Dr. Irene Lara Spring 2010

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WMNST 696: Feminist Pedagogies
Dr. Irene Lara

Spring 2010
Office: AL 353

Telephone: 619-594-7151

Email: ilara@mail.sdsu.edu

Office Hrs: Tuesday 10am to 12noon & by appointment

Course Description

This class will further our knowledge of feminist pedagogies through rigorous reading, creative and analytical self-reflection in writing, speaking, and silent contemplation, guest speakers, co-teaching experiences, and class discussion. We will explore feminist and interrelated critical pedagogies and their application in different kinds of “classrooms,” with a focus on the Women’s Studies classroom. Additional themes we will discuss include: teaching from social justice, intersectional, international, and transnational approaches; exploring the role of identity, difference, privilege, oppression, and embodiment in teaching and learning; and practical teaching skills and classroom strategies. In addition, as part of the spirit of enacting feminist pedagogy, at least two class sessions will be self-designed by students. What additional topics, readings, or other learning opportunities would you like to include in or out of the classroom? Or, is there a topic on the syllabus you would like to delve deeper into and spend more time on?

Our Learning Goals
•To demonstrate a deep self-reflection of one’s own learning and teaching experiences as a tool for becoming effective “feminist” teachers

•To better understand multiple theoretical approaches to teaching, including the interrelated feminist, sentipensante (sensing/thinking), social justice, erotic, and critical pedagogies.

•To learn how to apply intersectional, transnational, international, and activist approaches to teaching in Women’s Studies and beyond.

•To analyze the role of social location and power in the production of knowledge and the application of teaching strategies for both teachers and students

•To learn practical teaching skills, such as designing a syllabus and a lesson plan, creating assignments and grading rubrics, leading effective small and large group discussions, and lecturing successfully, as well as creating strategies for sustaining your wellbeing and continual growth as a teacher.

•To develop our deep listening and speaking skills across our similarities and differences.

• To learn feminist pedagogical practices of linking bodymindspirit in the construction and teaching of knowledge, or what Gloria Anzaldúa terms nurturing conocimiento, “that aspect of consciousness urging you to act on the knowledge gained.”

Course Texts/Materials
1. hooks, bell. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994.

2. Cohee, Gail, Elisabeth Däumer, Theresa Kemp, Paula Krebs, Sue Lafky, Sandra Runzo, eds. The Feminist Teacher Anthology: Pedagogies and Classroom Strategies. New York: Teachers College Press, 1998.

3. Fisher, Berenice Malka. No Angel in the Classroom: Teaching Through Feminist Discourse. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.

4. Macdonald, Amie A. and Susan Sánchez-Casal, eds. Twenty-First-Century Feminist Classrooms: Pedagogies of Identity and Difference. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

5. Keating, AnaLouise. Teaching Transformation: Transcultural Classroom Dialogues. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

6. Naples, Nancy A. and Karen Bojar, eds. Teaching Feminist Activism: Strategies From the Field. New York: Routledge, 2002.

7. McKeachie, Wilbert and Marilla Svinivki. McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers. 13th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2011. (12th edition is fine)
*You will also need to purchase a 3-ring binder, dividers, and other supplies for your journal and teaching portfolio.

*All other readings will be in Blackboard under “course documents”

Course Outline

1/20 Week 1: Introduction

Assignment: Answer the Reflection Questions posted on Blackboard “Documents” in your Sentipensante Journal for today’s readings.

In-Class: Introduction assignment; Storytelling-Listener Exercise; Co-create class guidelines

Readings: 1. bell hook’s “Engaged Pedagogy” in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. 13-22. BB

2. Jennifer Ayala, Patricia Herrera, Laura Jiménez, and Irene Lara’s “Fiera, Guambra, y Karichina! Transgressing the Borders of Community and Academy.” 363-389. BB

3. Laura I. Rendón’s “Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy.” 131-144. BB

1/27 Week 2: What are Feminist Pedagogies?

Readings 1. Carolyn M. Shrewsbury’s “What is Feminist Pedagogy?”

2. Berenice Malka Fisher, No Angel in the Classroom, pp. 1–109 (3 chapters)

3. Amie Macdonald & Susan Sánchez-Casal’s “Introduction: Feminist Reflections on the Pedagogical Relevance of Identity” in 21st Century Feminist Classrooms, pp. 1–31.

