Women’s Visionary Fiction Syllabus

WOMEN’S VISIONARY FICTION SYLLABUS

UNITS: ONE. SEMESTER: SPRING 
INSTRUCTOR: Professor Mary Macky, Ph.D. with Guest Speaker Professor Mara Lynn Keller, Ph.D.
LEVEL OF INSTRUCTION:  BA, MA, PhD     CLASS SIZE: MAX 25

DESCRIPTION OF COURSE CONTENT: In their novels and short stories, in the ancient tradition of priestesses and mystics, women fiction writers tell us about women’s other worlds, inner and outer, past and future; worlds of imagination, prayer, prophecy,  and vision. We will consider works by Laura Esquival, Mary Mackey, Ella Deloria, and Maxine Hong Kingston, among others with a guest speaker drawn from the local San Francisco women’s spirituality community as we explore the following questions: What is Women’s Visionary Fiction? How do women writers make their invisible inner experiences visible to their readers? How do they use fiction used as a way to tell the truth? How do they interweave fiction and memoir? Professor Mackey also will provide a creative writing exercise to draw the students directly into the process of creating visionary fiction.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
When the student finishes this course, s/he will be able to:
       1.  Identify visionary and spiritual themes in women’s fiction
       2.  Teach key authors in women’s spirituality and visionary fiction
       3.  Use creative writing skills in developing his/her own voice in writing
       4.  Use methodologies of literary criticism and women’s spirituality modalities in researching
            and writing about fiction.
    

LEARNING ACTIVITIES:                                      
1.   Lecture-discussion  30%
2.   Creative writing exercises  20%
4.   Student presentations  20%
5.   Guest speakers  20%

CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION:                                
Assignment                                                                             
1.  In-class writing exercises. Due April 14.  Percentage of Final Grade: 20%     
2.  Book review on one author in-class, oral                                      
     presentation, 15 minutes. Due April 15.  Percentage of Final Grade: 20%                                   
3.  2 page written book review on the same author. Due April 15 or 17. Percentage of Final Grade: 20%     
4.  Final research paper. Due May 9. Percentage of Final Grade:  40%                                                                         
     Compare and contrast two of the course authors.
     Be sure to use the Research Paper Guidelines   

Required Texts:
1.     Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate.  New York: Doubleday, 1989.
2.     Deloria, Ella.  Water Lily. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press (1988)
3.     Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior
4.     Mackey, Mary. The Horses at the Gate. (Available in all e-book-formats and in hard copy from amazon.com and other on-line distributors)
5.     Women’s Visionary Fiction Reader

Course Schedule and Reading List

April 14, Saturday

9:00 – 1:00 : WHAT IS WOMEN’S VISIONARY FICTION? INTERWEAVING FICTION AND MEMOIR.

Introductions.

Students sign up for an author to present for oral in-class presentation and written book review. The oral in-class presentation will be due tomorrow morning, April 15. Two-page written, graded book review of same author due either at the same time or on April 17th).

Interweaving fiction and memoir: Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

1:00-2:00 Lunch break

2:00 – 5:00: A VISION OF THE GODDESS CULTURES OF OLD EUROPE

Creative writing exercise in the writing of visionary fiction

Sharing of results of student visionary creative writing exercise

Creating Women’s Visionary Fiction: A Vision of the Goddess Cultures of Old Europe

Mary Mackey, The Horses at the Gate (with reference to the two other novels in Mackey’s Earthsong Trilogy: CamThe Year The Horses Came and The Fires of Spring)

A novelist’s personal account of how to imagine and represent the non-material nature of visionary, mystical, divine experience.

The Research of Professor Marija Gimbutas re the cultures of Old Europe

Slides from the archaeological exploration of Goddess cultures of Old Europe

April 15, Sunday

9:00-11:15:  STUDENT PRESENTATIONS

Student in-class oral presentations

11:30-1:00 – FEMINIST LITERARY CRITICISM;  MULTIDIMENSIONAL INDIGENOUS REALITIES

Women’s Literary Criticism –Guest speaker Professor Mara Lynn Keller

Multidimensional Indigenous Realities in Ella Deloria, Water Lily – Guest speaker Professor Mara Lynn Keller

1:00-2:00 Lunch Break

2:00-5:30: MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE

Laura Esquivel. Like Water for Chocolate (the novel)

Like Water for Chocolate  (the film)

Discussion and analysis of the film and novel (compared and contrasted)
    

PAPER DUE DATES:

Due Date for 2 Page Written Book Review: Your 2 page written book review is due either after your in-class oral presentation on April 15th or on April 17th. 

Due Date for Final Paper: Your final paper is due May 9th. Compare and contrast two of the course authors.  Be sure to use the Research Paper Guidelines (PhDs 10 pages; MAs 8 pages; BAs 5 pages)

Women’s Visionary Fiction Reader
Belsey, Catherine and Jane Moore. “Introduction: The Story So Far.” In  The Feminist Reader: Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary     Criticism. 2nd edn. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1989.
Finn, Janet L. “Ella Cara DeLoria and Mourning Dove: Writing for Cultures, Writing against the Grain.” In Women: Writing Culture.     Behar, Ruth and Deborah A. Gordon, ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995.
Rich, Adrienne. “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying.” in On Lies, Secrets, and Silence. New York: W.W. Norton, 1995.
Walker, Alice. Anything We Love Can Be Saved. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997. Introduction: “Believf in the Love of the World.”

