Women and Literature: The Female, the Global, the Technological


Mother | Daughter | Virgin | Slut | Femme Fatale | Starlet | Celebrity | Spectacle | Sex Symbol | Voyeur | Computer | Cyborg | Program

This course examines a number of cultural texts (literary, cinematic, visual) to discuss the questions of gender, genre, form, representation, and production in a global networked context.

Questions that we will attempt to answer include: What happens when women, often the object of representation, reappropriate “the gaze,” and actively produce their own field of vision? How have femininity and womanhood traditionally has been defined? How are women and feminist authors destabilizing these established notions through their work? What genres and media forms have been utilized in mobilizing feminist praxis and why? How are class, race, and nation inflected upon the representation and production of femininity? How has the technological, informational, and networked world changed or complicated the ways in which the female is represented (or not)?

We will discuss the cultural production of gender by turning to recent and contemporary texts from various geographic and national sites. Theoretically, this class will offer an introduction to feminist theory, network and information theory, and theories of popular culture. There will be emphasis placed upon cyborg feminisms, transnational and third world feminisms, and the globalization of culture. Literature covered in this course will cover a range of genres and forms, including contemporary magical realism, epistolary narrative, speculative fiction, “hard” science fiction, and popular romance. Historically, we’ll start with the proto-feminist issues introduced in the 19th century and move forward in time to examine females and technology within cultural production: from the first computer programmer Ada Lovelace, to the female computers of WWII, the cybernetic bodies of cyberpunk, to the call-center operators today.

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