This course aims to present and discuss selected works by extraordinary Jewish women writers, thinkers, philosophers and activists such as: Kadia Molodowski, Khana Levin, Anna Margolin, Debora Vogel, Rachel, Leah Goldberg, Zelda, Else Lasker Schuler, Agi Michol, Irena Klepfisz, Adrienne Rich, as well as Irit Amiel, Rukhl Fishman and others. They are writers active before and after WWII and stem from Europe, Israel and America, writing originally in Yiddish, Hebrew or English, or other languages (like Russian and Polish).
Students will have an opportunity to learn about Jewish women’s writer’s cultural heritage and to engage in enjoyable and rewarding discussions of literature in various contexts: apart from assuming the roles of avid readers and judicious critics of literature, who will often use the feminist perspective, we will, at times, be historians, in our attempts to understand the ideological contexts of the chosen texts, at other times – we will be students of theological thinking, seeking the doctrinal contexts of the works, as well as – political commentators, heled by thoughts of philosophers like Hannah Arendt or Susan Sontag.
Key topics relevant to all the sessions will be: women’s history and Jewish history (herstories), the Jewish women’s voices in the 20th century literature, women’s Jewish literature from various part of the world, the intertwinement of politics and private life, happiness and struggle through songs, poetry, short stories, novels and intellectual debates.
All classes will be held in English and the assigned reading will be preliminary in English and (if translations are available) in Swedish (as well as in the original language of the work).
About the teacher
Urszula (Ula) Chowaniec, Ph.D. is a professor (dr hab.) at the Andrzej Frycz-Modrzewski Cracow Academy in Poland and the Research Fellow at University College London. An Amos Oz Fellow at Paideia (2019-2020). She is an author of a monograph Melancholic Migrating Bodies in Contemporary Women’s Writing (2015) and In Search for a Woman: Early Novels of Irena Krzywicka, Kraków 2007. She also edited and contributed to Women’s Voices and Feminism in Polish Cultural Memory (2012), Mapping Experience on Polish and Russian Women’s Writing (2010), Masquerade and Femininity. Essays on Polish and Russian Women Writers (2008).
She teaches among other course: Contemporary Polish Women’s Writing; Gender and Body Politics in Literature and Film (Eastern-European Perspectives); Eastern Europe Through the Literary Nobel Prize Winners. Currently, she lives in Stockholm. Academic site: https://cudzoziemki.weebly.com