|Abstracts: Gender and Education Association Conference 2015
Thursday 25 June
9.00-11.00 (William Morris Lecture Theatre)
Gender, social justice and education: North and South
Gender Agendas: Resisting the conceptual simplification of gender in international education policy and research.
Convened by Charlotte Nussey
This symposium questions the space which gender holds as a political construct in shaping international education policy and research agendas. Gender is firmly on the international agenda, an integral part of the international development lexicon in both the MDG and the post-2015 EFA and SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) frameworks, and is a key term for accessing research funding. But as a construct many commentators acknowledge that it is increasingly slippery, and can often become disassociated from feminist activism and work towards social justice on the ground.
The symposium brings together four interconnected papers drawn from international qualitative research into gender and education. These papers raise questions around ways that gender agendas in policy shape what 'gender' can mean, and the various ways that it can be co-opted or deployed with or against the grain of feminist concerns. Education gender policies often 'target' women and girls, focusing on goals of increasing access and participation; responsibility for equality thus becomes located with women and girls, which obscures structures of inequality, violence and misogyny, and can open the field for co-optation. However, these processes can also produce fertile ground for new subject positions and resistances. This symposium will question which forms of gender research or policy and programming might sink or swim in current climates, and how different actors are led into reproducing, constraining and/or resisting 'gender agendas'.
Keywords: gender agenda; international education; subjectivity; discourse; marginalisation; social justice
Gender-without-feminism agendas: The discursive positioning of gender in international academic feminism
Emily F. Henderson, UCL, Institute of Education
There are ongoing debates in academic feminism about the notion of ‘gender without feminism’ (Pereira, 2012; Henderson, forthcoming), where the concept of gender is used in both research and policy as an apolitical construct. Although ‘gender’ is the term that alludes to the mainstreaming of feminist concerns in the international education policy arena, ‘gender’ is also the term that is held as responsible for the emptying out of the feminist agenda. As such, so-called gender researchers often have an ambivalent relationship with the term that designates their field. The conceptual work that gender can do is therefore limited both by the simplification of the term for policy and mainstream research purposes and the disengagement from signification work by academic feminists. Drawing on empirical material from interview and ethnographic research conducted at three national women’s studies conferences (India, UK, US), this paper analyses the discursive positioning of gender within feminist academic research.
Emily F. Henderson is a doctoral candidate at the UCL Institute of Education, funded by the ESRC. She is researching manifestations and interpretations of gender in international Higher Education. Emily has published a number of journal articles on feminism and gender in Higher Education. Her first book, Gender pedagogy: Teaching, Learning and Tracing Gender in Higher Education, appears in the Palgrave ‘Gender and Education’ series in 2015.
Troubling one size fits all solutions to gender violence in schools
Jenny Parkes, UCL, Institute of Education
This paper will critique the de-contextualising imperatives of the quest for one-size-fits all solutions to concerns about gender and violence. While welcoming the global policy concerns to understand ‘what works’ to address gender based violence in and around schools, current attempts to measure, monitor and evaluate tend to distill acts of and responses to violence from the contexts in which they are produced, and, in the process, from the connections with gender identities and performances in specific settings. Through reflecting on empirical data from surveys and focus groups with girls in Kenya, Ghana and Mozambique, I will discuss how the different types of data produce different understandings about gender violence. My analysis signals the need to understand how changing material and discursive contexts influence the dynamics of gender, sex and violence and I will conclude by considering the implications for educational interventions.
Jenny Parkes is a Reader in Education at the UCL Institute of Education. Her research is concerned with gender violence and young people, and she has coordinated studies in Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, South Africa and the UK. Her edited book Gender Violence in Poverty Contexts: the Educational Challenge will be published by Routledge in early 2015.
A fragile position? Resistance in the performances of gendered 'marginalisation' by rural South African women
Charlotte Nussey, UCL, Institute of Education
Women in South Africa might be seen to hold fragile and sometimes contradictory social positions: black women in South Africa are more likely than men to be illiterate (GHS 2009), be HIV positive, and be subject to extremely high levels of gendered violence (Jewkes et al., 2010). Yet as there is increasing recognition of the intersectional feminisation of racialised poverty and inequality in South Africa, women are often 'targeted' in programmatic interventions and social protection programmes such as child support grants (Patel, 2012). This paper engages with extensive qualitative fieldwork conducted with 'illiterate' rural women in South Africa from 2012-2014. In this paper I question the performance of the fragile subject position of being a marginalised woman intersectionally, exploring how 'marginalised' operated both as an troubling signifier that at times offered protection but at others was performed and resisted in ways that imbued the position with new meanings.
