Effective Date of this Description/Syllabus: Spring 2010

Prepared by: Dr. Rhonda Wilcox

Office: Fine Arts 202

Phone: (678)359-5296

email: rhonda_w@gordonstate.edu

Spring Office hours:__________________




Course Designation: English 2991

Section B

Course Title: Feminism and Science Fiction

Class hours per week: 2

Credit hours: 2

Division offering course: Humanities

Prerequisite for the course: Grade of A or B in English 1101 and a C or better in English 1102.


Course description for college bulletin: Humanities Colloquium: A colloquium on selected topics in the humanities emphasizing the development of critical thinking skills.

Course description for college schedule: “A reading-intensive course that will introduce you to some major trends in contemporary feminist thought, including feminist science fiction. We will focus on feminist theories of language, the body, literature, race and class. A welcoming atmosphere will be provided for people of all gender affiliations: In other words, don’t worry; sign up boys.” –Dr. Alcena Rogan, originator of the class



Teacher’s Course objectives:

To help students consider various ideas about feminism; to appreciate the writing of a renowned feminist science fiction writer; to understand how feminism and science fiction come together in her work; to become more aware of the critical questioning of society and literature posed by such writing; thus, to enhance skills in comprehension and analysis.

The overall purpose is to learn from each other (teacher and students alike) by reading and discussing the novels and the critical work.


Course Content:

Students will read selected essays from an anthology of highly regarded feminist scholars and two novels by a highly regarded feminist novelist.

Required Texts:

Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Sower. ISBN 0446675504

---. Parable of the Talents. ISBN 0446675784

Warhol, Robyn R., and Diane Price Herndl, eds. Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism. Rev. ed. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2007. ISBN 0813523893


Grading:               Participation (including quizzes and other work)                                                                          20%

Midterm Exam:                                                                                                                                   20%

Short paper on first novel (500 words or more, typed)                                                                 10%

Short paper on second novel (500 words or more, typed)                                                           15%

Final Paper or approved project (oral presentation required)                                                     15%

Final Exam:                                                                                                                                          20%




The first paper will be on Parable of the Sower; the second will be on Parable of the Talents. For each of these, the student must get approval of a subject to write upon; the essay will be an unresearched, specific response to the reading.

For the third paper, the student will write a report on one of the essays in Feminisms not already covered by the class. No two students may write on the same essay from Feminisms. If a student wishes to do another sort of project (e.g. a traditional term paper with multiple sources, or a creative project), the student may propose such a project to the teacher no later than three weeks before the final paper is due. The length of a student’s paper reporting on an essay from Feminisms should be approximately 300 words; the length of any other project will be at the teacher’s discretion, and will be decided when the student makes his or her proposal (if the teacher approves the proposed project.)

Standards: A=90-100, B=80-89, C=70-79, D=60-69


Attendance policy: The word colloquium refers to the idea of conversation. Class participation is essential to a colloquium, as the percentage of the grade accorded it above would suggest. You will find that experiencing a group’s reaction to a piece of writing is something that cannot be recreated through merely reading class notes. Furthermore, specific in-class activities will be used to help establish your participation grade, and in most cases these activities must be carried out during a particular class period. I do understand that some absences are unavoidable; if you must miss a class, let me know beforehand if you can (or leave a phone or email message even during class if need be); ask me or a classmate about assignments so you can prepare in case there is a pop quiz when you return to class. If you miss more than four classes you should not expect to pass the class. My home phone number is (404)373-5328. If you cannot contact me or a classmate, then read the next assignment listed on the syllabus. If you are in class, you will be expected to take the quiz. I hope you will find that you do not want to miss this class.



Weeks 1-5  Introductory material with Dr. Rogan


Week 6 (2/15-17) Dr. Wilcox’s introduction: general history of feminism; Parable of the Sower Chapters 1-3


Week 7 (2/22-24) Sower,  Ch. 4-8; Feminisms, Fetterley, “Introduction: On the Politics of Literature,” 564-73


Week 8 (3/1-3) Sower, Ch. 9-18


Week 9 (3/8-10) Sower, Ch. 19-25; Feminisms, McKay, “Reflections on Black Women Writers: Revising the Literary Canon,” 151-63


Week 10 (3/15-19) SPRING BREAK


Week 11 (3/22-24) Paper One Due; Feminisms, TBA


Week 12 (3/29-31) Midterm; Parable of the Talents, Ch. 1-4


Week 13 (4/5-7) Talents, Ch. 5-10; Feminisms, TBA


Week 14 (4/12-14) Talents, Ch. 11-18


Week 15 (4/19-21) Talents, Ch. 19-24; Paper Two Due; Feminisms, TBA


Week 16 (4/26-28) Overview discussion; Oral presentations due Wednesday


Week 17 (5/3) Last day of regular class for M, MW, and MWF classes


FINAL EXAM: Tuesday May 4, 10:15-12:15