דמויות מופת נשיות מהמקרא ועד ז'אן ד'ארק
Exemplary Women from the Bible to Joan of Arc
|מדעי הרוח | אנגלית|
Exemplary Women from the Bible to Joan of Arc דמויות מופת נשיות מהמקרא ועד ז'אן ד'ארק
MA Seminar סמינר אמ.איי
Dr. Jonathan Stavsky ד"ר יונתן סטבסקי
In addition to a long list of defamatory stories and stereotypes about women, the cultures of biblical and classical antiquity and the Western Middle Ages also engendered a tradition of exemplary heroines. They include matriarchs, steadfast wives, female warriors, prophetesses, mystics, chaste virgins, teachers, and saints (including quite a few transvestites). The purpose of this MA seminar is to undertake a comparative, diachronic, and feminist analysis of this diverse corpus, with special though by no means exclusive focus on literary, historical, and religious texts from medieval England. Whereas Old English, early Middle English, and non-English texts will be read in translation, Middle English from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries will be studied in the original language. Selected critical writings will serve to enrich our encounters with these primary sources. Class discussion will revolve around such questions as:
1. Do exemplary heroines serve as role models for ordinary women? Or are they, rather, exceptional cases who should not be imitated by them? What values does each position imply? Which, if any, is beneficial to women?
2. What other cultural, social, and political functions do stories of exemplary heroines fulfill? What happens when men read them?
3. How do these narratives change over time? What new forms do they assume when retold or transmitted by later generations? What new tasks are they given? What potential readings become occluded and why?
4. What happens when female authors mention, describe, or tell the story of an exemplary heroine? Do they challenge patriarchal norms or implicitly validate them?
5. To what extent are such heroines involved in the production of their own biographies? What influence do they have on their reputation?
6. Why are some ambivalent characters like Medea, Dido, and Cleopatra occasionally made into exemplary heroines?
7. How do twentieth and twenty-first-century readers react to exemplary heroines from antiquity and the Middle Ages? Can such heroines change one’s conception of women from different historical periods and cultures?
By the end of the course, you are expected to hone your historical perspective on questions of gender, sexuality, and women’s rights. Even students who do not work on these fields will be better equipped to bring past texts to bear on present issues.
1. Full attendance (10%);
2. A midterm paper of about 1,500 words, to be submitted via Moodle by May 10 at 10:00am (20%);
3. Additional quizzes or short assignments may be given from time to time in accordance with the needs of the course. The grade for these will be factored into the midterm-paper component;
4. Students who intend to write a seminar paper must hand in a complete research proposal by the last class of the semester;
5. A referat or a seminar paper (70%). Students writing a referat must submit it by July 27. Seminar papers are due by the final date specified in the University regulations (October 1, 2017).
1. Carefully go over the assigned primary and secondary texts in advance of the class on which they will be taught. This is a reading-intensive course: be ready to spend at least three hours preparing for each class.
2. Read all fourteenth and fifteenth-century Middle English texts in the original, using the glosses, footnotes, and explanatory notes in your editions—as well as the lexical resources posted on Moodle—to clarify difficult words and grammatical structures. Modern English translations are permitted only as a last resort when you are unable to make sense of a particular sentence. When writing your papers, you must work exclusively with the editions assigned or approved by the lecturer.
3. Please maintain a productive learning atmosphere: come and leave on time and notify the lecturer before class if you or notify the lecturer before class if you are not able to do so on a one-time basis; do not wander in and out of the classroom; use electronic devices for class purposes only; avoid side conversations; do not consume strong-smelling or crunchy food or carbonated drinks; show respect to other students.
4. Full attendance is mandatory. All absences must be coordinated with the lecturer in advance of the affected class or, in the case of an unforeseen emergency, as soon as possible thereafter. A doctor’s note is needed to justify three or more absences for health reasons. Such notes must be issued no later 72 hours following the first day of the student's absence. Students who miss six or more classes without valid justification will not be allowed to pass the course. Only illness, childbirth, veteran service, and certain religious holidays (listed here: https://iwww.tau.ac.il/calendar) count as permissible grounds for absence.
5. To pass the course, you must submit all papers on time and get a passing grade for each. No extensions will be given to any deadline except under extraordinary circumstances (e.g., childbirth, prolonged hospitalization, or veteran service). Midterm papers submitted any time after May 10 at 10:00 will be penalized five points a day. Referats and seminar papers submitted after the deadline will not be graded.
6. Detailed instructions for writing your midterm and referat or seminar papers will be posted on the course Moodle. Study them carefully so that you know what is expected of you and how to meet these expectations with the best results. In some cases, papers that do not follow the course requirements will not be graded. These include failure to address the assignment topic, make use of the required secondary sources, or work exclusively with the editions assigned by the lecturer.
7. A substantial portion of your referat or seminar paper must address Middle English texts featuring exemplary heroines.
8. Students who intend to write a seminar paper must first wait until their research proposal is approved. Any subsequent changes must be coordinated in advance with the lecturer. It is highly recommended that you finish this process during the semester.