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WGSS 370

Topics in Women's Studies

An interdisciplinary exploration of a particular theme, area or period, with respect to issues of women and gender.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2-1 course

Fall Semester information

Victoria Wiet

370A: Tps:The Romantic Period: Empire & Sexuality

Romanticism (1770-1850) was one of the most innovative periods in European literature, setting the stage for modern literature by transforming the conventions of lyric poetry and perfecting the form of the novel. It also coincided with the height of competition between Europe's major empires. This course will examine how the context of empire shaped the central tenets of modern sexuality in the West--companionate marriage, compulsory heterosexuality, and racially endogamous coupling--and how writers during the Romantic period used poetry, fiction, and travel writing to express the danger and allure of varieties of sexuality deemed as "other." We will also engage writers from the colonies who bore witness to how colonization impacted the ordering of intimate and domestic life in their native lands. Organized around the geographic centers of imperial expansion and contestation, our readings will span canonical authors from the Romantic period like Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexandre Dumas, and Victor Hugo; women writers such as Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Jane Austen, and Claire de Duras; colonial writers such as Rifa'a at-Tahtawi, Henry Ferozio, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, and Ignace Dau; and key texts in postcolonial theory and Black feminist thought.