Monday, December 4th, 2017...5:58 pmrubinb

Intro and Thesis Statement for Final Project

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The Celtic Revival and Harlem Renaissance are two literary movements that illuminate the historical struggles of national and racial identity, as well as violent oppression stemming from dominant hegemonic systems of the time. In the Celtic Revival, writers were grappling with how to restore nationalism and Celtic tradition that had been buried through years of oppressive colonial rule by the British. In the Harlem Renaissance, African American writers navigated systematic racism by using literature, poetry, plays, and music to strengthen the collective African American conscience. While these issues of the Celtic Revival and Harlem Renaissance are undeniably important, the patriarchal systems in place that limited women writers in both movements is also worth understanding. Women in the Celtic Revival and Harlem Renaissance occupied multiple spheres in society because they were marginalized people as well as women. Women during these times were also expected to adhere to traditional feminine roles. In the Celtic Revival, these patriarchal restrictions acted as a barrier to having women’s voices heard in Irish Nationalist movements. In the Harlem Renaissance, African American women writers were marginalized on account of their race, but also on account of their gender. This anthology strives to illuminate literature and poetry written by women of the Celtic Revival and Harlem Renaissance who embraced their femininity and wrote in defiance of the limiting patriarchal, racial, and colonial systems of power that they faced.

Question: How did women writers overcome gender expectations in the Celtic Revival and Harlem Renaissance?


  • Baylie,
    I think that you might not forget that Irish women also existed as colonial subjects.
    As for how they overcome gender expectations, I think you could broaden your thinking about gender expectations to consider also internalized notions of gender, or female-enforced notions of what gender was. I’m thinking of Zora Neale Hurston, for example, whose Their Eyes Were Watching God has been criticized as not particularly progressive, yet asserts heterosexual female sexuality in a way that has often been considered regressive due to its admiration for men. So, what we think of as “conventional” gender expectations can sometimes come off as more progressive than we might think. It’s sort of what David Bordwell calls the conventional in the unconventional and the unconventional in the conventional. You need not find a text that screams FEMINIST to find challenging ideas about gender.

  •   Professor Seiler
    December 8th, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Baylie, since we talked yesterday: just an acknowledgment here of your post and of the new direction/s emerging in your project.

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