Dr. Lara Whelan, Associate Professor of
English, Rhetoric, and Writing, received her undergraduate degree from
Dartmouth College, an MA in British Literature and Culture from King’s College,
at the University of London, and her PhD in English from the University of
Delaware. Dr. Whelan teaches Women’s Literature at Berry. She is most
interested in the social construction of gender, the way it impacts our
opportunities and experiences, and also takes a scholarly interest in the
intersection of class within the women’s movement.
What is your favorite feminist novel
and why would you recommend it?
“The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
is my favorite feminist novel, in part because I really enjoy dystopian
fiction. The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel that asks “What if the culture war in
America became an actual civil war, and the theocrats (those who want a
government based on Biblical laws) won? What impact would that have on women?”
The novel also imagines a world where an environmental crisis has affected
human fertility to the extent that women who can carry a baby to term have
become very rare. The first-person narrator of the novel is one of these women
and she is essentially enslaved by one of the ruling-class families in the new
order. In short, the novel is like a feminist 1984, and well worth a read.”
What is something interesting about you
that your students would never guess?
“I also teach belly dancing (and perform
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