Gender and Work: Theories and Representations

Autumn 2016-2017


Alison James

This course brings together literary and theoretical explorations of the gendered division of labor from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Taking as our historical frame of reference the transformations of the world of work since the industrial revolution, we will focus on close readings and discussion of texts that depict or theorize the social organization of forms of work, the subjective experience of work, the relationship between work and community, and the divided spaces of the household and workplace. We will also examine the ways in which fiction reflects, problematizes and transforms social problems. Topics to be considered include the relationship between production and reproduction, care work and the labor market, debates over waged and unwaged work, and the intersections of gender, class, and race in the construction and division of labor. Authors will include Flora Tristan, Friedrich Engels, Elizabeth Gaskell, Émile Zola, Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, Selma James, and Annie Ernaux. (B, G, H)