Charlotte Nussey is a doctoral candidate at the UCL Institute of Education, funded through a Bloomsbury scholarship. Her doctoral research looks at performances of gender and violence in an adult education intervention in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A chapter she has written on adult education has been published in the volume Education and International Development: Practice, Policy and Research, edited by Tristan McCowan & Elaine Unterhalter.
The multipolar dimensions of gender and girls’ schooling: contradictions and contestations
Elaine Unterhalter, UCL, Institute of Education
This paper seeks to identify the emergence of a multipolar space regarding international development in the last ten years that stands between agendas associated with human rights and basic needs, security, the environmental agenda, and responses to the 2008 financial crisis. In this environment, gender and schooling, notably issues associated with girls’ access to school, have come to occupy a particular resonant space, signaling both an end to all development ills, and the dissolution of differences between, for example, the state and the private sector, equality oriented NGOs and those linked with profit. The paper discusses struggles over key terms associated with this process –empowerment, efficiency and effectiveness – with gender issues in education operating both as a social justice project and to sanction or sanitise relations of commodification, exploitation or continued inequalities. The paper reflects on the implications for international Declarations on Education for All and the Sustainable development Goals.
Elaine Unterhalter is Professor of Education & International Development at the UCL Institute of Education. She has written a number of books, chapters and journal articles on gender, education and international development, and has coordinated research projects on gender and schooling in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana.
9.00-11.00 (Gilbert Scott Lecture Theatre)
Pedagogy, Power and the Curriculum
Extending the Reach of Critical Pedagogy
Widening Participation in BA Developmental Psychology Courses:
A Theory-based Intervention
Michalis Kontopodis, Marta Jackowska & Christine Becker-Hardt
University of Roehampton, University of Roehampton and Free University Berlin
Traditionally students entering Higher Education (HE) in countries such as UK were a homogenous group largely consisting of white, middle-class young adults. The cultural, ethnic and socio-economic characteristics of HE students in UK have changed dramatically, but the curriculum of undergraduate studies in Education & Psychology remains dominated and informed by theories and research conducted by white and predominately male scholars. Since May ‘68 critical psychologists have studied and deconstructed the theory and history of psychology in this regard and suggested alternative ways of teaching as well as of doing psychology. Taking all this under consideration, first year education students were asked, as part of their developmental psychology module, to reflect on the histories, contexts and limitations of classic developmental psychological theories as well as to learn about Mariane Hedegaard’s Cultural-Historic Approach to Children’s Development of Multiple Cultural Identities. In turn, two focus groups were conducted as to explore the students’ attitudes towards these topics and approach, as well as their perceptions of what should be included in the developmental psychology curriculum in general. The purposive sample consisted of students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and included mature students, some of whom were parents. The questions were open with a minimal probing from the interviewer as to avoid leading questions and to facilitate a debate between the focus groups’ participants. The qualitative analysis of the group discussions reveals the students’ implicit understandings on culture, gender and identity and their (potential) relevance for teaching and learning about child development. It thus re-opens the discussion about widening participation in developmental psychology BA courses.
Keywords: identity, teaching psychology, case study, critical developmental theories
Dr. Michalis Kontopodis’s background comprises psychology, educational science and cultural anthropology. He accomplished his PhD at the Free University Berlin and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at the Faculty of Education, University of Roehampton in London. His book "Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development" has recently been published as a paperback (second edition) with Routledge. For detailed information and access to publications, visit: http://mkontopodis.wordpress.com/
Dr. Marta Jackowska has a PhD in Health Psychology from University College London. She is a Lecturer in Psychology at the School of Psychology, University of Roehampton. Dr Jackowska's interests primarily concern the psychological aspects of sleep but she is also interested in exploring different approaches to teaching and learning psychology in Higher Education.
Christine Becker-Hardt is an MA student in Childhood Studies and Children's Rights at FU Berlin and the UCL Institute of Education. She is interested in the influence of curricula on educational inequality in industrialized countries and in the links between habitus and educational participation.
