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Feminist Life Writing

This guide was created to support research and writing in the Feminist Life Writing course, taught by Professor Meredith Benjamin, in Summer 2021.

Analyzing Texts Together

Choose a text that interests you from the list below, and spend some time reading and looking at it. Feel free to make a note of any feelings, questions, or impressions that come up for you as you engage with the text.

Questions to Consider

As you spend time with one of the texts above, think about the following:

  • Who, what, when, where, why, and how (use these words as paths into questions of your own choosing!)
  • What is the context for how this source has been digitized, preserved, and shared?
  • What do you notice about genre and format in the text? How does it remind you of texts you've already read (especially texts you've read as "life writing" and how does it differ?
  • Examine your text focusing on several of these lenses: gender, race, sexuality, class, and disability. How have systems and vectors of power and oppression shaped the creation of the text; the way it circulates in the world; the way it has been or could be received?
  • What themes emerge as important to you as you look at the text? For instance: the representation of bodies; the relationship between the private and the public; navigating the need for authorizing one's own story?
  • What other kinds of sources would you want to use to support your analysis of this text? What sources could you imagine talking to this text, or responding to it in some way (direct or indirect)?