Harriet JacobsVirginia WoolfZora Neale HurstonCharlotte BronteMaxine Hong Kingston

English 205.69327:  Women's Autobiography and Bildungsroman
Spring 2008
TR 1-2:30 pm
4021 Wescoe

Course website: http://people.ku.edu/~kconrad/205s08.html
Blackboard website:  https://courseware.ku.edu/webapps/login/?campus_id=1

Professor Kathryn Conrad
Office hours: Wednesdays 1-3:30
Office:  3043 Wescoe, 4-2572
(Secondary office: 202 Nunemaker, 4-3314)

last updated 3-13-08


In this course, we will examine a popular and powerful literary genres embraced and challenged by women writers over the years: the autobiography and the bildungsroman, or novel of development. We will read and discuss these works with attention to a number of questions:  what is the self? What conditions affect the development of the self? What does gender have to do with selfhood and authorship? What is the  subject of autobiography? What choices must be made when making a life into a narrative? What is the relationship between authorship and authority? We will also explore questions of voice, authority, genre, and purpose with attention to the writing students will produce for the course; students are encouraged to write one autobiographical essay. Students will help to choose at least one of the texts we will read. 

Texts (partial list):

Jane Eyre; Bronte, Charlotte; 0393975428 Norton PB 2001
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Jacobs, Harriet; 0156443503 Harvest PB 1983
Mrs Dalloway; Woolf, Virginia; 0156628708 Harvest/HB PB 1981
Their Eyes Were Watching God; Hurston, Zora Neale; 0061120065 Harper PB 2006
The Woman Warrior; Kingston, Maxine Hong; 0679721886 Vintage PB 1989
Fun Home; Bechdel, Alison; 0618871713 Mariner PB 2007 REQ N

Other information:
This course is cross-referenced with
Women's Studies

The Department of English reserves the right to terminate administratively the enrollment of any student who misses two consecutive class meetings during the first two weeks of the semester. Should an emergency situation cause the student to miss two consecutive class meetings, the student should contact the instructor(s) or the English Department, 864-4520, immediately. Students are expected to submit promptly requests to drop should they decide to disenroll from English classes.

Attendance is required. More than 5 unexcused absences, counting from the first day of your enrollment in this course, will result in failure of this course. Work in other classes, away games (unless you are an athlete with documentation and have approved your absences with me at the start of the semester), hangovers, and vacations do not count as excused absences. If you are in doubt, ask me.

The rest of your participation grade includes in-class participation, discussion questions, and occasional small group work.  Students are required to have a registered e-mail account and to access the course website for updated information, assignments, and discussion blogs, available on the Blackboard site.  Students are expected to participate in discussion online at least 4 times: at least twice before Spring Break, and at least twice more before the last day of class.  Class meetings that are cancelled by the university (e.g., for weather) or by me will be made up in online discussion and assignments and participation in such discussion will count for attendance; such participation will not count toward the 4 minimum postings. Students who must be absent, either excused or unexcused, should make up for their participation by posting more online (absences themselves cannot be made up).
Students will be expected to write two essays of 6 pp for this course, the second of which can be an autobiographical essay.  More information about each writing assignment will be available online at the Blackboard website.
There will a final exam for the course (identification and short essay). 

I reserve the right to give reading quizzes (generally unannounced, and worth 5 points each).

Other resources:
Plagiarism is stealing and passing off someone else's ideas or words as one's own or using information from another's work without crediting the source. Any detected cheating offense--including but not limited to plagiarism; the unauthorized use of crib sheets, texts, or other materials during an examination or quiz; the copying of another student's work (even with the permission or aid of that student, who is thereby culpable); the use of prewritten essays (the student's own or someone else's); the uncredited adoption of another writer's interpretation of a work; or the unauthorized use of work written for another assignment or class--will be reported to the University. A record of each verified offense will be kept throughout the student's association with the University (Adapted from FSE statement).

Plagiarism is not a game, nor is it simply a "shortcut" when time presses.  It is a very serious form of academic misconduct and will be treated as such in this class. When you consult outside sources for ideas--through published or unpublished essays, interviews, the Internet, conversation, etc.--you must cite those sources in your work. I understand that academic work can be daunting, even for the best of students: if you are struggling with an assignment, are unclear about my expectations, or are behind on your work, please consult me. There is always a better path than plagiarism; I can work with you to help you find your own voice while incorporating others' ideas appropriately. If after reading the statement above, you are still unclear about what constitutes  plagiarism, ask me BEFORE turning in an assignment.

A plagiarized  assignment will result in failure of the assignment (no credit given); it also impacts your larger course grade more than a paper that merely receives an F, and will usually result in failure of the course. The Department of English has a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism. Formal records are currently kept by the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I may also send a copy of the plagiarism form to the home department of any student who is found to have plagiarized.

Th Jan 17: Introduction

T Jan 22: Bronte
Th Jan 24: Bronte

T Jan 29: Bronte
Th Jan 31: Bronte

T Feb 5: Bronte, finish.
Th Feb 7: Jacobs through ch. X;   vote on texts.

T Feb 12: Jacobs through ch. XXVI.
Th Feb 14: Jacobs. finish.

T Feb 19: Woolf through 69.  
PAPER #1: complete draft due.
Th Feb 21: Woolf  through 102.

T Feb 26: Woolf through 165.
Th Feb 28:  Woolf, finish.

T Mar 4: Hurston
Th Mar 6: Hurston

T Mar 11: Hurston. 

Th Mar 13: Hurston.


T Mar 25: Kingston, 1st chapter
Th Mar 27: Kingston. 

T Apr 1: Kingston
Th Apr 3: Kingston  
PAPER #1 due:  final revision.

T Apr 8: Tan
Th Apr 10
: Tan  

T Apr 15
: Tan
Th Apr 17: no class; start Winterston

T Apr 22
: Winterston Paper # 2: draft due (optional).
Th Apr 24: no class

T Apr 29:
Movie screening
Th May 1: Movie discussion

T Apr 6: Bechdel
Th Apr 8:  Bechdel. Last day of class.  Evaluations.  Paper #2 due: final revision.


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