This class will survey eighteenth-century literature and culture via a collection of works by women writers. We will consider how these writers participate and intervene in debates about the nature of freedom, sexual autonomy, political authority, national and racial identity, and gender difference amidst the rise of capitalism, colonialism, and the transatlantic slave trade. As we read a range of exciting and often radical literature by women writers, we will also consider the uses and limitations of “women’s literature” as a generic and political project, and complicate the idea that such a thing as a “woman’s perspective” exists.
Class format: online, asynchronous & synchronous (one Zoom meeting per week)
Readings: all available online; may include works by Aphra Behn, Margaret Cavendish, Eliza Haywood, Phillis Wheatley, and Mary Wollstonecraft
Assignments: students will be evaluated on participation and a series of short writing assignments culminating in a final essay