4. Robbin Crabtree, David Alan Sapp, and Adela Licona’s “Introduction: The Passion and the Praxis of Feminist Pedagogy”

5. bell hooks’ “Feminist Thinking: In the Classroom Right Now” in Teaching to Transgress, pp. 111-18
2/3 Week 3: Student Designed Class/Professor’s Furlough Day
2/10 Week 4: The “Sacred” and “Erotic” in Feminist Pedagogy
1. Audre Lorde’s “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power”

2. Michelle Rowley’s “Rethinking Interdisciplinarity: Meditations on the Sacred Possibilities of an Erotic Feminist Pedagogy,” Small Axe 24 (Oct 2007): 139-154.

3. Gloria Anzaldúa’s “now let us shift… the path of conocimiento… inner work, public acts”

4. Jacqui Alexander’s “Pedagogies of the Sacred: Making the Invisible Tangible”

5. bell hooks’ “Eros, Eroticism, and the Pedagogical Process” in Teaching to Transgress, pp. 191-99.

6. Berenice Malka Fisher’s “No Angel in the Classroom: Exploring the Ethic of Care” in No Angel in the Classroom, pp.111-36.

2/17 Week 5: Liberatory & Social Justice Pedagogies:

Paulo Freire & Conscientizacion
1. Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed Ch. 1 and Ch. 2, pp. 43-86

2. bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress, “Paolo Freire” pp. 45-58

3. Berenice Malka Fisher, No Angel in the Classroom, pp. 191 – 221

4. Antonia Darder’s “Teaching as an Act of Love: Reflections on Paulo Freire and His Contributions to Our Lives and Our Work,” pp. 567-78.

5. Eden Torres’s “Wisdom and Weakness: Freire and Education,” pp. 73-97.
2/24 Week 6: Education as the Teaching of Freedom:

bell hooks and AnaLouise Keating I
1. bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress, pp. 1-12; 23–44; 59-110

2. AnaLouise Keating’s Teaching Transformation, pp. 1–55

3/3 Week 7: Education as the Teaching of Freedom:

bell hooks and AnaLouise Keating II
bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress, pp. 111–190; 200-207

AnaLouise Keating’s Teaching Transformation, pp. 56–124, Appendix 4-6

3/10 Week 8: Embodiment in the Classroom: Students and Teachers
Selections from Tilting the Tower: Lesbians, Teaching, Queer Subjects edited by Linda Garber and The Teachers Body: Embodiment, Authority, and Identity in the Academy edited by Diane P. Freedman and Martha Stoddard Holmes, among others, including:
1. Kimberly Wallace-Sanders’ “A Vessel of Possibilities: Teaching through the Expectant Body”

2. Brenda Daly’s “Dancing Revolution: A Meditation on Teaching and Aging”

3. AnaLouise Keating’s “Heterosexual Teacher, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Text: Teaching the Sexual Other(s)”

4. Robert Anderson’s “Teaching (with) Disability: Pedagogies of Lived Experience”

5. Elizabeth A. Fay’s Michelle Tokarcyk’s “Introduction” to Working-Class Women in the Academy: Laborers in the Knowledge Factory

6. Kate Adam’s and Kim Emery’s “Classroom Coming Out Stories: Practical Strategies for Productive Self-Disclosure”

3/17 Week 9 Pedagogies of Identity and Difference

Reading: Twenty-First-Century Feminist Classrooms: Pedagogies of Identity and Difference. Selections to be collectively chosen.
3/24 Week 10 Discomfort, Resistance, and Productive Tensions

in the Feminist Classroom

Guest Speaker:

Readings: 1. Fisher, Berenice Malka. “Dangerous Curves Safety and Self-Disclosure,” pp. 137-162.

2. Anne Donadey’s “Negotiating Tensions: Teaching about Race Issues in Graduate Feminist Classrooms”

3. Audre Lorde’s “The Uses of Anger.”

4. Sarah J. Cervenak, Karina L. Cespedes, Caridad Souza, and Andrea Straub’s “Imagining Differently: The Politics of Listening in the Feminist Classroom”

5. Megan Boler’s “A Pedagogy of Discomfort: Witnessing and the Politics of Anger and Fear” in Feeling Power: Emotions and Education.

Spring Recess
4/ 7 Week 11: Diversity, Multiculturalism, and Beyond: Teaching from Intersectional, International, & Transnational Approaches

Guest Speaker:

1. Selections from Encompassing Gender: Integrating International Studies and Women’s Studies, tba

2. Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s “Under Western Eyes Revisited…” and/or “Race, Multiculturalism, and Pedagogies of Dissent.”