The enactment of power within ‘didactical contracts’ of classroom teaching
Anna Danielsson, Malena Lidor, Maria Berge Uppsala University, Uppsala University, Umeå University
This paper reports on an empirical exploration of the constitution of power and knowledge in science and technology classrooms. A deepened examination of the teaching of science and technology is partly motivated by these subjects high status in society, how they are portrayed as crucial both for the individual, in order to function in an increasingly technologically advanced society, and for the society at large, while finding it increasingly difficult to attract interest among the youth . We are interested in how (instances of) teacher-student interaction can be understood as simultaneously contributing to meaning making and producing power relations. The empirical design is based on a purposive sampling of classrooms. The paper draws on three video recorded case studies of physics and technology teaching, with students in the ages 14-17. The analysis is focused on how actions initiated by the teachers (analysed in terms of epistemological moves (Lidar et al. 2006)) and the responses to these actions are functional in constituting a ‘didactical contract’ (Brousseau & Warfield 1999). In our paper we contrast the didactical contracts for the three studied classrooms, and discuss how power relations must be understood as integral to these contracts. Furthermore, a key concern in the analysis is to take the situatedness of the studied classroom seriously, by theoretically and empirically acknowledging that these classrooms are by no means isolated from surrounding structural factors (e.g. gendered disciplinary and societal norms). How to address this concern is something we are keen to discuss during the conference.
Keywords: technology education, science education, class-room study, power relations, didactical contract
Anna T. Danielsson is Reader in Education at Uppsala University. Her research interests are centred around issues of identity, gender, and power in science education.
Malena Lidar is Assistant Professor in Education at Uppsala University. Her research is primarily concerned with issues of teaching and learning in science education, with a focus on the selection of teaching content in relation to standardised assessment.
Maria Berge works as a researcher at the Department of Science and Mathematics Education, Umeå University. Her research interests are centred around interactional patterns when learning together in science and technology education.
Teaching about the ‘Pink Holocaust’ in an Icelandic Upper Secondary School Classroom: A Queer Counter-Space?
Jón Ingvar Kjaran, Ingólfur Ásgeir Jóhannesson
University of Iceland
Studies have shown that the dominant discourse within schools tends to be heteronormative and that LGBTQ students may feel or experience themselves marginalized. Furthermore, textbooks and curricula rarely address LGBTQ issues and topics (see Blackburn 2011; Ferfolja 2007). In Iceland, a new National Curriculum Guide for pre-, compulsory and upper secondary schools was released in 2011. It provides the option to offer queer theory as a resource for teaching about queer topics and potentially as a specific course.
This study is about the ways in which queer studies can provide a queer space, a kind of a counter-space. Our conception of the queer counter-space is drawn from Foucault’s heterotopia – the space of the other – which he uses to describe places and spaces that function in non-hegemonic conditions, outside the traditionally normative or dominant institutional spaces of power (Foucault 1984) – and Fraser’s concept of the counter-publics (Fraser, 1990).
We use the concepts of heterotopia and counter-publics to explore how queer counter-spaces were formed by teaching about queer history in one upper secondary school in Iceland. The data is drawn from an ethnographic study about a two-week long seminar about the so-called ‘pink holocaust’ was offered to different groups of students during two school terms. Moreover, interviews were taken with gay male students in the first group, who experienced the course as liberating and increasing their safety and the feeling of being included. The course had thus some disruptive effects, in the sense that it queered the hegemonic discourse of gender and sexuality and thus created a queer counter-space.
Keywords: LGBTQ youth, queer theory, curriculum, education policy, gender, sexuality.
Jón Ingvar Kjaran, researcher/lecturer at the University of Iceland, School of Education. His main fields include in education theory and policy, queer and gender studies within education. He is currently working on a book on LGBTQ youth in Iceland, which will be published at Palgrave Macmillan, in the book series Queer studies and Education.
Ingólfur Ásgeir Jóhannesson is a professor of education at the University of Iceland. His main fields include education policy, curriculum, upper secondary schools, and gender and education.