RESEARCH BIBLIOGRAPHY

NOVELS

Allende, Isabel. The House of the Spirits.  New York: Bantam Books, 1982.
Allison, Dorothy. Bastard Out of Carolina. New York: Plume Books, 1992.
Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood. New York: New Directions Publishing Corp., 2006.
Broner, Esther. A Weave of Women.  Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1985.
Carter, Angela. Nights at the Circus.  New York: Penguin Books, 1993.
Deloria, Ella. Water Lily. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988.
Devikaruna, Chitra. Mistress of Spices.  New York: Random House, 1998.
Erdrich, Louise. The Antelope Wife.  New York: Perennial/HarperCollins, 1998.
Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate.  New York: Doubleday, 1989.
Kidd, Sue Monk.  The Secret Life of Bees. Penguin Books, 1992.
Kingsolver, Barbara. Animal Dreams.  New York: Harper Collins, 1991.
Kingston, Maxine Hong. Woman Warrior. New York: Random House, 1976.
Mackey, Mary. The Earthsong Trilogy
1.    The Year the Horses Came.  San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993, re-issued by Authors Guild, iUniverse.com, 2004.
2.    Horses at the Gate. New York: San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996, re-issued by Authors Guild, iUniverse.com (2004)
3.    The Fires of Spring New York:  New York: Penguin, 1998, re-issued by Authors Guild, iUniverse.com, 2004.  
(All three novels are also available in all e-book and Kindle formats)
Masters, Alexis.  The Giuliana Legacy.  Deerfield, FL: Health Communications, 2000.
Marshall, Paule. Praisesong for the Widow. New York: Plume Books, 1983.
Shange, Ntozake. sassafrass, cypress & indigo. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. New York: W.W. Norton Company, Inc., 1996.
Starhawk, The Fifth Sacred Thing. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.
Triptree, James Jr. (pen name of Alice Bradley Sheldon. Houston, Houston, Do You Read?  New York: Doubleday, 1996.
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2003.

WOMANIST, FEMINIST, AND WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY LITERARY CRITICISM

Albert, Susan Wittig: Writing From Life: Telling Your Soul’s Story. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin: New York. 2004.
Behar, Ruth and Deborah A. Gordon, ed. Women: Writing Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995.
Belsey, Catherine and Jane Moore, ed. The Feminist Reader: Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary Criticism. 2nd edn. Malden, MA:     Blackwell Publishers, 1989.
Belsey, Catherine and Jane Moore. “Introduction: The Story So Far.” In The Feminist Reader: Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary     Criticism. 2nd edn. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1989.
Cameron, Deborah. “The Feminist Critique of Language.”  A Reader
DuPlessis, Blau. Breaking the Sentence, (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1988).
Finn, Janet L. “Ella Cara DeLoria and Mourning Dove: Writing for Cultures, Writing against the Grain.” In Women: Writing Culture.     Behar, Ruth and Deborah A. Gordon, ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1995.
Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing The Writer Within. Shambhala: Boston and London, 1986.
Jay, Karla and Joanne Glasgow. Lesbian Texts and Contexts: Radical Revisions,  eds. New York: New York University Press, 1990.
Lakoff, Robin. “Language and a Woman’s Place.”
Harrison, Faye V.  “Writing against the Grain: Cultural Politics of Difference in the Work of Alice Walker.”
    In Women: Writing Culture. Behar, Ruth and Deborah A. Gordon, ed. Berkeley, CA: University of     California Press, 1995.
Metzger, Deena. Writing for Your Life: A Guide and Companion to the Inner Worlds. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.
Miner, Valerie. “The Feminist Reviewer” in Rumors from the Cauldron: Selected Essays, Reviews, & Reportage. Ann Arbor: University of     Michigan Press, 1992.
Miner, Valerie. “An Imaginative Collectivity of Writers and Readers.” In  Lesbian Texts and Contexts: Radical Revisions, eds. Karla Jay and     Joanne Glasgow. New York: New York University Press, 1990.
Payant, Katherine B. Becoming and Bonding: Contemporary Feminism and Popular Fiction by American Women Writers. Greenwood Press,     1993.
Petroff, Elizabeth Alvilda, ed. Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
Plunkett, Irene: “A Sturdy Rose: Spiritual Feminism—A Literary Legacy of Women of the United States,     16th through 20th Centuries. California     Institute of Integral Studies, Philosophy and Religion,     Women’s Spirituality Dissertation 2008.
Pollock, Griselda and Victoria Sauren, eds. The Sacred and the Feminine: Imagination and Sexual Difference. New York, NY: I.B. Tauris & C.     Ltd., 2007.
Rich, Adrienne. On Lies, Secrets, and Silence. New York: W.W. Norton, 1995.
Spender, Dale.  “Women and Literary History.” In The Feminist Reader: Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary Criticism. 2nd edn.     Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1989.
Walker, Alice. Anything We Love Can Be Saved. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997.

[Click on the course titles to  view sample syllabi for Women’s Visionary Film, Women’s Visionary Poetry, Introduction To Composition, and Advanced Composition, click here]