WGS 253 - Special Topics
Fall 2022, Section 002 - Writing in Drag: Performing Gender in 19th & 20th Century France
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Women's and Gender Studies (WGS)
Department: LSA Women's and Gender Studies
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Credit Exclusions:
A maximum of seven credits of WGS 252 and 253 (WOMENSTD 252 and 253) may be counted toward graduation.
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 7 credit(s).


In this course, we will think about the shifting status of gender performance by focusing our study on George Sand, Rachilde, and Colette, three women authors whose works span the century and a half between the establishment of the First French Empire and the fall of the French Third Republic. These three authors held somewhat ambiguous positions under the normative heading of “women writers”: Whether by adopting masculine pen names or cross-dressing through the streets of Paris, these three women present challenges to traditional understandings of, specifically, “women’s authorship,” and more broadly, “womanhood.”

Guiding Questions:

  • What is the relationship between “women’s writing,” the adoption of masculine pen names, and cross-dressing?
  • What do these practices help us understand about the nature of gender and performance?
  • Should we consider all non-normative gender performances to be “feminist” or “queer”?
  • How are the many, rapid changes in French politics reflected by or resisted through changing notions of gender?

Learning Objectives:

  • To begin to think about the role of women in 19th & 20th century French literary history
  • To understand gender as a performance that is different across time and space
  • To be able to read and comprehend both short- and long-form fiction in French
  • To be able to engage in active discussion and to present your thoughts in spoken French
  • To be able to organize and develop an argument about a text in written French


WGS 253 - Special Topics
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (LEC)
 In Person
MWF 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Note: This class is taught in French and enrollment is by instructor permission.
003 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM

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