Course of
Linguistics and Literature

Professor IZUMI Kuniko (English Language and Literature)

[Theme] Reading Gender in American Literature
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 The topic of my research is "reading gender in American literature".

Using the study of the writer Henry James, known for his difficult prose, as a starting point, I gradually broadened my sphere of interest, and am now analyzing literary and cultural representations that combine categories such as race, class, and gender/sexuality in multiple layers, while emphasizing black women writers, especially focusing on Toni Morrison, Asian-American literature, and women writers such as Stowe and Woolf.

he analytical viewpoint of gender is still a relatively new discipline compared to the existing disciplines, and requires research to critically question ways of thinking that we may have swallowed whole as socially accepted ideas.

For example, the appearance of a feminist reading criticizing the gender ideology that seeks to imprint an outside wish for "femininity" in familiar fairy tales, such as Snow White and Cinderella, is said to date back to the 1970s.
For myself, when literary studies stopping at the level of parroted ladylike "studies" came to overlap the problem of my own lifestyle was when I came across this gender viewpoint.

The turning point was when I came across the viewpoint of a feminist interpretation of the problem of gender oppression in 19th-century Victorian England in the ghost story by Henry James called "The Turn of the Screw."
Ever since then, literary studies have become the place for me to struggle with continuing to be the ‘subject who thinks.'

Although many topics in everyday familiar places have turned a blind eye, the gender problem continues to be a widely structuralized problem internationally.
When I learned that female researchers I met in American gender research groups were, surprisingly, dealing with problems similar to ours in Japan, I was intrigued by the deep roots and broad reach of this problem.

Since then, as a female researcher aiming to continue to be the ‘subject who thinks,' I have continued to ask how we should deal with the problem of the "female" subject, which seems to have been ignored in earlier English and American literary studies.
Wouldn't all of you like to try solve this problem together?

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