Parochialism and Patriarchy: Teaching Gender Studies in a
Catholic High School
Maggie Doyle Ervin
Nerinx High School, Missouri
Problems arise when teaching a college credit gender studies course at a Catholic high school in the United States. Such dual credit courses are ubiquitous, and they frequently involve the mastery of complex material for the high school students. This presents challenges, but the challenges are exponentially compounded when teaching material that opposes the religious authority and doctrines of the school. How one contends with viewpoints from feminist theorists such as bell hooks and Judith Butler when confronted with Pope Francis’s statements on “radical feminism” is in question. What unfolds is the navigation of a series of pedagogical tightrope acts. Further difficulties ensue when one considers a lack of tenure for the teachers at many parochial high schools, and the fact that parochial high schools are not bound to the antidiscrimination laws that public high schools enjoy. What then takes place is a microcosmic example of the power dynamics that the discipline seeks to dismantle. Irony abounds.
Keywords: pedagogy, high school, parochial, academic freedom, Catholicism, Gender Studies
Maggie Doyle Ervin has spent the last 13 years working in education, with a background including a mix of administrative and teaching roles. Her graduate research focused on Irish Studies, and her research interests lie in exploring representations of female protagonists in Irish fiction, specifically in the novels of Edna O'Brien. Additionally, she is interested in Gender Studies pedagogy. For the past six years, Maggie has taught at a private, all girls school in Webster Groves, MO, where she currently teaches Irish Women Writers, Gender Studies, U.S. Lit, Creative Writing, and World Literature.
Teaching and Learning about Sex, Gender and Gender-based Violence in South African High Schools: Barriers, Prospects and Possibilities
Talia Meer and Kelley Moult
University of KwaZulu Natal, University of Cape Town
Research shows that South African youth are sexually active relatively early, and also experience high levels of gender-based violence. However, research also shows that youth are seldom given credible, robust education on these difficult issues. Based on in-depth individual and focus group interviews with teachers, learners and parents about how such education takes place, this paper presents a nuanced account of the barriers to school-based education on sexuality, gender and gender-based violence, in South Africa. Findings show that the school subject area in which these ‘taboo topics’ are covered has low legitimacy among teachers and learners; that teachers’ roles within the rigid school hierarchy and their existing pedagogies are inconsistent with developing rapport with learners necessary for teaching these sensitive topics; that teachers’ willingness to engage on these issues is personality dependent and shaped by their own gendered histories; and that accessible nuanced teaching resources on these topics is lacking. This poses serious challenges for emancipatory feminist teaching on gender, sexuality and violence, which may be stymied by teachers’ own discomfort with these issues, and met with learner 'resistance', where the break with teachers’ traditional and accepted roles and pedagogical approaches is too jarring. This paper contends that comprehensive, plain language teaching resources about gender, sexuality and violence are essential for bridging the gap between teachers and learners and reducing the barriers inherent in putting teachers at the forefront of such teaching in South African schools.
Keywords: gender, sexuality, gender-based violence, teachers, schools, South Africa
Talia Meer completed a BA in Political Science at the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa in 2007, and an MA in Development Studies at Dalhousie University, Canada in 2010. In 2011 she started as researcher at the University of Cape Town’s Gender, Health & Justice Research Unit – an interdisciplinary unit focusing on evidence-informed advocacy at the intersections of gender, the criminal justice and health systems. In the last four years her work has involved public health and criminal justice responses to survivors of sexual assault – including survivors with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, and sexuality and gender-based violence education. She recently concluded a three-year project that investigated how learners gain information about sexuality, relationships and violence, and co-developed a curriculum to address some of the gaps in information to teenagers in the school context. In 2015 Talia will begin full time doctoral studies at UCT’s Department of Sociology.
Kelley Moult holds a PhD in Justice, Law and Society from the American University in Washington, DC. She holds an MA in Criminal Justice from the George Washington University, and an undergraduate degree in Criminology from the University of Cape Town. Kelley is a founder member of the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit. She has previously worked at the Institute of Criminology at UCT, George Washington and American Universities in DC, and at the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the United States Department of Justice. She has been a Fulbright Fellow, and was the recipient of the Neil and Anne Kerwin Dissertation Fellowship. Her areas of interest are feminist criminology, gender-based violence and policy, domestic homicide, and the intersection of traditional and Western justice systems in terms of these issues. At present she works on sexual and reproductive rights, and education for youth in South Africa.
