Ho hum. The course title doesn’t exactly wow them at registration. (And we’ll see how well it does as a blog posting title!) In the past I’ve had sexy themes and posters to entice students (most of our students are not English majors), and I generally teach the course in the spring after I have a few terms to recruit. But with the massive influx of students lately, recruitment is no longer necessary: the class will have seats, and they will mostly fill.
What I do need to address is retention. How do I keep students in the class, students who generally do not read? A traditional anthology-focused survey course even makes me yawn. But 3-4 novels in 10 weeks generally leads to 10+ withdrawals by week 3.
So, I’m thinking of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale paired with Gilman’s Herland.
And I’m thinking of pairing Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with Bridget Jones’ Diary.
And I’m thinking of pairing Alcott’s Little Women with Chopin’s The Awakening.
Am I crazy? Should I focus more on contemporary works (our course description is vague enough to allow for either breadth or depth)? Do you have other pairings that come to mind?
If anyone in the blogosphere is still even checking in on this “humble” (to quote a not so humble blogger) blog, post the works YOU would include in your own fantasy “Introduction to Women Writers” course, paired or not.