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ENGLISH 187C: The Evolution of the Feminist First-Person Essay, 2000-present (FEMGEN 187C)

The internet age has coincided with the rise of new and reinvented modes of nonfiction writing by women online. The feminist first-person essay (what simply goes by ¿personal essay¿ in the business) has transformed internet writing formally, politically, and economically. The explosion innpopularity and shareability of this nonfiction subgenre has generated a host of new media and catapulted a new coterie of women writers into prominence. Which authors have exerted the most influence upon this new subgenre, how does the emergence of the first-person essay by women signify a mainstreaming of feminist dialectic, and how has this emergence been received by both a popular readership and the media establishment?nThis discussion-based course will investigate how the growth of the feminist first-person essay has promoted new publications and modes of publication. It will trace the genesis of the online personal essay genre from public journals like LiveJournal, Blogspot, and Tumblr, via its c more »
The internet age has coincided with the rise of new and reinvented modes of nonfiction writing by women online. The feminist first-person essay (what simply goes by ¿personal essay¿ in the business) has transformed internet writing formally, politically, and economically. The explosion innpopularity and shareability of this nonfiction subgenre has generated a host of new media and catapulted a new coterie of women writers into prominence. Which authors have exerted the most influence upon this new subgenre, how does the emergence of the first-person essay by women signify a mainstreaming of feminist dialectic, and how has this emergence been received by both a popular readership and the media establishment?nThis discussion-based course will investigate how the growth of the feminist first-person essay has promoted new publications and modes of publication. It will trace the genesis of the online personal essay genre from public journals like LiveJournal, Blogspot, and Tumblr, via its codification in online publications like The Toast, The Rumpus, Gawker, Jezebel, Guernica, The Hairpin, The Awl, and xoJane, to its eventual breakthrough into established newspapers, magazines, and traditionally published memoirs and essay collections.nWe will investigate questions like: How can the rendering of one individual's story benefit the political mandate of the collective? What is the first person¿s effect, and affect, in interspersing an author¿s personal experience, and what feminist potential does it contain? How does the myth of journalistic ¿objectivity¿ conflict with the presentation of the first person, and how has this objectivity myth descended from patriarchal tropes of legitimation? What do the terms ¿confessional¿ and ¿silence-breaking¿ connote? How has social media simultaneously empowered these new modes of public feminist dialogue and also exposed feminist public intellectuals to alarming levels of harassment and abuse? How successfully has the personal essay subgenre acted in de-centering hegemonic identity structures including whiteness, class privilege, and heterosexuality? What role has the feminist first-person essay played in the emergence of heavily digitized political movements including Black Lives Matter and #MeToo? What is ¿trauma porn¿, and how does it interface with the capitalistic structures of the first-person essay economy; what problems arise when capitalism and confessionalism intersect?
Terms: Aut | Units: 3-5
Instructors: Goode, L. (PI)
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