Anne Auten on the importance of women’s literature


By Maren Carter

When asked why she chose to teach a course on women’s literature, Anne Auten replied: “I am fascinated by women – women writers, in particular – who have responded to and challenged their historical, social and respective culture through transgressive literary works. The 19th century was defined by massive changes, particularly with regard to gender issues and the roles and representation of women. As Auten learned more about the marginalized writers of the past who had to use pseudonyms or the names given to them by their slavers, she felt shock, rage and also inspiration. because “nevertheless, they persisted”.

A graduate of North Carolina State herself, Auten earned a degree in English Language and Literature and a minor in French in 2006, earning her master’s degree three years later, where she focused her graduate studies on Gender and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century British Literature. She is now an English language instructor and TH!NK faculty member at NC State.

A teacher at NC State for more than 12 years, Auten has taught a wide range of subjects, from composition to contemporary media studies, such as teaching a course focusing on the first installment of George’s Game of Thrones series. RR Martin.to creative non-fiction. Auten emphasizes student autonomy through creative endeavor and project-based learning. In all classes Auten teaches, she tries to “facilitate an exploration of authenticity, nuance, and empathy.”

The study and pedagogy of writing led Auten to discover American educator Mike Rose’s student-centered pedagogical approach and the philosophy of Bell Hooks. mutual vulnerability between students and teachers. Prioritizing individual student development and encouraging the growth of critical thinking skills are teaching elements that Auten took with her into her own classroom. “[It] remained decisive in the design of my course. How can I expect my students to take intellectual risks and feel more empowered if I’m not willing to grow with them? »

Auten chose works she likes when selecting additional reading material to study in her course. She describes literature as “texts [that] explore the development of identity, resistance and freedom, particularly through the lens of liminal and/or marginalized populations. She quoted Franz Kafka’s quote, “a book must be the ax of the frozen sea within us”, and says she feels every text in the course achieves this because of the difficult nature of the reading material.

Being able to interact with students in different capacities inside and outside the classroom is what Auten enjoys most about the Honors and University Fellowships program, including going on exploratory trips with students and be an advisor and a mentor. in formal and informal settings. She expressed gratitude for what her students teach her about humanity, referring to becoming “more patient and less demanding”, and even becoming a Swiftie – “I’m a recent Taylor Swift convert because of them.”

“I hope that students will leave my classes with a greater awareness of the usefulness of literature and its inherent interdisciplinarity. But above all, I hope they feel more empowered and confident in their abilities as thinkers, writers, [and] creators.

Students in the University Honors and Fellowship Program can enroll in Auten’s Honors Seminar, HON 202-001: Transgression & Transformation in Women’s Literature, in the fall.

This post originally appeared in DASA.

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