Dept Banner
Dept Banner

362 - WOMEN’S LIVES AND LITERATURE*

core

Course Description:

The course -- taught in English -- aims at introducing undergraduate students to some of the foremost issues concerning contemporary women’s writing in the Italian context. For a long time such questions have been conveniently forgotten or evaded (i.e. repressed and erased) in literary and critical debates, and most of these women writers are still excluded from the canon. Only in recent years the specificity and significance of these works have been recognized, in both the American and the Italian intellectual arenas, thus provoking a thorough critical inquiry. The result of this body of research has been the reappraisal and an enriched understanding of pivotal texts, whose novelty and peculiarity had previously been ignored. These works testify to women’s struggle toward social and economic freedom and the pursuit of knowledge, from the end of the 19th century to the present. Some of these texts also illustrate original models of political engagement.

The course will focus on the features of women’s writing that react against women’s marginalization, fashioning forms of resistance to patriarchal culture and defining new models of agency. We will analyze the historical, cultural, social and economic conflicts that these works reflect and denounce.

Learning Goals:

The course aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of key cultural, social, and gender issues related to women’s lives and literary output in the Italian context from the late 19th century to the present. Through readings, class discussions, and written assignments, the course is designed to foster the development of essential analytical and critical skills that students can apply to diverse historical periods and cultural frameworks.

Departmental Goals II and III: Cultural Proficiency and Professional Preparation.

This course satisfies the Core Curriculum Learning Goal: AH (o and p).

Area of Inquiry C: Arts and Humanities

Goals o and p:

o. Examine critically theoretical issues concerning the nature of reality, human experience, knowledge, value, and the cultural production related to the topics addressed.

p. Analyze arts and literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, cultures, and technologies.

Required Texts:

  • Sibilla Aleramo. A Woman. Translated from the Italian, and with an Afterword by Rosalind Delmar. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1980 (ISBN: 9780520049499; pbk), available at the Rutgers University Bookstore, One Penn Plaza
  • Grazia Deledda. Cosima. Translated from the Italian by Martha King. New York: Italica Press, 1988 (ISBN: 9780934977067; pbk), available at the Rutgers University Bookstore, One Penn Plaza
  • Neera, Teresa. Translated from the Italian by Martha King. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1998 (ISBN 0810116626; pbk), available at the Rutgers University Bookstore, One Penn Plaza
  • Additional readings (such as short stories and critical essays) will be made available on SAKAI.

Course Requirements and Grade distribution:

The abilities defined in the learning goals will be assessed through oral and written activities.

Active class participation (10%); Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions.

One oral presentation (10%); Students are required to give a 10-minute presentation on a topic discussed with the instructor. Their performance will be evaluated according to their effectiveness in communicating as well as the thoroughness of their critical analysis of the subject.

Two 3-page papers (25%); Students are required to analyze a literary or visual text, discussing at least three sources linked to their topic. They are expected to demonstrate the ability to address and communicate complex ideas in standard written English.

Midterm exam (25%); The exam comprises two essay questions on the topics discussed in the first part of the course. It assesses each student’s ability to engage critically with the issues tackled in the course in relation to their historical, social, and cultural background as well as with the theoretical concepts expounded in the course.

Final exam (30%); The exam comprises two essay questions on the topics discussed after the Midterm. It assesses each student’s ability to engage critically with the issues tackled in the course in relation to their historical, social, and cultural background as well as with the theoretical concepts expounded in the course.

Contact Us

Department of Italian
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
15 Seminary Place, #5105
New Brunswick, NJ 08901


Voice (848) 932-7031
Fax (732) 932-1686

Sheri La Macchia, Administrator

facebook instagram