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Course Information

Instructor Info:Lise Sanders
Office Extension x5650
TA Info:Monique Jacques
Term: 2013F
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
01:00 PM - 02:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 105
01:00 PM - 02:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 105

How did Victorians conceive of the body? In a culture associated in the popular imagination with modesty and propriety, even prudishness, discussions of sexuality and physicality flourished. This course explores both fictional and non-fictional texts from nineteenth-century Britain in conjunction with modern critical perspectives. We will discuss debates over corsetry and tight-lacing, dress reform, prostitution and the Contagious Diseases Acts, sexology, hysteria, and other topics relating to science and the body, alongside novels, poetry, and prose by major Victorian writers. The writings of Freud, Foucault, and other theorists will assist us in contextualizing nineteenth-century discourses of gender, sexuality, and embodiment. Several shorter papers and a longer research project will be required.

Evaluation Criteria:

Attendance/Participation: This is a reading- and writing-intensive course based primarily on lively and informed discussion. Students will be expected to attend and participate fully in all class sessions; absences will negatively affect your final evaluation as well as your ability to share in the collaborative project of the course. Timeliness is expected: after one warning, if you are more than 15 minutes late to any class session, you will be marked absent. Two unexcused absences will result in no evaluation.

In case of severe illness or emergency, a contingency plan for completing the course may be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

This course will require at least six to eight hours a week of work outside of class time. This time commitment includes reading (and often re-reading) assigned course texts; taking careful and detailed notes; seeking out appropriate secondary sources where needed; and preparing, revising, and polishing written work.

Reading/Writing Assignments: Please come prepared with written questions and comments on each day’s readings; these contributions will form the basis of our class discussions. If you have read and considered the material carefully, there will be no such thing as a stupid question. Three formal essays are required: a 4-6 page close reading of a literary text, a 6-8 page critical explication of a scholarly article of your choice relevant to the course, and a 10-12 page final research paper, the latter incorporating a draft to be revised in conjunction with a peer review workshop. A prospectus and annotated bibliography will be expected well in advance of the final paper draft deadline. Deadlines are noted below. I do not accept assignments by email; hard copies are required.

NB: With the exception of the draft for the final paper, students may take one automatic extension of 72 hours on any of the writing assignments; otherwise, late papers will not be accepted. Any student who is two writing assignments behind at any point in the semester will not receive an evaluation. In order for you to receive an evaluation, the final portfolio must be complete and handed in by the deadline stated on the syllabus. Final portfolios will consist of the close reading assignment; the critical explication; the prospectus, outline, annotated bibliography and draft(s) of the final research project; peer commentaries; and the final version of the research project, substantially revised.


Additional Info:

Incomplete Policy

Incompletes are permitted only in emergencies, and only when negotiated in advance. Here is an excerpt from the College policy on incompletes (available in Non Satis Non Scire):

To record an incomplete, both student and faculty member will fill out the appropriate form to record the new negotiated deadline by which the student will complete all remaining work for the course. That date will not exceed the first day of the spring semester for a fall incomplete, and June 30th for a spring incomplete.

If the negotiated deadline passes without the faculty member receiving and recording the completed work from the student, the incomplete will be converted to a "No Evaluation." Faculty have one month from the negotiated date to evaluate the work.

Students experiencing exceptional circumstances that could make it difficult to adhere to any part of this policy should immediately be referred to CASA for assistance with accommodating circumstances.

Sensitivity and Respect

The classroom is a place of academic discussion and scholarly engagement, but just as the personal is political, the intellectual can also be personal. All course participants should feel comfortable expressing their views in an atmosphere of respect. In particular, please be aware of your peers' preferred names and pronouns and use them in class.

The following is an excerpt from Hampshire's antidiscrimination and harassment policy (available at

Discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, age, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sex stereotyping), sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, genetic information, transgender status, or military service (henceforth, the “Protected Factors”) is in conflict with the mission of the College and is strictly prohibited by its Policy. Hampshire College is strongly committed to building an inclusive environment and will not tolerate any actions of any individual that violate this Policy.

A Note on Plagiarism

Plagiarism – passing off another person's words as your own – is a serious infringement of scholarly ethics, and necessitates disciplinary action on the part of the School Dean and the Advising Office. Please see the accompanying handout for further details, and cite sources diligently in your written work.