3. Leila DeVriese’s "Lessons from the Classroom: Renegotiating Critical and Feminist Pedagogy in the Middle East"

4/14 Week 12: Pedagogical Practices in Feminist Spaces:

The Classroom and Beyond

Guest Speaker:

Readings: 1. Elizabeth Colwill and Richard Boyd’s “Teaching without a Mask?: Collaborative Teaching as Feminist Practice”

2. Gail Cohhee et. al.’s The Feminist Teacher Anthology: Pedagogies and Classroom Strategies. Selections to be collectively chosen.

4/21 Week 13: Teaching Feminist Activism & Integrating Community Service Learning

Guest Speaker:

Readings: Nancy A. Naples and Karen Bojar, eds. Teaching Feminist Activism: Strategies From the Field. Selections to be collectively chosen.

4/28 Week 14 Teaching Emotionally Powerful Subjects/”Sensitive” Issues:
Enacting “the Personal is Political” in the Classroom

1. Michelle Cox and Katherine E. Tirabassi’s “Dangerous Responses”

2. Janet Lee’s “Survivors of Gendered Violence in the Feminist Classroom”

3. Alesha Durfa’s “Teaching Sensitive Issues: Feminist Pedagogy and the Practice of Advocacy-Based Counseling.”

4. “The Power of No” in The Feminist Teacher Anthology, pp. 70-74

5. Mary Margaret Fonow and Debian Marty’s “The Shift from Identity Politics to the Politics of Identity: Lesbian Panels in the Women’s Studies Classroom”

6. Estelle Freedman’ s “Small-group Pedagogy: Consciousness Raising in Conservative Times”

7. Wendy Chapkis’s “Explicit Instruction: Talking Sex in the Classroom”

5/5 Week 15: Practical Teaching Knowledge

Roundtable of “Best Teaching Practices” by Women’s Studies Faculty and/or Graduate Teaching Associates

1. McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, selections TBA

5/12 Week 16: Self-Designed Class

1. SENTIPENSANTE (sensing/thinking) JOURNAL
Over the course of the semester, you are required to compile a reflection journal in which you thoughtfully engage the knowledge (and possible wisdom) communicated through discussion, guest and student presentations, and the readings. You are to critically engage what you read, see, and listen to from your bodymindspirit, that is, from your multiple intelligences (e.g. emotional, spiritual, intuitive, rational intelligence). You will need to purchase a three-ring binder or folder and organize it by section. It includes the following separate sections (use tabs to distinguish each section):
I. Lecture/Discussion and Guest/Student Presentation Notes: All class lecture/discussion and guest/student presentation notes must be typed and include a corresponding date and title for the lecture. Make sure to emphasize the definitions and significance of key concepts presented. Integrate 10 minutes or so after every class to write your reflections on how the seminar went that day. Questions you may wish to consider include: What stood out for you? What troubled you? What do you wish you would have said but didn’t? What do you wish you had not said or had perhaps worded differently? Why? What is something you would like to raise or see addressed in the next seminar? Length may vary, but should average about two pages.
II. In-class Writing: The professor or a presenter may ask you to write on a particular topic or question in class, either individually or in a small group. You are expected to bring your assigned readings to every class because you may be asked to write about them. You will hand in these writings, the professor will check them, return them, and you will then include them in your journal.
III. Reflection Questions/Reading Notes: You are required to respond to reflection questions or take reading notes on at least three required essays or book chapters each week. Directly engage the readings by quoting particularly compelling statements and critically exploring the author(s)’ ideas/theories. These reading notes should be typed and labeled with the name of the reading and author(s). They are to be about one to two pages long for each reading. The reading notes should either 1. answer the reflection questions posed on Blackboard OR 2. highlight the principal theoretical question(s) addressed by the author and the author’s answer(s) to the questions/problems/issues from a sentipensante approach. Additionally, you are asked to comment on the readings: What do you think and feel about the reading? Why? What did you learn that was particularly significant for you? What is its significance for you?
2. PERSONAL ESSAYS: Reflecting on Your Educational Experiences and Teaching Vision

More guidance will be forthcoming


Co-teaching Presentations: Several times throughout the semester, everyone will be responsible for presenting on at least one of the scheduled essays or chapters in pairs or triads. You are responsible for collaborating with your partner(s) to:

  1. Write a one to two page (single-spaced) handout that i. lists the main points of the article/chapter; ii. defines the main key terms/concepts/ideas; iii. summarizes your thoughts and feelings on the main arguments (include why you think and feel the way you do); and iv. any lingering questions you may have that can serve as discussion questions

  2. Implement a form of feminist pedagogy into your teaching presentation­­–it is important to practice what we are theorizing about.  Include a brief written discussion of your process in deciding what practice to implement and its intended significance.


