Toggle sidebar

ENGL 7800: Feminist Approaches to Literature (2010)



  • I learned much more that will be useful to my future career from our discussion of Feminist methodologies as applied to The Awakening than from our discussions and assignments dealing with Haywood. I would recommend a greater variety of literary periods in a future class.
  • Really great course. Toril Moi's visit was amazing, as was Kathy King's, and I learned to appreciate feminist criticism and theory in a whole new way.
  • Have students read Miss Betsy earlier in semester b/c the methodologies were much easier to spot in it than in British Recluse & Rash Resolve, so switching order would allow for more initial clarity and leave opportunity for increasing challenge over the course. Split up editing & reception history assignment. Start w/editing to allow more time for acquiring materials for history while also allowing students to devote more exclusive attention to each separately (the editing gets short-changed when put w/reception history).
  • Dr. Backscheider, as usual, was highly effective. She not only understands the material, she uses it in her own work so she is an example to follow. She knows how to spark discussion and keep it going when we hit rough spots and she is highly concerned about her students.
  • Although I loathe to suggest this, a course on feminism could do w/the inclusion of Donna Haraway or at least someone like her to add breadth to this already deep course.
  • Dr. Backscheider is obviously an expert in her field and pushes her students to perform at their very best rather than just good enough. It was a privilege to take a course from her.
  • I think the assigned materials complimented each other and built a foundation of knowledge. The timing of assignments was unique, but helped pace the class instead of rushing everything into the ast two weeks of class.
  • The class was thoroughly enjoyable & challenging. I especially appreciated transferable skills—researching the journal, writing a review, etc. I liked that I walked away from the majority of the readings having learned something key to practicing feminism. There were times when I felt that giving more direction (not the answer) would have been helpful.
  • The instructor was very and although the class was challenging, I'll leave with a new sense and appreciation of feminism. Dr. Backscheider was very helpful and encouraging with feedback and was always readily available to meet with us or communicate with us via email.
  • I liked the organization of the materials and that assignment due dates were spread out evenly over the course of the semester. My only suggestion would be to perhaps read all of Toril Moi's text on de Beauvoir all at once, but I realize it may have been spaced out due to Dr. Moi's visit to campus.
  • The depth & extent of my instructor's knowledge was/is astounding. The class was always difficult & always challenging, but so worth it. While the instructor is intimidating (in all the right ways), I still felt encouraged to try new things & work through new ideas, even in class discussion. By far, the best & most challenging seminar I've taken.
  • Though the reading/work load was heavy, it was manageable. Betsy Thoughtless was hard to get through, especially at the end of the term, but really, there's no other place for it in the seminar schedule. Introducing the topics for it (slips of paper) a little earlier, perhaps, could facilitate reading ahead. –I found the assignments helpful, especially for practicing feminist acts & theories.
  • While it is indisputable that Dr. Backscheider is an excellent instructor, I have some concerns about her pedagogical approach. Dr. Backscheider resists being actively helpful, and she uses intimidation tactics in class. That being said, the course has made an invaluable contribution toward my education. Though the course caused me extremely high levels of stress, I've learned more in this one course than I would have expected to learn in a whole series of courses on feminist theory.
  • The multitude of assignments and the pressure to perform well in class has forced me to neglect my other work this semester. All readings were carefully and well-chosen, so I can't think of any changes I'd suggest.
  • Dr. Backscheider is one of the most effective professors I have ever had. Her knowledge and understanding of the material and related issues made the class worthwhile.
  • The course was organized very well. The guest lecturers were a plus as well as the reception history assignment. I didn't care for the editing assignment, but I am happy I was exposed to what editing entails. The reading material was diverse, and I learned much more than I thought I could in the course of the semester.