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

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Gilberta Golinelli

  • Credits 8

  • SSD L-LIN/10

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Modern, Post-Colonial and Comparative Literatures (cod. 0981)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Sep 28, 2022 to Dec 14, 2022


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

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

Course contents

“Had our education been answerable to theirs, we might have proved as good soldiers and privy councellors, rulers and commanders, navigators and architectors, and as learned as scholars both in arts and sciences, as men are” (Margaret Cavendish, 1662).

Debates on education, female authorship and canon formation and their interconnection with the rise of feminist literary criticism.

Moving from the debates between second and third wave feminism, the course will investigate some feminist research methods in literary criticism focusing on how feminist and gender studies challenge the major methodologies employed for the interpretation of literary texts written by both men and women. The aim of the course is to provide students with critical tools which enable them to re-read women’s access to knowledge and education, female authorship, canon formation and the processes of exclusion and inclusion of female writers from and within the literary canon and the public sphere. The course will be divided into two parts. The first part will introduce students to the main important methodologies in women’s and gender studies with specific reference to some manifestos of second and third wave feminism(s) and their temporal rhetoric of ‘awakening’ and ‘space’. It will explore the debates on canon formation and female genealogy and explain the notion of re-vision, resisting reading, politics of location and situated knowledge. It will also examine the categories of gender, class, ethnicity, race and sexuality and their interconnection. In doing so, the course will stimulate critical thinking and favour the analysis of some emblematic literary texts written by women in different historical moments.

The second part of the course will be devoted to a close reading of some emblematic literary texts written by women that belong to different literary genres. These texts (and genres) will be explored in order to interrogate how women negotiated their agency in the public sphere, in the print market and in the political, economic and social order. These texts will be also examined in order to discuss the way in which they resist or perpetuate patriarchy, gender inequality and heterosexual politics of desire and sexuality. But they will also be interrogated to see how they contributed, together with their interpretation and appropriation across time and space, to place the female self within a specific social order, to define the otherness of race and gender, and to establish relations of power between men and women, but also subjects who become geographically, ethnically and culturally distinct.



Primary texts:

The Convent of Pleasure, (1668), Margaret Cavendish

Oroonoko, 1688, Aphra Behn

The Turkish Embassy Letters, 1718-1719, (1769) Lady Wortley Montague (selected letters)

Jane Eyre, 1849, Charlotte Bronte

Wide Sargasso Sea, 1969, Jean Rhys

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 during the course (and then published on the online reading list and program). Students are requested to check the online program during the course for further notice and information.

-NB: Other essays/articles may be added during the course:

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).

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

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.

Figlerowicz, Marta , “Frightful Spectacles of a Mangled King”: Aphra Behn's Oroonoko and the Narration Through Theatre”, New Literary History, 2008, vol. 39, pp.321-334.

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

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).

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

Kietzman Mary Jo, “ Montagu's Turkish Embassy Letters and Cultural Dislocation”, SEL, 38 (1998), pp. 537-551.

Kolodney, A.:

-“Some Notes on Defining a ‘Feminist Literary Criticism'”, Critical Inquiry n. 2, 1975, pp. 75-92. (available in the reader)

-“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. (available in the reader)

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.

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

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. (available in the reader)

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

-----------“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.

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.

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

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

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty , “Three women's texts and a Critique of Imperialism”, The Feminist reader, eds by Catherine Belsey and J. Moore, Palgrave McMillan 1989, pp. 148-163.

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

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, (Compulsory)

Students are requested to analyze 3 primary texts (to be chosen amongst the 5 texts in the Reading list of the primary sources) and articles/essays/chapters from the Reading list of the Secondary sources.

NB. A Room of one’s own by Virginia Woolf is compulsory and is considered as a secondary text.

Teaching methods

The course includes both lessons and seminars with the active participation of the students. Students who cannot attend lessons must contact the lecturer during her office hours, or via e-mail before the end of the course. Students are requested to check the online program also during the course for further notice and information.

Assessment methods

Students are requested to analyse 3 primary texts (to be chosen amongst the 5 texts in the Reading list of the primary sources), articles/essays/chapters from the Reading list of the Secondary sources + A Room of one’s Own, 1929 by V. Woolf.

Active participation + presentation: 35 %.

Final oral exams: 65%

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 methodological 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

The Powerpoint files that will be used during the course will be available for students on the Insegnamenti Online website: https://iol.unibo.it/ .

Office hours

See the website of Gilberta Golinelli