17 July 2020
The Birth of Feminism: UCL, Bloomsbury and Fin-de-Siècle Radicalism
This module explores the rise of feminism in England from the publication of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to World War I, when London was a hot house of radical thinking and the temporary or definitive home of a variety of brilliant cosmopolitan thinkers and writers who converged here attracted by the infinite opportunities for debate on the most varied ‘isms’: positivism, liberalism, socialism, trade-unionism, Ibsenism, Freudianism, vegetarianism, pacifism, secularism and, last but not least, evolutionism. Darwin’s theories of natural and sexual selection and his views of the place of woman in the evolution of the human species had a wide and deep impact on the debate on the Woman Question. They were received and appropriated in different ways by New Woman writers, but none of them escaped their influence.
UCL had a prominent place in these exciting debates also because of its deep connection to Darwinism through figures such as Francis Galton, Edward Grant, Edwin Ray Lankester and Karl Pearson, so this is the right place to explore Darwinism’s fundamental ontological implications for the cultural and literary discourse of the fin-de siècle.
Dr Maria-Novella Mercuri is a Teaching Fellow in Italian and European Cultural Studies and has been teaching for more than two decades, the last of which on undergraduate courses at UCL.
This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area. Students must have completed at least one year of undergraduate study by the start of the module in order to enroll.
Upon successful completion of this module, students will:
Broad knowledge of the historical development of feminism and of the movement for civil rights in Britain
Knowledge of the literature produced by a group of feminist authors who have been generally overlooked by traditional academic curricula, and of their contribution to literary Modernism
Understanding of a culturally intense moment in the history of London and of a period of dramatic social and political changes in Britain
Understanding of the ontological impact that the theory of evolution and psychoanalysis had on Victorians
Understanding of the impact that Ibsen’s theatre had not only on the London stage but also on radical literary and philosophical debates
7.5 ECTS / 4 US / 0.5 UCL
GBP 2100: The tuition fee for this module is £2100.
GBP 1100: There is an option to stay at the UCL Summer School residence for the duration of the three-week course. Accommodation is within walking distance to the UCL campus and features private, en suite rooms with shared kitchens. The cost is approx. £1100 per three-week session.
Students who enroll on both Sessions of the UCL Summer School will benefit from a built-in tuition fee discount.