southern women writers
[an online course]

ENGL A466:001
  Fall 2016

Dr. Barbara C. Ewell

loyola university new orleans

Southern women

This information was posted 5 April 2016; all material here remains subject to change.

In this course,  we will examine the traditions and texts of women writers in the southern region of the United States. By close readings and writing about these authors from different historical periods, from different economic and racial backgrounds, who are writing in a variety of genres, we will try to understand how writing as a southerner and as a woman shapes one's work and achievement. We will also try to get some insight into the assumptions that have shaped these individuals' personal and cultural experience as southerners, as women, and as writers. In the process, we will read works by some of the most distinguished writers of the last two centuries--including Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Alice Walker, and Ellen Douglas, as well as lesser known writers like Julia Peterkin, Doris Betts, and Elizabeth Keckley, along with several writers of the twenty-first century, including Valerie Martin, Brenda Osbey, Jesamyn Ward and Natasha Tretheway. And as we read--and write--we will try to learn something about our own experiences of the South, of women, and of writing. 

Requirements will include reading and reflection on the texts, participation in weekly discussion forums on, and the completion of a multi-part research and writing project on a southern woman writer, and a final collaborative electronic presentation of your work.

Women's Studies Minor
This course can also be taken for credit in the Women's Studies Minor and the New Orleans Studies Minor.

* An online course is conducted through the internet (Blackboard), though there will be a brief organizational on-campus meeting on Friday evening, August 26 (5:30 p.m.--7:00 p.m.) [place tba] and (probably) a final class meeting on Friday evening, December 9. Please contact me after August 1, if serious hardship or unavoidable conflict will keep you from attending the required organizational meeting. Students within driving distance should plan to attend--and attendees will find that the course goes much more smoothly.

Tentative List of Required Texts:
The following is a proposed list of texts and writers, but changes and substitutions will occur. *Starred texts may be alternates, and some texts may also be available as e-texts. Don't buy anything yet that you don't want to read.

Weaks, Mary Lou and Carolyn Perry, eds. Southern Women's Writing: Colonial to Contemporary. Gainesville: U P of Florida, 1995. ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-1411-1
Allison, Dorothy. Bastard Out of Carolina. New York: Plume, 1993. ISBN: 0452269571
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening and Selected Stories. New York: Penguin, 1989.  ISBN: 01403900227
Douglas, Ellen. Canít Quit You, Baby. New York: Penguin Books, 1989. ISBN: 0140121021
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006.  ISBN-10: 0061120065
Martin, Valerie. Property. New York: Vintage, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0375713309
Walker, Alice. Meridian. New York: Pocket Books, 1990. ISBN: 067172701X
Welty, Eudora. One Writerís Beginnings. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1995. ISBN: 0674639278

* Other texts to be selected in first class: Natasha Tretheway, Thrall; Cristina Garcia, The Aguero Sisters;  Minrose Gwin, The Queen of Palmyra; or Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones.

These books may also be available for purchase at Maple Street Books (support your local bookstores!). If you're trying to cut costs, many texts are also available secondhand through other commercial booksellers. Some may also be available as rentals.

Course Prerequisites
ENGL-T122 (composition) or ENGL-A205 or ENGL-H233 or APELIENLI with a minimum score of 4/5.
Junior status or permission of the instructor is recommended. Online courses require some maturity and self-discipline; this should probably not be your first college English course. Contact me if you have any questions about taking an online course.

Course Requirements
Weekly Comments  (35%)
The heart of this course (apart from reading the texts themselves) will be our electronic "discussions": asking and answering each other's questions and sharing our responses. These discussions will be conducted on the Discussion Board of  Students will be expected to post a substantive comment  (150-300 words) in response to the text and my introductory remarks by Monday midnight. By the next Thursday, everyone in the class will have commented on or reacted to the responses of least two other people (100-150 words each).

Your participation in these weekly discussions, including the timely submission of comments and responses, will be graded contractually (all assignments = A; fewer = B, etc.) and will constitute your "class attendance."

You will be responsible for timely and regular contributions to the discussion group every week. If any lateness or irregularity persists in your submissions, you will be asked to drop the course or receive a failing grade.

Keeping up with these discussions is one of the most challenging parts of an online course, and falling behind is the chief reason for attrition--just remember that "online" isn't the same as "self-paced."

Writing Assignments (25-30%)
The formal writing in this course will be a series of assignments based on the contexts of and works by southern women writers, both those covered in the course and from a supplementary list.  These assignments, due throughout the semester and involving various degrees of research, will provide some of the basic content for a final collaborative presentation.

Wiki Presentation of Research (15-20%)
A final collaborative electronic presentation (wiki or website) on one or more of the writers covered in the class; to be presented at the December on-campus meeting.

Final Examination (15-20%)
A comprehensive essay exam. Due on or about December 12.


BE WELL home page