Mandatory for this class are the following requirements:
- regular attendance of the scheduled online meetings;
- preparations for the course, including the written assignments/reading questions;
- the active participation in the in-class discussions.
In this course, we study Margaret Atwood’s "The Handmaid’s Tale" (1985) and its sequel, "The Testaments" (2019). Separated by more than three decades, these novels correspond in their strong focus on women’s situatedness in Western social and political systems. Drawing on the genre of utopian/dystopian fiction, the novels imagine and reflect on the successes and failures of socio-political systems and the ways in which they empower, regulate, and control women’s capabilities, expressions, and desires. Notably, Atwood’s female protagonists cannot easily be sorted into clear-cut categories of oppressed victims, resistant heroines, or wicked accomplices. Hence, alongside exploring questions about issues of politics, gender, and violence, we will also consider the various in-between spaces (“interstices”) that the novels’ protagonists occupy. To do so, we will take into consideration Atwood’s own theorizing about women’s survival and refusal to be victims. Please purchase and read (any edition of) "The Handmaid’s Tale" (1985) and "The Testaments" (2019).