Learning Activity: Raising Consciousness in the Classroom [please note: This assignment is drawn from Texas Women’s University Professor Jo-Ann Stankus’ syllabus, WS5353 Feminist Pedagogy, Fall 2009.]
Along with one or two other students, you will design and implement a learning activity aimed to increase awareness of power structures within society (e.g. white privilege, xenophobia, sexism, compulsory heterosexuality, homophobia, ableism, ageism, sizeism, and/or classism); to encourage meaningful reflection on “feminism” or “womanism”; or to promote reflection on strategies for social change. Even though you will carry out the activity in our class (for 20-30 minutes), you can design this activity with an undergraduate class or another learning context in heartmind (e.g. a middle school classroom, a high school women’s studies club, a community organization meeting, a student group on campus, etc.) After we participate in the exercise, we will collectively reflect on its strengths and limitations and offer suggestions for improvement and actual implementation.
On the day that you carry out this learning activity, your group will provide each member of the class with the following: a written description of the activity, a statement of the goals and intended participants for the activity AND a statement of the perceived strengths and limitations of the activity. You are welcome to implement ideas found in any of our readings, the textbook Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (on reserve at Love Library), or from your own knowledge or research. We can collectively decide how to sign up for groups and when to hold the presentations.

Guidelines will be collectively determined by the class. Perhaps designing a class or teaching unit that relates to your interests?


Our class is conducted in a seminar style that values and necessitates your thoughtful discussion and attentive participation. Your active involvement in class is required. You can demonstrate your involvement by completing all of the readings before class, being prepared with informed discussion questions and comments focused on the readings, following class guidelines, engaging in class discussion and small group work, and by visiting office hours.

ATTENDANCE will be taken at the beginning of every class session through a sign-in sheet. If you miss more than two classes, you will not receive an A for the course. I will routinely ask if there are any questions at the beginning of class, regarding syllabus or assignment clarifications for example. If you are absent or late, FIRST ask your class buddies via email or the break and check Blackboard announcements regarding what you missed (i.e. handouts, explanation of assignments, changes in schedule, etc.). You can also check-in with me during scheduled office hours or make an appointment. However, DO NOT ask questions before consulting the Syllabus or Blackboard “Announcements.”


**Integrating Practical Teaching Knowledge

[Draw from McKeachie’s Teaching Tips]

Practicum: Designing a Syllabus

Practicum: Designing Assignments, Designing Grading Rubrics, Assessing Assignments

Practicum: Multiple Approaches to Teaching an Article

Practicum: Developing Support and Nurturing Self-Reflection as a Lifelong Learner and

Teacher (e.g. collaborating, student/peer/mentor evaluations, mentorship-peer support group and faculty mentorship, institutional resources e.g. Center for Teaching and Learning)

Practicum: Presenting a Multimedia Practice Lecture/Guided Discussion

Other ideas?

**Integrating Guest Speaker Contributions to our Learning Community

[Ask each guest to bring a copy/description of one of their favorite and effective learning activities for undergraduates–e.g. group project, essay prompt, semester review sheet, oral history project, research project, and/or favorite pedagogy article/text/resource]

Susan Cayleff and Community Service Learning Director: How do you integrate community service learning into the classroom? How do you engage with activism and social justice? How do you teach the movements?

Elizabeth Colwill: Collaborative Teaching in the Feminist Classroom
Anne Donadey: Addressing Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity in the Curriculum and WS Classroom
Doreen Mattingly: Assessment, Grading, Grading Rubrics, Creating Quizzes/Writing Prompts/Midterms/Finals, Linking Objectives to the Class
Esther Rothblum: Using Technology to Further Teaching: Online Surveys and Beyond

(Read Rothblum’s article)

Roundtable of Past and Present Women’s Studies Graduate Teaching Associates

What have they learned about teaching WMNST 101 and 102? What challenges have they faced and how did they address them?

How do you suggest GTAs run the first day/week of class?

What were your favorite and most effective assignments/class activities?

What else do you wish to impart to the next generation of GTAs and teachers of women’s studies in general?

Appendix : Grading Policies, Course Policies and Additional Information

Grading Policies
Grades are calculated on a standard scale, with pluses and minuses as appropriate. Late submissions are only allowed for exceptional circumstances and with previous approval from instructor. I will make an effort to return assignments within one to two weeks. Criteria for assigning grades is as follows:
A = outstanding, available for highest accomplishments

B = praiseworthy, above average

C = average, satisfactory performance

D = minimally passing, below average

F = failing
(The cut-off grade for students taking the course for credit/no credit is a C. If you receive 73% or below you get a “no credit.”)

