Feminist activist campaigns such as the Women’s March or the #MeToo movement have shown that in recent years advocates for women’s rights have newly embraced public displays of outrage as a political strategy in the face of the Trump administration’s crack-down on social equity. While images of public outrage at all ends of the political spectrum in the United States have become quite prevalent in the media over the past few years, the persistence of stereotypical images such as the “feminist killjoy” or “the angry Black woman” shows that the ways in which expressions of anger and rage meet public acceptance reflect existing social hierarchies. Recent publications such as Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger (2018), as well as Brittney Cooper’s Eloquent Rage (2018) equally take up rage and anger as a (Black) feminist political tool and show how social norms dictate how we think about particular emotions – whether they are good or bad, productive or useless, fit for public display, or seen as rather inappropriate.
In this seminar we will revisit a selection of feminist texts and look at the ways in which rage and anger find expression in literature, how those expressions contribute to feminist knowledge production, and how they resonate at the level of aesthetics. Engaging with texts by, amongst others, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Valerie Solanas, Toni Morrison, and Wanda Coleman, we will use anger/rage as a cultural analytic to address questions such as, Who can express rage and anger publicly? How can we read expressions of rage and anger intersectionally? What are the gendered and racialized politics of rage and anger? Is there a difference between ‘rage,’ and ‘anger’ and how does this difference play out politically and socially? When are expressions of such feelings perceived as righteous, when are they seen as disruptive to the social order?
The course will be designed as a hybrid online-course using Moodle, which means that there will be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous sessions. Students registered in this class are asked to make sure that they are generally available during the time of the sessions. More detailed information will be sent out to registered students in the beginning of term.