Fluid Boundaries: Gender and the Freedom of Movement in American Literature

Fluid Boundaries: Gender and the Freedom of Movement in American Literature


International Seminar
1 October-3 December 2023

-Virtually:anytime till 3 December

Course Facilitator: Olga Akroyd , Ph.D 

The Idea
GIRES, the Global Institute for Research, Education & Scholarship is proud to introduce a series of short seminars dedicated to literature. We embrace Scott Fitzgerald’s opinion about the beauty of this fine craft: You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” We do belong to this world and we hope that we will travel you through the great works that altered our mentality, matured  feelings and made us dreamers. Our very own, Dr. Olga Akroyd will be the guide in this wonderful literary journey.  

The Aim
The seminars are dedicated to dissecting together the main themes, background and plot lines of core novels in the taught undergrad curriculum. Dr. Akroyd aims to guide you through the maze of iconic novels of American literature, help you explore their structure and hidden meanings. Together will place the novel in their historical context while she will explain how you could elaborate information and semantics existing in the soul of a novel.

The Outcome
After the end of the seminars you will be able to:

  • Analyze, construct and deconstruct the structure of a novel
  • Understand the meanings and values of a novel connected to its historical context
  • Recognize the role of words and ways language can empower a novel 
  • Identify and analyze semantics, key phrases, 
  • Understand the ways a novelist builds a character 
  • Explore the plot, understand character creation and track the of crafting a novel
  • Feel the energy and soul of a novel- The more you understand, the more you will love it!

The Structure
The seminars consists of a condensed discussion of a core text chosen for each session.
They are separated into three (3) main blocks + Q&A: 

1. Main themes
2. Background
3. Secondary / less discussed themes or details 

+Q&A: Participants are welcome to discuss with Dr. Akroyd and clarify any questions/thoughts/opinions may arise during each seminar.

The Program

Novel 1 (Sunday- October 1, 2023)
THE SPY by James Fenimore Cooper
The trickster archetype and memories of witch-trials. 

Novel 2 (Sunday- October 8, 2023)
ISRAEL POTTER by Herman Melville
The concept of bare life and the commodification of the male body in the American Revolution.

Novel 3 (Sunday- October 15, 2023)
RARA AVIS by John Randolph of Roanoke
Gender fluidity, disability and echoes of the Two-Spirit concept.

Novel 4 (Sunday- October 29, 2023)
Cross-dressing and Outcasts. Social issues, cross-dressing and the comical 

Novel 5 (Sunday- November 5, 2021)
LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott
The representation of Jo March and what lessons can we learn from her different portrayals in film versions. 

Novel 6 (Sunday- November 12, 2023)
THE SANCTUARY by William Faulkner
Exiting the constraints of traditional femininity. Horror or liberation? 

Novel 7 (Sunday- November 26, 2023)
AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
Male prostitution and freedom of movement/social mobility.

Novel 8 (Sunday- December 3, 2023)
MOBY DICK (3 different versions: 1953, 1998 and 2015)
Representations of gender fluidity in the film versions of classic textual narratives

Due to the restrictions of Corona Crisis our event (for the time being) will take place VIRTUALLY

Participants have the option to either attend the live sessions or watch at their own pace the pre-recorded sessions on GIRES’ Virtual Platform.
Please choose from the Options at the Registration and we will provide you with the right credentials (LIVE or VIRTUAL)

  • Date of Seminar

    GIRES Headquarters
    (AMS time GMT/UTC+2)
    October 1,8,15,22,29
    November 5,12,26
    December 3

  • Deadline for registration

    Entire Seminar:
    1 week prior the initial session

    Individual session:
    2 days prior each course

  • Time of Seminars

    17.00 AMS time

  • Duration of each Seminar

    1.5 h + Q&A

  • Format

    -Live Online sessions

    -Virtual Platform
    (Links for meetings provided
    after registration)

    *Participants can always change later between
    Live and Virtual

  • Accreditation

    Official Certificate issued by GIRES

  • Registration fee

    149 euros
    (All sessions:Live and/or Virtual)

    39 euros
    (Individual Session)

Register with Credit Card or PayPal


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(For bank transfers please contact us)

** No extra registration is necessary, your payment is your registration**
** Access credentials will be provided to registered participants  one day prior the workshop, noon Dutch time**

Proceeding to the payment link you agree with the Terms and Conditions (https://www.gires.org/general-terms-conditions/ )
and you fully comply with the Code of Conduct (https://www.gires.org/code-of-conduct/) of GIRES the Global Institute for Research,Education & Scholarship. 


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