The assignment of letter grades is as follows:

B+ = 87-89

C+ = 77-79

D+ = 67-69

F = < 60

A = 94-100

B = 84-86

C = 74-76

D = 64-66

No curves

A- = 90-93

B- = 80-83

C- = 70-73

D- = 60-63

Course Policies


Some of the assigned films and/or visual images studied in this course contain sexual content and/or graphic violence, which may be perceived as offensive or disturbing to some viewers.  Any students with concerns about this should meet with the instructor at least one week prior to our scheduled viewing of a film or visual images to discuss those concerns.
SEEKING HEALING RESOURCES: Throughout the class we will have emotionally intense

readings and discussions that address experiences that impact one’s health and wellbeing, such as: violence towards women and girls; anorexia, bulimia, and other body concerns; and racism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression. If you would like to speak further about these issues, I am available during office hours and email and can also refer you to relevant organizations and trained counselors. I have also gathered some local resources for your information and in the service of healing. I encourage you to consult trained counselors at:

•SDSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services: 619-594-5220

•Family Justice Center: 619-533-6000

•San Diego Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault 24-hour Hotline: 1-888-DVLINKS or 1-888-385-4657
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Students who need accommodation of disabilities should contact me privately to discuss specific accommodations for which you have received authorization. If you have a disability, but have not contacted Student Disability Services at 619-594-6473 (Calpulli Center, Third Floor, Suite 3101), please do so before making an appointment to see me.
EMERGENCIES: If you have an unexpected emergency and miss turning in a major

assignment, you must notify me via email. Documentation of emergency is required.

ABSENCES: You do not have to notify me about the circumstances surrounding your absence in general, unless you have special circumstances and/or an extended absence. By the end of the second week of classes, students should notify me regarding planned absences for religious observances, athletic competitions, or academic conferences or meetings.
APPEALING A GRADE: You can appeal a grade by using these guidelines:

  1. Must be appealed within one week after assignments have been handed back.

  2. Must include a typed explanation thoroughly outlining the reasons why you think your assignment was not graded properly.

  3. Must include the original copy of your graded paper.

CHEATING & PLAGIARISM: Violations of academic integrity will be reported to the university Disciplinary office. This includes: "recycling” or “borrowing” papers or parts of papers from other courses or students, purchasing papers on-line or from other paper brokers, plagiarizing and other forms of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Do not copy someone else’s work or ideas without giving them credit, and do not summarize someone else’s ideas without giving them credit. Be very careful when 0researching on the Internet. Always consider the source of the material, and make sure to explicitly cite the website from which you gathered the information. Penalties for plagiarism range from an “F” grade to expulsion from the university. If you have questions about what might be considered plagiarism, please ask. See the SDSU General Catalogue for more information at this website: http://coursecat.sdsu.edu/catalog/up.pdf or SDSU’s High Tech Center website: www.sa.sdsu.edu/htc/Plagiarism.pdf

**CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR: Come to class with your readings, books and/or notes, readings

completed, and be prepared to discuss them. Expect that we will cover a wide range of topics and will not always agree on which interpretations are best. But be prepared to defend your point of view. At the same time, whenever you agree or disagree with me or with other students, do so respectfully by drawing on course materials and informed reflections.

It is important that you have a desire to participate in this class. You have a choice in the courses you take. The nature of this course demands an engaged and open-minded approach. Your participation is defined as being actively engaged in lectures and class discussion through informed speaking, attentive listening, and taking notes. You must maintain an attentive class presence. Class participation is absolutely essential to the success of the course. Students must come to class prepared to actively contribute to the class discussion. As you read each article before class, respond to the posted reflection questions or take written notes on loose-leaf paper about various aspects of the readings. Discuss, for example: What are the main ideas and concepts conveyed? How do the readings contribute to achieving our course objectives (on page one of the syllabus)? How do the readings relate to my life and the world around me? Be sure you always come to class with your reading notes, as they will help you with class participation. If you do not usually participate in class, make an office hours appointment with me so we can discuss strategies for your participation. For example, if you have not participated during a class period but would like to increase your participation grade, you may turn in your reading notes for the day to me at the end of class. (DO NOT turn in the notes you took during class, only the notes you took while reading before coming to class.)
Courtesy Reminders:


*Turn off internet connections, cell phones, etc. during class.

*IT IS DISRESPECTFUL and UNACCEPTABLE to side-talk, read non-class materials, text message, sleep, etc. during class. Such behavior is distracting to your fellow students and myself, and I will ask you to leave.

*Do not start getting ready to leave until the class has ended.

*Let me know if you MUST leave early or arrive late and sit next to the door.

*Offensive remarks, looks, and tones are not acceptable. Be respectful.

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