Within the walls of their ENG 273: Women in Literature classroom, a total of 22 students at Northern Virginia Community College’s Woodbridge Campus composed essays, poems and short stories to celebrate diversity and feminist ideology. What started off as a final project, has now developed into a testimonial compilation, “Stolen Tongues: A Women in Literature Class Anthology.”
In spring 2017, NOVA-Woodbridge Assistant Professor of English Indigo Eriksen began teaching the humanities elective. With more than ten years of the course not being offered at the Woodbridge Campus, her students are the first to publish a Women in Literature class anthology. Over the past six months, NOVA students Aida Campos and Reuben Chavez, who both served as editor and editor-in-chief, met with graphic design/art students and faculty at NOVA’s Annandale Campus for assistance with learning about illustration and printing procedures. Once this process was complete, students were eager to share their artistic and inspiring works with readers.
“Women in Literature courses are urgent and necessary because we need to hear the truths of those around us,” said Eriksen. “This class was taught through the lens of intersectional feminism, so it was very important for students to read the worlds they don’t already know, see or understand. I remember on the first day of class I told my students that if you let it, this class might just change your life. It changed my life profoundly, and I think it also changed the lives of my students.”
“Our pieces are meant to pay homage to the feminist literary icons that have paved the road for those pushed to the margins,” said Campos. “After reading a variety of essays and novels with strong, vulnerable, brave and proud women, we realized there was no better way to celebrate not only their writing and characters, but our newfound knowledge as well. This anthology was created to be a celebration, a renewal and our own proud mark on women in literature.”
“Stolen Tongues” is divided into four chapters, Metamorphosis, Phoenix, Invocation and Exosfera. Throughout each section, all 22 students described their personal journey toward transformation, reflection and growth. On Oct. 12, Eriksen’s class held a celebratory “Stolen Tongues” release party at the NOVA-Woodbridge Lakeside Theatre to showcase their creative work and read excerpts from the anthology. Guest speaker Dania Matos, the College of William & Mary’s first deputy chief diversity officer, discussed the importance of empowering women.
“Women in Literature wasn’t a traditional class, and in many ways it was an experiment,” said Chavez. “We all had a variety of experiences and beliefs gallivanting into this class. My hope is that in the process of others reading it, they will be able to expand their views and ultimately add to the dialogue in a constructive manner, while also understanding the issues that face everyday students in your community.”
To obtain a copy of “Stolen Tongues: A Women in Literature Class Anthology,” contact NOVA-Woodbridge Assistant Professor of English Indigo Eriksen.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.