Charlotte Perkins Gilman identified herself as a 'sociologist' rather than a feminist, yet her 'Herland' trilogy (1911, 1915, 1916) is widely considered a classic feminist utopia. In this seminar, we will focus on the central novel of the trilogy. 'Herland' was first published as a book in 1979, having originally appeared in 12 monthly installments in the periodical 'The Forerunner,' which was published and almost entirely written by Gilman herself. We will read 'Herland' in this original format ' but one installment per week rather than one per month! Using the articles, stories, and poems in each issue that contextualize the 'Herland' installments, we will explore the concepts and debates that informed the construction of Gilman's fictive eco-feminist utopia. Social issues addressed in the same pages of 'The Forerunner' as 'Herland' include: women's fashions and dress reform; (anti-)suffrage and women's rights; women's work and financial independence; feminine domesticity; education; marriage, maternity, and birth control; architecture; World War 1 and the Women's Peace Movement; masculinity, femininity, and humanity; and the social functions of literature. Digitized page images of The Forerunner Vol. VI are accessible via the online archive and these will constitute our primary corpus (with links provided on Moodle).






Universitäre Hochschulen (UH)