Contemporary American literature by Women

Course Dates: 06/06/22 - 11/07/22
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online
The American canon is dominated by white, male writers. In this course, we seek to rectify this by exploring the work of women from all backgrounds working across disciplines. Authors include Joan Didion, Claudia Rankine, and Siri Hustvedt.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £54.00

This course has now started

Course Code: HLT55

Started Mon, eve, 06 Jun - 11 Jul '22

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online literature course will delve into the writing of six women. In this course we span the decades of the 20th century until the present day to look at the work of various American writers of note. We explore the rich variety of writing undertaken by women to explore ideas around gender, sexuality, politics, art, activism, self-expression and much more. We consider how fiction can shape, challenge and extend identity, and question how and why women have been eradicated from the pantheon of famous American writers. We think about canon-building, ideas of the public intellectual, and institutional racism and misogyny.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

The writers we will look at are Lucia Berlin, Jane Bowles, Grace Paley, Joan Didion, Siri Hustvedt, and Claudia Rankine. We will look at many different topics, such as race, sexuality, gender, as well as ideas around self, culture and language.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Discuss contemporary writing by women confidently
- Identify linkages between different kinds of writing
- Consider the challenges faced by women of different backgrounds
- Evaluate and analyse texts more confidently
- Discuss gender and sexuality and its representation in fiction, poetry and essays.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

All levels are welcome. This course is open to anyone who is interested in reading and discussing contemporary American literature through close reading of the texts.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be taught with some mini-introductory lectures, as well as group discussion. There will also be pair and group work. You will need to read the books in advance of the relevant class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please buy or borrow copies of the following books:

Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays (1970)
Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World (2014)
Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (2004)

Short stories will be provided by the tutor.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Have a look at all our Fiction courses at under History, Culture and Writing/Literature/Fiction.

Katie Da Cunha Lewin

Katie Da Cunha Lewin is a teacher and researcher based in London. She has a PhD in literature, focusing on the novels of J.M. Coetzee and Don DeLillo. She is the co-editor of Don DeLillo: Contemporary Critical Perspectives published by Bloomsbury and recently wrote an entry on Don DeLillo for the Dictionary of Literary Biography. In addition to teaching at City Lit, Katie teaches courses on literature, theory and film at the University of Sussex, Bishopsgate, the IF Project and at Picturehouse Cinemas.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.