Fall 2020

Polemical Women Writers of the Premodern Era

Moodle site: Course


Amanda K. Henrichs (Section 01)


Many people think that women have only recently been allowed to write: that until recently, cultural and social conditions prevented women from having a voice or being able to express themselves to a public audience. This is not true; women have been writing publicly for a long time. Thus, this course engages with women authors who wrote in, for, and sometimes at the public, and who attracted varying degrees of censure for doing so. We will read in a wide variety of genres, including devotional writings, poetry, prose, fiction, recipes, and pamphlets. Along the way we will consider questions such as: How did women write? For whom? Did categories like race, class, and gender matter in the same ways they do today? What were the social and political implications for women who decided to write in public? Our authors will include Julian of Norwich, Queen Elizabeth I, Phyllis Wheatley, Mary Wortley Montagu, Mary Wollstonecraft, Sojourner Truth, Mercy Otis Warren, and others.

This course will meet virtually once a week at the assigned course time; all other activities and readings will be available for the student to complete on their own schedule. Please contact the instructor if you would like to take the class from a different time zone, and we will work out a plan to make this possible.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Henrichs.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Online Only


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020