In “speculative” fiction, women writers, LGBTQ writers, and writers of color explore sex, gender, race, and class identity in radically creative ways. With monsters and aliens, vampires and werewolves, AI and time travelers, utopian lands and dystopian futures, writers like Rokheya Shekhawat Hossein, James Tiptree, Jr., Joanna Russ, Samuel R. Delany, Philip José Farmer, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, and Octavia Butler probe and challenge definitions of “natural” and “normal.” In this class, we read speculative short stories, novellas, and novels alongside critical works that elucidate their philosophical, intellectual, and literary contexts and concerns. This course carries a Cultural Awareness at Home flag, serves as the Senior Seminar in Women’s Studies, counts towards the English major and minor, and offers many opportunities to read, think, write, and talk about real social issues while studying imaginative literature.
Course Overview and Goals: This seminar seeks to explore objects, their makers, and the post-creation life of these objects. Informed by the theoretical approach “new museum theory” (Marstine) and “new museology” (Vergo), the primary focus is women but we will also look at self-taught artists, African American, LGBT producers, art historians, historians, and curators. After a brief overview, the course is divided into three categories: “the woman question”; Objects: Their Histories and Publics; and The Task of the Curator. A fourth section focuses on three museums in the United States dedicated to art, feminism, and African American History and Culture.
In this course, we will pose questions about the intersection of women as subject, object, and creators of art as well. We will investigate museums and exhibitions, along with the practice of feminist curation while disclosing the feminist point of view with regard to art historical methodologies. Beyond the art historical and museological contexts, we will pay heed to the broad framework of Women’s Studies, which may be defined as “an interdisciplinary academic program that examines our awareness of gender and sexuality, and the ways their constructions affect our daily lives” (GC catalogue). Taking art history and women’s studies as our interdisciplinary anchors, we will examine women and other minoritized and marginalized groups, art, and curation.
This class is open to all students, all majors. There is no formal pre-requisite although students need to demonstrate proficiency in research (i.e., by passing ENG 112 or 115), have an interest in discussing readings, and an openness to looking at cultural identity through works of art, architecture, and museum exhibitions. This course carries the W and CAH flags.