Women in Literature
Florida State University-Valencia Study Center
Area of Study
Literature, Women's Studies
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Recommended U.S. Semester Credits0
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units0
Hours & Credits
Using Virginia Woolf's landmark essay, A Room of One's Own (1929), as the basis for our discussion, we will analyze representative texts by women writers in the trans-Atlantic Diaspora with a focus on the role of England as the (M)Other country. More precisely, our readings will permit us to examine the ways in which England -- as a literal place and a symbolic entity bound with certain political, social, and economic constructs -- continues to engage the literary imaginations of women across time and space.
Our primary concern is with the politics involved in authorial attempts to mediate the space between the writer's present geographical locale and England as either a place of origin or destination. Of necessity, our investigation takes into account works by writers writing abroad, especially those in an Anglophone Caribbean locale. Writing by Jamaica Kincaid (Antigua), Michelle Cliff (Jamaica), and others will thus be situated alongside texts by Pauline Melville (British Guiana), Jean Rhys (Dominica), and Joan Riley (England). Key concerns at the center of our discussion include the following: tropes of migration, exile, and home; border crossing and the shifting identity of the migratory subject; cultural hybridity; representations of the female body in post-colonial literature; the role of women in insurgent movements; the Creolization of language among the immigrant population; and the place of folklore -- symbolic acts of religion, speech, and music -- within an indigenous population.
Ultimately, our goal is to trouble Woolf's early Twentieth-Century assertion, "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction," in a reading of a range of texts by post-colonial women who attempt to challenge established notions of place, identity, and narrative by writing back to the British Empire.
Our objectives are as follows:
1. To become familiar with a range of female writers in the trans-Atlantic Diaspora and their literary and cultural ties with the United Kingdom;
2.To investigate the conversational relationship between post-colonial women writers in England, South America, Africa, the Caribbean, the United States;
3.To enhance an appreciation for and understanding of women writers' contribution to the British Literary Tradition;
4.To visit some of the cultural, historical, and political sites relevant to the production of British and Anglophone expressive culture in the trans-Atlantic world; and
5.To fine-tune critical, analytical, research, and writing skills in the interpretation of literary texts.
*Readings may change from semester to semester*
Jamaica Kincaid, Annie John
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
Michelle Cliff, Abeng
Pauline Melville, The Migration of Ghosts
Joan Riley, The Unbelonging
Recommended Readings: (available on Blackboard)
Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
Toni Morrison, ?Home? (in Wahneema Lubiano, ed. The House That Race Built)
Carol Boyce Davies, ?Writing Home: Gender, Heritage, and Identity in Afro-
Caribbean Women?s Writing in the U. S.,? (in Migrations of the Subject)
Bell hooks, ?Homeplace: A Site of Resistance? (in Yearning)
W. E. B . DuBois, ?Of Our Spiritual Strivings? (in The Souls of Black Folk)
Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic
Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture
Course Requirements and Grade Distribution:
Attendance (in-class and excursions); Readings;
and Class Discussion 30%
Analytical Responses 30%
Comprehensive Final Examination 40%
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
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