Spring 2024 - WL 320 D100

Interdisciplinary Approaches to World Literature (4)

Black Women’s Writing & Female Agency

Class Number: 7653

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Intermediate seminar on the intersections between World Literature and other modes of cultural expression, or other academic disciplines. May focus on different methodological approaches to World Literature, for instance gender, cultural, or performance studies. Alternatively, may explore literature in relation to music, theatre, film, the visual arts, or digital humanities. This course may be repeated for credit when different topics are offered. Breadth-Humanities.


This course approaches world literature through the constructions of female agency in black women’s fiction. Firstly, we will discuss the racial and sexist discrimination of black women in male-dominated societies and their strategic response to their oppression through multilayered, and at times, conflictual individual and collective praxis that stage their voices, needs, expectations, concerns, and subjectivities. As such, our reading of female agency will seek to extend beyond obvious acts of resistance to privilege concrete societal transformation in which women can unlock their full potential. Secondly, we will highlight the sociocultural singularities of black female agencies and their proximity or delineation with other forms of female agencies. Thirdly, a premium will be placed on the subversive powers of narratives devised by black women to challenge their obliteration or ghettoization in dominant historical narratives and to underline their prominent roles in the struggle for the emancipation of their societies or nations. The overarching aim is to underscore the contribution of black women to the growing scholarship on gender issues.    


  • Attendance & Participation 15%
  • In-Class Essay 1 10%
  • In-Class Essay 2 10%
  • Group Oral Presentation 15%
  • Term Paper 1 20%
  • Term Paper Re-Write 30%



Season of the Shadow by Léonora Miano 
ISBN: 9780857424808

Exile according to Julia by Gisèle Pineau
ISBN: 9780813922485

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie
ISBN: 9781616202415

Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade by Assia Djebar
ISBN: 9780704326101


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html