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Class defends ENGL 418

Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 21, 1999
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To the editor,

Our class, Women and Literature, English 418, feels that it is time to have our say in this fiasco around the nature and content of our studies.

There are three distinct accusations regarding this class. First, the books we use are available through the UA bookstore. Any direct attack on our professor or the department she represents is biased; many other classes use Antigone's to supply books, including literature classes, religious studies, women's studies and anthropology classes, to name a few. Attack them all if there is a problem with the book policy.

Second, the syllabus we were given, along with the professor's introduction, was in no way misleading about the course content. We were told, "This course examines the relationships among writing, representation, and space(s) in writings by and about women from differing centuries and backgrounds."

We have read Woolf, de Beauvoir and Freud, as well as other more contemporary authors, which has included one novel which contained some lesbian issues.

This leads to the third accusation. We, as a class, are not sure what is meant by "obscene." For some of us, pornography is obscene. For others, foul language. And others, violence. These, as well as homosexuality and sexuality in general are topics in almost all social sciences courses, in some form or another. We understand that each person has a right to follow her or his belief system and set of personal morals. We only suggest that any student who is personally offended by evolution, or homosexual novelists, or the Holocaust, would take a mature action and simply drop the class. No circus, no papers, no letters to the state Legislature.

The rest of us would like to get on with our education without the disruption and drama.

As a side note, this class has outlined some basic themes in women's lives, including gendered spaces, money, love, hunger, fear, sexuality, religion, coming of age, lesbian issues, and, curiously enough, family issues such as mother-daughter relationships.

We enjoy this class, we are learning, and we are paying for the class. No one is forcing any of us to take this class, though most of us would recommend it.

Just a few thoughts from some of the students.

Current students in English 418: Women and Literature