Overview of Course
Using works written by women from Europe, Asia, North and sub-Saharan Africa, this course explores the relationship between the politics of modernity and the emergence of transnational women writers. While 20th century women writers from around the globe have explored the possibilities and promises of modernity, they have also delineated its ambiguities and contradictions, its hidden costs and unintended consequences—for individuals, families and societies. However, the women selected from those locations designated for the spring, 2024 Semester at Sea voyage have done something more and different in their work. They have disrupted the familiar dichotomy between modernity and tradition and created compelling representations of the misuse and abuse of tradition especially with regard to gender. Reading and analyzing the fiction, poetry, drama and essays by women from Japan, Korea, China, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, India, Morocco and Ireland, will enable course participants to examine the ways in which these writers affirm ethnic, national and cultural identities as they engage the historical and socio-political transformations wrought by modernity. At the same time, we will also identify the ways in which these women intentionally and paradoxically interrogate and problematize their identity as writers, as women located in specific time and place, who seek to represent human experience in their societies as they honor the demands of their own creative sensibilities.