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

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

International Seminar

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 24,2021)
THE SPY by James Fenimore Cooper
The trickster archetype and memories of witch-trials. 

Novel 2 (Sunday- October 31, 2021)
ISRAEL POTTER by Herman Melville
The concept of bare life and the commodification of the male body in the American Revolution.

Novel 3 (Sunday- November 7, 2021)
RARA AVIS by John Randolph of Roanoke
Gender fluidity, disability and echoes of the Two-Spirit concept.

Novel 4 (Sunday- November 28, 2021)
Cross-dressing and Outcasts. Social issues, cross-dressing and the comical 

Novel 5 (Sunday- December 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- December 12, 2021)
THE SANCTUARY by William Faulkner
Exiting the constraints of traditional femininity. Horror or liberation? 

Novel 7 (Sunday- January 16, 2022)
AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
Male prostitution and freedom of movement/social mobility.

Novel 8 (Sunday- January 30, 2022)
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

  • Date of Seminar

    GIRES Headquarters
    24 & 31 Oct 2021
    -GMT +1-
    7 & 28 Nov 2021
    5 & 12 Dec 2021
    16 & 30 Jan 2022

  • Deadline for registration

    2 days before each course

  • Acceptance notification

    Day of registration

  • Time of Seminars

    17.00 AMS time

  • Duration of each Seminar

    1.5 h + Q&A

  • Format

    Live Online sessions

    Links for meetings provided
    after registration

  • Registration fee

    75 euros (for all sessions)

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