Home > Sample Menu > Annotated Bibliography Sample

Annotated Works Cited*

Annas, Pamela. “Style as Politics: A Feminist Approach to the Teaching of Writing.” College English 47:4 (April 1985): 360-72.

This essay grew out of Annas’ experience teaching a course titled “Writing as Women.” Annas argues that numerous constraints work to prevent women from writing and to make them self-conscious when they do write. She believes that women must be taught to become personally (and politically) invested in their writing. Annas writes, “Whenever a woman sits down to write, she is engaged in a complex political act in which the self and the world struggle in and through the medium of language” (362-363).

Caywood, Cynthia and Gillian Overing. Introduction. Teaching Writing: Pedagogy, Gender, and Equity. Albany, NY: SUNY P, 1987. xi-xvi.

In their introduction to this collection of essays, Caywood and Overing write that the purpose of this book is to explore “the relationship between feminist theory and writing theory” (xii). They write that there are important parallels between the feminist critique of patriarchy and revisionist critiques of traditional writing practices and pedagogies and equate the process model of writing to feminist revision strategies. Ultimately, their entire collection argues for transforming the composition classroom into a feminist language class. The focus is on empowering women students and revaluing feminine modes of discourse.

Cixous, Helene. “The Laugh of the Medusa.” Signs 1:1 (Summer 1976): 875-93.

In one of the most-cited feminist essays, Cixous argues that women must reclaim their bodies and forge their own path through writing. She condemns patriarchal intimidation and oppression of women, claiming women can only free themselves once their establish their right and power through writing. Cixous argues that women are indoctrinated to believe their writing is somehow shameful and that women silence themselves by keeping their writing secret.

Coates, Jennifer. Men, Women, and Language: A Sociolinguistic Account of Gender Differences in Language (2nd ed.). New York: Longman, 1993.

Coates argues that there is a strong interplay between language and social structure. The author states that society has preconceived notions about gender and language. For example, women are not as literate as men, they talk more and say less (silence is the ideal because it is synonymous with obedience). Coates cites the “Androcentric Rule”—men’s language is the norm, women’s the deviance. Coates hopes to show readers that language, dominated by males, plays a key role in continued inequality between the sexes.

Daumer, Elisabeth and Sandra Runzo. “Transforming the Composition Classroom.” Caywood and Overing 45-62.

Beginning with a disturbing metaphor of teacher as mother, Daumer and Runzo argue that composition and women have been neglected, but can be reclaimed and reconciled in the feminist writing classroom. They offer typical critiques of the product-oriented class, as well as typical solutions for the feminist composition teacher. This article actually argues against much of what contemporary feminist pedagogy strives to achieve.

Edelsky, Carole. “Who’s Got the Floor?” Gender and Conversational Interaction. Ed. Deborah Tannen. New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993.

Using taped faculty meetings, Edelsky’s analyzed gendered differences in who assumes and keeps the “floor.” She found men talk longer than women in singly-developed floors, and participate less than women in collaboratively-developed ones. She also warns that the “turn-taker’s” intentions must be taken into account when analyzing their participation: are they attempting to support a stated point or wrest control of the conversation?

Heilbrun, Carolyn. Writing a Woman’s Life. New York: Ballantine, 1988.

The author argues that women’s lives have been contrived, and now women must re-write their lives “to make clear, evident, out in the open, those events, decisions, and relationships that have been invisible outside of women’s fictions” (18). Heilbrun cautions that idealistic women are deluding themselves if they think the oppressed status of women (and others) can be changed without a conscious acknowledgement and confrontation of that oppression. Heilbrun mentions several feminist biographies and autobiographies that show women concealing their true motives and influences (writing for men, as Rich mentions in “When We Dead Awaken”), and how they are kept from expressing anger or combining their public and private lives (like famous men do).

hooks, bell. “Holding My Sister’s Hand: Feminist Solidarity.” In Teaching to Transgress: Education  as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994. 93-110.

In this chapter from her famous treatise on engaged pedagogy, hooks argues that feminism cannot move forward if white women refuse to listen to black women or deny the reality of racial domination. Beginning with a historical analysis of white and black women’s relationships (or lack thereof), hooks writes “White women writing about their impressions in scholarly and confessional work often ignore the depth of enmity between the two groups, or see it as solely a black female problem. Many times in feminist circles I have heard white women talk about a particular black woman’s hostility toward white females as though such feelings are not rooted in historical relations and contemporary interactions” (101-2).

Hunter, Susan. “A Woman’s Place Is in the Composition Classroom.” Rhetoric Review 9:2 (Spring 1991): 230-45.

Hunter elucidates the differences between the way a feminist teacher teaches writing and the way most of her are accustomed to learning (the masculine “banking” concept), and argues that those differences need not create friction between the teacher and her students (acknowledging and conceptualizing those differences can have a profound effect on student learning). Hunter writes, “Along with transforming attitudes about language, feminist teachers and the feminist writing teachers must also offer alternate models of authority for their students, different from those available in hierarchical, authoritarian classrooms” (233). She argues this is especially problematic for the feminist teacher who has been taught to nurture and whom students expect to mother rather than father them.

Rich, Adrienne. “Toward a Woman-Centered University” (1973-74). In On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978. New York: Norton, 1979. 125-55.

In this chapter from Rich’s well-known collection, the author argues that a woman-centered university would be a more open and equitable place for learning than the traditionally man-centered one. She writes that women entering the university system become indoctrinated into a system than reinforces male-centered society. Rich believes that women must resist the male-dominated structure, deciding for themselves what they will accept and what they will reject (come to their own modes of critical thought), and that women must work to destroy the fragmentation within the university—both of its classes of people (especially women) and its academic divisions.

*NOTE: Because of web formatting issues, this is not precisely how your works cited/bibliographic entries would appear. Your citations (not the annotations) should have a hanging indent (if you don't know what that is, try it in your work processing program). And I used "works cited" rather than "bibliography" or "references" because that is the MLA convention--check your style manual for the proper term.