I’m excited to be teaching Women and the Contemporary Novel this summer at MSU. This is an upper-level English course (cross-listed with Women’s Studies), and I’m excited to dive (back) in to some of my favorite recent books with a group of students. The course will be online, and I’m experimenting with using Slack as our primary mode of communication.  I’ll be including vlogs as a way of structuring in some face-to-face interaction, and in hopes of generating a conversation online that feels a bit more personal than message boards.

I’m especially excited to work with Book of the Month in this course. Students will subscribe to the rebooted monthly service, and we’ll vote on our final read. This will be a great way to discuss commercial literature, and participate in some of the online communities that BOTM has been cultivating over the past two years.

Meanwhile, I’ll be writing my next dissertation chapter (also on Book of the Month). Which will be great fun.

Women and the Contemporary Novel

Description:How are women writing novels now? How are women authors and their works marketed, discussed, and celebrated? How are women authors relating or responding to broader trends in contemporary publishing? During this summer course, we will read five (fabulous) books, all published after 2010, that represent a number of broad trends in contemporary literature—global literature, literature in translation, auto-fiction, upmarket fiction, and commercial fiction—that reflect on both the changing form of the novel and intersectional feminisms in the 21st century. In addition, we will consider communities of female authorship and criticism made possible through popular online communities such as The Hairpin, Rookie, The Toast, and Avidly, as well as private Facebook groups like Pantsuit Nation.

We will utilize Slack for informal discussion, but by virtue of the online format, our course will be reading-heavy and interaction-lite. Assignments include a.) weekly short vlogs/blogs, b.) a creative piece or review essay, and c.) a 10-page paper.


Texts (in order)

  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013) ISBN: 978-0307455925
  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (2012) ISBN: 978-1609450786
  • The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (2015) ISBN: 978-1555977351
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (2014) ISBN: 978-0804172448
  • And one final text from the Book of the Month June selections, chosen by class vote.