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Gender/Nation/Subjectivity

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  1 | Page  Gender/Nation/Subjectivity: Lines of Control "Return to me the substance I have lost, Mr. Foe."  —   Foe , John M. Coetzee   Cheshire Correctional Institution, CT (CPE, Wesleyan University) Spring 2014 Instructor: Sabrina Sadique E-mail: ssadique@fas.harvard.edu How does gender fit its bodies to the discourse of nationalism? Are code-heavy subjects locked by state-margins? Are cultural frontiers gendered? Are nations symbolically female and their protectors male? Do “ we ”  territorialize subjectivities because they are easier to govern when defined, polarized, and shorn of heterogeneity ? Who are “we”? French theorist Hélène Cixous urges women to write the “self” into existence but often this exertion of inscriptive ontology demands its detachment from the core of a nation that srcinated on a promise to “protect” womanhood (think of symbolic national mothers  —  Brittania, Bharat Mata, Marianne of France). If the female body is hailed as the soil of an ideological body (body politic, nation, religion) that depends on an other for protection from foreign trespass, what methods must she seek to extricate her consciousness from the state-lock? If writing is one such method, does it necessarily entail both erasure and autonomy  —  that is, the negation of gendered, nationalist mythology on the one hand, and affirmation of mapless, subversive individuality on the other? Is writing a postlapsarian condition, a state of chosen disobedience? An expulsion from home, a fall from transcendence? Are all textualizations of gender-disavowals fruitfully treasonous? We will explore recurrent symptoms of ontological distress in narratives where women’s bodies are figured as the stage for emerging “ nations ”  to play out their drama. Texts will span political geographies that include post-Civil War Ohio, pre- and postcolonial India, postcolonial Caribbean and South Africa, post-revolution Iran, and a post-apocalyptic American road. The readings will test our counterintuitive capability and urge that we hone and resist taxonomic instincts. The goal is not to resolve these difficult questions but to understand that  probing them requires a wide array of analytic lenses. We will examine if perspectival multiplicity has the power to dissolve the boundaries between (and within) genders and culture bared by these texts.  2 | Page  Required Texts (in the order of our reading) 1.   Foe    by John M. Coetzee | ISBN-10: 842042496X) 2.    Beloved  by Toni Morrison | ISBN-10: 1400033411 3.    Jane Eyre  by Charlotte Brontë | ISBN-10: 0393975428 4.   Wide Sargasso Sea    by Jean Rhys | ISBN-10: 0393960129 5.   Cracking India  by Bapsi Sidhwa | ISBN-10: 1571310487 6.    Disgrace  by John M. Coetzee | ISBN-10: 0670887315 7.   The Road     by Cormac McCarthy | ISBN-10: 0307387895 8.    Persepolis  by Marjane Satrapi | ISBN-10: 0375714839 Requirements :  —    One page, single-spaced, weekly response on readings  —    Class attendance and participation  —    A final, double-spaced, 10-page essay (due on Thursday, May 1 ). Dates to remember: 1.   Thursday, April 3  —  1-page abstract of final paper due in class   2.   Thursday April 17   —  5 to 7-page rough draft of final paper due in class 3.    May 1  —  Hard copy of final 10-page essay due (submission details will be discussed in class) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  —  Genesis 2:21-23 (King James Version) For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.  Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.  —  1 Corinthians 11:8-9 (King James Version) January 31 Introduction   Foe    by John M. Coetzee (Excerpts)    —    Genesis 2:21-23; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9  —    John M. Coetzee’s Nobel Lecture, “He and His Man” (2003)    3 | Page  February 6 Foe    by John M. Coetzee   (Continued)  —    The Second Sex   (Introduction; “Woman’s Situation and Character”) by Simone de Beauvoir [handout] February 13  Beloved  by Toni Morrison    —    “Looking into the Self That Is No Self: An Examination of Subjectivity in  Beloved  ” by Jennifer L. Holden -Kirwan (  African American Review  32.3 (1998): 415  –  26) [handout]   February 20    Jane Eyre  by Charlotte Brontë (Chapters I-XX)  —    “The ‘Uncanny’” (Excerpt) by Sigmund Freud    —    The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination  (Selections) by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar    February 27  Jane Eyre  by Charlotte Brontë (Chapters XXI-XXXVIII) March 6 Wide Sargasso Sea    by Jean Rhys March 27 Wide Sargasso Sea  (discussion continued)  —    “ ‘Like in Looking Glass’: History and Narrative in Wide Sargasso Sea ” by Lee Erwin (  Novel   22.2 (1989): 143-58) [handout]    —    “ ‘  Now every word she said was echoed, echoed loudly in my head': Christophine's Language and Refractive Space in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea " (  Journal of Narrative Theory  37.1 (Winter 2007): 87-103) [handout]  —    “ Three Women ’ s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism ”  by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak ( Critical Inquiry  12.1 (1985): 243-61) [handout]  —    “The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in  psychoanalytic experience” by Jacques Lacan [optional]    4 | Page  April 3 Cracking India  by Bapsi Sidhwa  —    The Other Side of Silence : Voices From the Partition of India (Selections)  by Urvashi Butalia [handout]    —    “The Nation and its Women” in The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories  (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press: 116-134) by Partha Chatterjee [handout]   *Film Screening: "Earth" (1998), Dir. Deepa Mehta  —  1-page abstract of final paper due in class  —   April 10    Disgrace  by John M. Coetzee  —    “ Beyond empathy: narrative distancing and ethics in Toni Morrison's  Beloved   and J. M. Coetzee's  Disgrace ”  by Molly Abel Travis (  Journal of  Narrative Theory  40:2 (2010): 231-50) [handout]    —    “ Rape and the violence of representation in J. M. Coetzee's  Disgrace ”  by Carine M. Mardorossian (  Research in African Literatures , Vol. 42.4 (Winnter 2011): 72-83) [handout] April 17 The Road     by Cormac McCarthy  —    “After the End: A Response” by Cathy Caruth ( Studies in the Literary  Imagination  41.2 (Fall 2008): 121-129) [handout]  —  5 to 7-page rough draft of final paper due in class  —    April 24    Persepolis  by Marjane Satrapi  —    “Frames and Mirrors in Marjane Satrapi’s  Persepolis ”    by Babak Elahi ( Symploke 15:1-2 (2007): 312-325)   [handout]  —    “Unveiling:  Persepolis  as Embodied Performance ”  by Jennifer Worth ( Theater Research International   32:2 (2007): 143-160)   [handout]  —    Storace, Patricia. “A Double Life in Black and White” by Patricia Storace (  New York Review of Books  52:6, 7 April 2005 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2005/apr/07/a-double-life-in- black-and-white/)[handout] May 1   Final Essay due

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Apr 16, 2018
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