Reading & Composition

Reading & Composition

Between Womxn
Course Number: 
Course Type or Level: 
Alex Brostoff, Marlena Gittleman
234 Dwinelle

This is a class about womxn. This is a class about between. This is a class about what happens between womxn. This is a class about what happens between languages between womxn. This is a class about the problems with the language used to represent womxn. This is a class about what happens between womxn and the page. This is a class about what happens between womxn and the social stage. This is a class about between: between texts; between affects; between tongues; between bodies; between womxn. And this class will be taught by two of them.

This class will be a collaborative inquiry. What does the “x” in “womxn” open up and/or close off? How does reading and writing about womxn construct, destabilize, and transgress boundaries of classification? How are such boundaries justified or complicated by their exceptions? How do past and present histories of violence and oppression impact our current imaginings? What are the possibilities and limitations of womxn’s writing as a mode of critique? These inquiries will enact spatial and temporal crossings as the language of intersectional, female-identified subjects informs our engagement with our texts and with each other.

As a reading and composition community, we will consider reading and writing as modes of engagement with womxn. We will read, think, and write critically, analytically, and intimately. We will close read and we will research; we will be generous; we will be sensitive; we will (re)discover pleasure in poetry and in prose. We will consider the role of the personal, the political, and the theoretical in the letter, the interview, translation, collaboration, and more. Indeed, we will read and write works that challenge how genre and gender are articulated and queered, separately and together. This class will culminate in a student-planned mini-conference in which we will share our work with each other and the greater campus community.

This course will draw on works by womxn and by feminists—likely including but not limited to: Silvina Ocampo, Audre Lorde, Virginia Woolf, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, bell hooks, Judith Butler, Monique Wittig, Chris Kraus, Clarice Lispector, Janet Mock, Adrienne Rich, Gayle Rubin, Hélène Cixous, Alejandra Pizarnik, Maggie Nelson, Marina Tsvetaeva, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Susan Sontag, Sara Ahmed, Gloria Anzaldúa, Sappho, and more. We will consider visual art, music, performance, film, and television. Part of this syllabus will be of your choosing; that is, we will collaborate to construct the final unit of this course as a community.