In this course, we will read work by a diverse group of Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century women writers, including the Vietnamese non-fiction writer Le Li Hayslip, the Chinese author Lu Min, the Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, and the Ghanian poet Abenia Busia, among others. We will begin by considering the barriers women often face to telling their own stories and we will expand our understanding of the ways stories are told depending on the conventions of a given culture. Virginia Woolf famously insisted that a woman writer needs economic means and a room of her own, but this is a very privileged, Western perspective, thus we will explore women’s stories that might remain unwritten. With this in mind, this course will include an introduction to ethnography and an assignment in which an “untold” women’s story is recorded. We will go beyond simply studying the assigned literary works; we will attempt to study these works in conjunction with what we learn about women’s lives in the various countries in which these texts were written.
*Note: This class is delivered when lunch is served.
Field WorkCountry: India
Date: March 5, 2020
Students will collect stories of local women by interviewing them, transcribing or editing the interview and/or writing nonfiction and/or journalistic pieces about the women they interview and the process of interviewing them.
1. Broaden students’ understanding of women’s lives and stories beyond those that we read for the course
2. Allow students to have a hands-on experience with Indian women and culture
3. Allow students to participate in one of the Semester at Sea's primary goals for field programs of fostering human expression and the arts