26044 - Feminist Methodology: Interdisciplinary Methods in Women's Studies - Feminist Methodology: Interdisciplinary Methods in Gender and Women's Studies

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The student develops awareness of the diverse methodologies employed in gender and feminist studies in an interdisciplinary perspective.

Course contents

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world”: debates on the woman’s question between second and third wave feminism(s).

The course will focus on feminist methods and methodologies and will discuss the main important manifestos of second wave feminism and the main differences between second and third wave feminism(s). Its aim is to familiarize students with the origins of feminist literary criticism and the methodological debates within women’s and gender studies in a trans-disciplinary perspective.

It will explain the notion of re-vision, resisting reading, situated knowledge(s) and multipositionality/intersectionality, in order to enable the students to interrogate the canon formation, women’s genealogies, women’s access to knowledge and education, and the processes of inclusion and exclusion of female writers in and from the places where knowledge is produced and circulates.

The course will also discuss the interconnection between genre and gender, the implications of stereotypes of the woman writer and the restrictions of her artistic autonomy. The course will examine the roles that women have played in literature as characters, as readers, and most importantly as writers and critics. It will focus on some literary texts written by women and consider how women writers explore gender issues such as relationships between men and women, access to education and knowledge, as well as issues pertaining to class, race, sexuality and age.

In doing so, the primary sources chosen for the course will be interrogated to show the way in which they perpetuate, transform, question or resist systems of inclusion and exclusion, patriarchy and relations of power based on gender discriminations.


Primary Sources


Aphra Behn Oroonoko or the Royal Slave, 1688,

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Turkish Embassy Letters, 1763

Mary Shelley Frankenstein. Or the Modern Prometheus (1818/1832)

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, 1849

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, 1969

Lessons will make reference to the following Bibliography of Secondary texts (essays, articles, volumes). Students will be requested to choose texts/essays/articles from the following list.

NB: Bibliography and other information will be provided also during the classes (and then published on the online reading list and program). Students are requested to check the online program also during the course for further notice and information.

Bibliography of Secondary Texts

Baccolini, Raffaella, Vita Fortunati, M. Giulia Fabi, Rita Monticelli Critiche femministe e teorie letterarie, (a cura di) Bologna, Clueb, 1997. (selected essays)

Baccolini Raffaella, Le prospettive di genere. Discipline, Soglie, Confini, Bologna, Bononia UP, 2005 (selected essays).

Catherine Belsey and J. Moore (eds.) The Feminist Reader, Palgrave McMillan 1989, selected essays.

Crisafulli, L. M. and Golinelli, G. (eds Women’s Voices and
Genealogies in Literary Studies in English,
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, 2019. (selected chapters).

Boer Inge E., “Despotism from under the veil: Masculine and Feminine Readings of the Despot and the Harem”, in Cultural Critique, 32, 1995-1996, pp. 43-73.

Ferguson, Margaret W., “Juggling the categories of race, class, and gender: Aphra Behn's Oroonoko”, pp. 209-224, in Hendricks Margo and Patricia Parker (eds.) Women, Race and Writing in the Early Modern Period, London, New York, Routledge, 1994.

Friedman, Susan Stanford, “Locational Feminism: Gender, Cultural Geographies, and Geopolitical Literacy”, available at: http://www.women.it/cyberarchive/files/stanford.htm

Gilberta Golinelli, Gender Models, Alternative Communities and Women's Utopianism. Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn and Mary Astell, Bologna, Bononia University Press, 2018 (Selected chapters)

Gilbert S. and Gubar S., The Madwoman in the Attic. The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1979 (selected chapters).

Haraway, Donna “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective”, Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3. (Autumn, 1988), pp. 575-599.

Kolodney, A .:

-“Some Notes on Defining a Feminist Literary Criticism”, Critical Inquiry n. 2, 1975, pp. 75-92.

-“Dancing Through the Minefield: Some Observations on the Theory, Practice, and Politics of a Feminist Literary Criticism”, in E. Showalter (ed.), The New Feminist Criticism. Essays on Women, Literature and Theory, Virago, London, 1989.

Lowe Lisa, Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalism , Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, 1991 the following chapters:

“Discourse and Heterogeneity: Situating Orientalism”, pp. 1-29

“Travel Narratives and Orientalism: Montagu and Montesquieu”, pp. 30-74. (available in the reader)

Hoeveler, Diane Long, Frankenstein, feminism, and , literary theory, inThe Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley. Ed. Esther Schor. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Mohanty Chandra Talpade, “Under Western Eyes Feminist Scholarship and colonial Discourse”, in Feminist Review, n 30, 1988, pp. 61-88.

Pacheco A., “Royalism and Honor in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko”, Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, n.3, pp. 491- 506.

Rich, A .:

“When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision”, College English, Vol. 34, No. 1, Women, Writing and Teaching, Oct., 1972, pp. 18-30.

-----------“Notes towards a politics of location” (1984), in Blood, Bread and Poetry. Selected prose 1979-1985, London, New York, Norton Company, 1986, pp. 210-231.

-----------“Jane Eyre: The Temptations of a Motherless Woman”, in On lies, secret and silence, Selected Prose 1966-1978, Norton and Company, New York and London, 1979, pp. 89-106.

Roth, Benita, Separate Roads to Feminism. Black, Chicana, and White Feminist

Movements in America's Second Wave, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2004. (selected chapters)

Showalter, E., A Literature of their own: from Charlotte Bronte to Doris Lessing, Virago, London, 1978. “Introduction”.

"Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness", Critical Inquiry, Vol. 8, No. 2, Writing and Sexual Difference, (Winter, 1981), pp. 179- 205.

------------- The female malady: women, madness, and English culture: 1830-1980, London Virago, 1987, (selected chapters).

-------------“Women and the Literary Curriculum”, College English, Vol. 32, 1971, pp. 855-662

Smith, Barbara, “Toward a Black Feminist Criticism”, The Radical Teacher, No. 7 (March, 1978), pp. 20-27

Spender, Dale , “Women and Literary History”, in The Feminist Reader, eds by Catherine Belsey and J. Moore, Palgrave McMillan 1989, pp. 16-25.

Walker, Alice “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: The Creativity of Black Women in the South” (1974). (available in the reader)

Woolf, Virginia, A Room of one’s Own, 1929.

Teaching methods

The course will consist of frontal lessons and seminars, film

Assessment methods

Active participation in class discussions: 25%.

Final oral exams: 75%

The final oral exam will test the student's knowledge of the methodologies employed and her/his ability to combine theories with the analysis of the primary texts chosen. Students are requested to be able to articulate their thought in English and to have an accurate knowledge of the bibliography chosen for the exam. NB: Students are requested to know the primary texts chosen for the exam in great details.

Those students who are able to demonstrate a wide and systematic understanding of the issues covered during classes, are able to use gender theoretical and methodlogical tools critically and who master the field-specific language of the discipline will be given a mark of excellence. Those students who demonstrate a mnemonic knowledge of the subject with a more superficial analytical ability and ability to synthesize, a correct command of the language but not always appropriate, will be given a satisfactory mark. A superficial knowledge and understanding of the material, a scarce analytical and expressive ability that is not always appropriate will be rewarded with a ‘pass' mark. Students who demonstrate gaps in their knowledge of the subject matter, inappropriate language use, lack of familiarity with the literature in the program bibliography will not be given a pass mark.


Attendance and class participation will also be assessed as a component of the final overall mark.

Teaching tools

Power Point, films and IOL

Office hours

See the website of Gilberta Golinelli