What is the course about?
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, ides of the public intellectual, and institutional racism and misogyny.
Katie Da Cunha Lewin is a teacher and researcher based in London. She has a PhD in literature, focussing 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 Picturehouse Cinemas.
What will we cover?
We will look at many different topics, such as race, sexuality, gender, as well as ideas around self, culture and language. Work will include:
Joan Didion – Play It as It Lays (1970)
Siri Hustvedt, excerpts from The Blazing World (2014)
Chris Kraus, I Love Dick (1997)
Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (2004)
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)
Alice Walker, various short stories and essays.
Amy Tan, excerpts from The Joy Luck Club (1989)
Grace Paley, various short stories
Lucia Berlin, various short stories
Jane Bowles, various short stories.
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?
- You will need to be enthusiastic about reading and sharing ideas
- You will need to do the reading and make responsive notes
- You will need to respond to a range of ideas and materials in class
- You will work in a group and in pairs and feedback on your ideas.
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 class and bring some ideas for discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Copies of the novels mentioned above
The course pack (provided by the lecturer).
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look up Literature courses in the prospectus under Humanities or on the website under History, Culture and Writing.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details