Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Theories of Literature 3: Gender and Power

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit aims to investigate issues of difference as a systematic foundation for gender inequality.

The study-unit examines the extent to which ‘difference’ is not a biological principle but a cultural construct which is embedded in language and society and reflected in literature and structures of power. It will begin with a brief history of feminism before proceeding to other considerations. Attention will be given to the construction of literary canons; to the institution of literature in universities; to the various perceptions of the relationship between literature and life; to the role of the author; and to the cultural creation of the gendered subject through language.

Reading List:

Cameron, Deborah, ed., The Feminist Critique of Language: A Reader (London: Routledge, 1990)
de Beauvoir, Simone, The Second Sex (1949; Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983)
During, Simon, Foucault and Literature: Towards a Genealogy of Writing (London: Routledge, 1992)
Foucault, Michel, ‘What is an Author?’ (1979). [English translation available in many readers on literary theory and on Foucault]
Millet, Kate, Sexual Politics (London: Virago, 1977)
Morris, Pam, Literature and Feminism: An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993)
NcNay, Lois, Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992)
Showalter, Elaine, A Literature of Their Own: From Charlotte Bronte to Doris Lessing, rev. edn (London: Virago, 1999)
Woolf, Virginia, A Room of One’s Own (1929; London: Penguin, 2002)


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Janice Sant

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