What does it mean to stand as a writer at a particular intersection of place and identity across many cultures? Reading novels, plays, poems, and non-fiction writing composed by contemporary women authors from around the world helps us understand how women’s cultural identity is complicated by place and other locations. Reading creative work written by women authors from around the world helps us all figure out where we belong; their cultural writing helps us locate feeling and thought, privilege and power, body and permissions. Literature written from many geographical locations helps us understand the rich variety of gendered constructions of body and sexuality as they change according to geography and cultural location. This course will also use contemporary women writers’ texts as sites from which to analyze the relationships among race, gender, sexuality, economic opportunities, region and community, social status, and politics and power. As we go on this voyage around the world we will read fiction, poetry, plays, and nonfiction written by contemporary women writers from around the globe. Students will read about each country, explore each port, and keep a travel journal of their first hand observations of the interactions between people in different places. We will be looking at how individual writers have negotiated cultures, sexuality, love, gender, economic opportunities, race, and imperialism. From an Indian woman writing about caste to a Vietnamese woman exploring what it means to cross cultures from Saigon to New York, from a Ghanaian woman writing a novel about post-independence to a South African writing nonfiction and allegory about racial tension, these writers ask questions of the past, speculate about the future, and question their present. Postcolonial and feminist theory will help us understand the larger narratives and locations of writers and the lives they conjure in their texts. Writers may include Arundhati Roy, Amma Darko, Nadine Gordimer, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Monique Truong, among others.
Field ClassCountry: Ghana
Date: September 27, 2017