AML 5305 B 51: MAJOR AMERICAN LITERARY FIGURES: AUDRE LORDE
Wednesdays 5-7:40 Academic 1 Room 232
Professor D. Aza Weir-Soley Office Hours: Wednesdays 3-4:45 Room 347 Academic 1 BBC
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org 305/919-4817
“The Personal is the Political.” In this course we will examine the politics of inter-sectionalities as they defined and shaped Audre Lorde’s life and work. As a self-proclaimed Black-feminist-lesbian-mother-poet, Audre Lorde’s work continually pushed boundaries, insisting that her White sisters “see” women of color and that her heterosexual sisters “see” lesbians, even as both groups struggled (together and apart) to challenge and dismantle patriarchal power structures. Lorde’s work examined Whiteness as a category of privilege even as she was married to a White man and lived for many years with a White woman. Lorde also examined heteronormativity as a category of privilege and unsettled many of her Black sisters who were doubly oppressed as women and as Blacks, but were still privileged as heterosexual women in a homophobic culture. Last, but by no means least, she carefully dissected class dynamics by being willing to examine her own relative privilege as a university instructor and writer against the struggles of working-class and/or uneducated women of all races. The purpose of this class is to awaken us to the importance of critical dialogue vis a vis the politics of privilege, power and intersectionalities as we move into an era in which many of the gains of the feminist movement are at once threatened by the far right, and taken for granted by a generation of young women and men who have (often unknowingly) benefitted from the struggles of the past generation of women warriors. What does Lorde have to teach us 20years after her death?
Required Texts: Audre Lorde: Sister Outsider, Our Dead Behind Us, Zami, The Cancer Journals, The Black Unicorn, Collected Poems. bell hooks: Feminism is for Everybody. A Course Reader will be assigned and students will purchase it from the copy center.
Group Presentations: There are 22 students in this course. 5 groups (of 4 or 5 students) will identify and present on one of our modules two times this semester. Each group must select a different module and/or I will assign the modules. Each member of the group will research 2 articles/essays that pertain to the module and present his/her findings to the class. Your critique should identify the author’s thesis and apply socio-political, historical and literary analysis from the article to issues we discussed in our module. Groups will be named after famous Lorde titles: eg. Zami, Black Unicorn, Sister Outsider, Stations, The Transformation of Silence.
Papers: Presentations will be followed by a paper handed in one week after group presentations. You are expected to use the research from your presentations as secondary sources for your papers. Late papers will not be accepted.
Paper 1 (due October 9): 8-10 page paper on 2 books (poetry/essays/fiction) by Audre Lorde. You must have a clearly written thesis statement. You must use two secondary sources other than Lorde’s essays, but no more than three. Paper 2 (due November 20): 10-12 page paper on 4 books by Lorde. Please build on the argument made in your first paper. 4 secondary sources.
Final Paper (due Dec 4) Your final exam will consist of a 18-20 page research paper using a minimum of 6 secondary sources. You should extend and complicate the argument made in the first two papers. Up to 2 pages may be devoted to your works cited information. Students who do not turn in a Final paper will fail this course. No Incompletes will be offered in this class.
Grading Guidelines: Paper 1 (20%), Paper 2 (30%), Presentations (20%), Final Paper (30%)
Plagiarism is defined as submitting any piece of work written in whole or in part by someone else as your own. It is a serious offense and, if confirmed, will result in disciplinary action. Students should use the MLA format to cite sources for their papers. Please see the online version of the MLA handbook for how to cite books, essays, etc. or you may purchase a copy of the handbook for your usage.
Week 1: August 28 WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION
Week 2: Sept 4 Module 1: Honoring Our Differences Sister Outsider (1st half)
Week 3:Sept. 11 Module 2: The Uses of the Erotic Sister Outsider (2nd half)
Week 4: Sept 18 Module 3: Poetry is Not a Luxury The Black Unicorn
Week 5: Sept 25 Module 4: The Uses of Anger The Collected Poems
Week 6: Oct 2 Group Presentations Essays/book chapter on selected module
Week 7: Oct 9 Module 5: Fighting to Live The Cancer Journals Paper 1 due
Week 8: Oct 16 Module 6: Who Needs Feminism? Feminism is for Everybody (First half)
Week 10: Oct 23 Module 7: Narratology& Self-Construction Zami: Guest lecture, Dr. H. Russell
Week 11: Oct 30 Module 8: Global Sisterhood Feminism is for Everybody (2nd half)
Week 12: Nov. 6 Module 9: The Politics of Intersectionality Essays from Course Reader/Guest lecture
Week 13: Nov 13 Group Presentations Essays/book chapter on selected module
Week 14: Nov 20 Module 10: Voices of the Ancestors Our Dead Behind US Paper 2 due
Week 15: Nov 27 Guest lecture (TBA) “Audre Lorde and Trayvon Martin.”
Week 16: Dec 4 Last Class Final Paper due in Class.
This professor reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus as deemed necessary.