LEE-BARTKY, S: (2006): Foucault, ženskost in modernizacija patriarhalne oblasti, Delta, no. 1/2, Ljubljana, pp. 59–86.
 Meade, T. (2006): A companion to Gender history, Blackwell Publishing.
 ROSE, J. (1996): Ženskost in njeno nelagodje, ed. Bahovec, E. D., Analecta, Ljubljana 1996.
 MOI, T. (1999): Politika spola/teksta, Labirint, Ljubljana.
 GROSZ, E. (1995): Space, time, and perversion: essays on the politics of bodies, Routledge, New York.
 PIZAN, CHRISTINE De. (1999): Mesto dam. Ljubljana: Delta.
 ZUPAN SOSIČ, ALOJZIJA (2006): Robovi, mreže, robovi jaza, Sodobni slovenski roman, Litera, Maribor.
 ZUPAN SOSIČ, ALOJZIJA (2007): Spolni stereotipi in sodobni slovenski roman, Primerjalna književnost, vol. 30, no. 1.
 STATEN, H. (1995): Eros in Mourning – Homer to Lacan, Hopkins University Press, London.

Assessment

• active participation, continual knowledge assessment = 40% of the final grade • seminar assignment with a presentation = 60% of the final grade