2022 – Spring

Journalism as Literature: Women and War

Course Number: JOUR-UA 504, section 1

Day & Time: Wed | 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Location: 20 Cooper Square, room 700

Instructor: Susie Linfield

Prerequisites: None

How do women write about war–and what is the experience of women in war?
This course will examine those questions, though the definition of “war” will be quite expansive, and there will be relatively few battlefront dispatches. We’ll look at how women have written about violent conflicts–before they start, while they are in progress, and after they are presumably “over”–with an eye to raising various journalistic, political, and ethical questions. These include: What is the relationship between objectivity and partisanship–and are they compatible? What are the pros and cons of “outsider” reports versus “insider” narratives? Has the role and impact of women journalists, qua women, changed in the course of the 20th and 21st centuries? Does a “female perspective” exist–and should it? How has war in the past century been transformed–in particular, from battles between professional armies to the deliberate killing of unarmed civilians, especially women and children? How do war, genocide, and terrorism differ? Why and how has rape become a conscious (not collateral) instrument of war? What is humanitarian intervention, and when (if ever) has it been successful?

This course will include articles, books, graphic novels, novels, and films. We’ll read journalists—and journalistic accounts—from an array of times, events, and places, including World War II, the Iranian Revolution, El Salvador, Vietnam, Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Beirut, Paris, Congo, Syria, and Egypt.

This course requires a great deal of reading, a large number of written assignments, and oral presentations. The texts and issues we’ll discuss will be intellectually demanding and emotionally disturbing.

Notes: Counts as an elective for the journalism major and both journalism minors.

Questions? Email undergraduate.journalism@nyu.edu.