Leonora Carrington, Self-portrait

Gothic Feminism: Repression, Transgression, and Rage

Instructor: Jessie Kindig
Verso Books
20 Jay St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Madwomen, ghosts, witches, monsters—the gothic genre has long been a vehicle for representing female characters deemed too transgressive for inclusion in “respectable” fiction. Indeed, much of what makes the gothic dark and mysterious, what inspires dread, is how it reckons with thwarted female autonomy, repressed desire, and past injustice. It’s no wonder the genre has proved so fruitful for feminist theory: in its tales and archetypes, the Gothic offers a powerful means for exploring key topics in feminist thought, from capitalism, reproduction, and race to sexuality, rage, and freedom. Is it a coincidence that a resurgence in gothic tropes has taken place simultaneously with the revitalization of a vocal, global feminist movement?

In this course, we’ll enter feminist thought through the gothic mode, reading fiction, poetry, and theory in order to look at central concepts in feminist theory. Who, we’ll ask, is the misogynist “monster” against which feminists have fought? We’ll think with the madwoman as a way to consider race, the postcolonial, and the psychoanalytic, and invoke the witch to look at reproduction and capitalism. Finally, we’ll allow the ghosts of historical violence to haunt us, and speculate on what the return of the repressed might be.

Readings may include works by: Toni Morrison, Avery Gordon, Silvia Federici, Gabriela Mistral, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Brontë, Harriet Jacobs, Sigmund Freud, Julia Kristeva, Ranjanna Khanna, Emily Dickinson, and Octavia Butler.

Course Schedule

Monday, 6:30-9:30pm
February 03 — February 24, 2020
4 weeks

$315.00

Registration Open

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