Power in the Academy
Creating Anti-Oppressive Spaces within the Neoliberal Diversity Regime: Doing Critical Pedagogy in University Classrooms”
Convened by Nicole S Bernhardt
As educators engaged in critical pedagogy and anti-racist feminism, we propose this symposia to discuss how our teaching practices in higher education are informed by relations of power and difference. The intimate spaces of the classroom can provide students with opportunities to challenge oppressive, hegemonic norms that often inform their engagement with material and their interactions in the classroom. Whereas engaging in these conversations is always risky, it is particularly challenging under current neoliberal diversity regimes which depoliticize difference (Ahmed, 2012; Bilge, 2013; Erel et al., 2003; Ferguson, 2012) and thereby impede engagement in these conversations, while enabling the reproduction of oppressions in our teaching environments. We use intersectionality in our teaching practices as a way to attend to students’ and our own positionality. We treat difference as salient but not epistemologically determinative, and promote classroom communities that do not conflate social location, identity and values (Yuval-Davis, 2010), but instead recognize how differently situated voices may be jointly committed to anti-oppressive education.
In our individual contributions, we describe the specific practices we use within our English-Canadian context to elicit student reflection upon, and discussion of, difference and oppression. Cognizant not only of students’ potential identification within current power relations, but also our own, these practices involve attentiveness to the work of sorting through and challenging taken-for-granted understandings of personal experience (see Berlak, 2005; Chapman, 2013; hooks, 2010; Lagan et al., 2007). We hope this symposia will provide opportunities for critical reflection and discussion about disrupting intersecting systems of oppression in higher education.
Key words: critical pedagogy; intersectionality; neoliberalism; anti-oppression; diversity
We are members of the ‘Equity Reading Group,’ which formed after a teaching development workshop at York University, Toronto, Canada. We share an interest in understanding how power and equality operate in the classroom. The Equity Reading Group joins together various disciplines, including Gender, Feminist & Women’s Studies, Political Science and Sociology, to discuss issues of intersecting oppressions as they relate to Higher Education. Our shared understanding of education is informed by anti-racist feminist literatures, in particular bell hook's work on critical pedagogy, and a commitment to fostering democratic and engaged classrooms.
Intersectionality as Critical Pedagogy
Elena Chou, York University, Toronto
Drawing from the work of bell hooks (1984, 1994, 2010) on critical pedagogy, intersectionality and the potentiality of classrooms as liberatory spaces, I discuss how I use intersectionality as a pedagogical tool to get my students to think critically and reflexively about the various intersecting systems of oppression that shape their lives. I encourage students to not only share their personal experiences, but more importantly to try to get them to link these experiences as much as possible to concepts and theories from course material in order to provide them with the tools to analyze the power relations – be they socio-economic, political or epistemological - that produce their social world. My role is to help facilitate their own learning and to help them become critical consumers and producers of knowledge in an increasingly neoliberal learning environment.
Elena Chou is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Sociology at York University. Her areas of research interest focus on the intersections between “race” and racialization, identity and representation, cultural studies and media and popular culture, particularly as they pertain to the identity and representation of the Asian diaspora specifically in Canada, but also more generally in white settler and other immigrant receiving societies.
Storying power and pedagogy
Sandra Smele, York University, Toronto
In her most recent reflections on pedagogy, bell hooks affirms “that there is indeed a place in the learning process for telling one’s personal story” (2010, p. 55). Her support for this practice is not without qualification, however, given the possibility of its reduction to exhibitionist confessional speech. Other anti-racist feminist scholars also point to challenges related to their pedagogies of personal storytelling, including the essentialization of subject positions, student resistance to this ‘non-academic’ practice, and the significant risks oppressed groups face when sharing their stories with passive, disengaged listeners. In this presentation, I discuss how I navigate the pedagogical possibilities of personal storytelling according to the ideal of working towards new relations of power and difference in the classroom. In particular, I focus on the pedagogical and power-disrupting effects of my own engagement in personal storytelling, a practice that hooks recognizes as fundamental to building a learning community.
Sandra Smele is a PhD candidate in the Sociology department at York University. Her research follows an ecological epistemology to analyse the experience and relations of those living and working in group homes for adults identified as developmentally disabled.
The affect of "feeling oppression/privilege": feminist politics of emotion in teaching and learning in neoliberal higher education
Pat Breton, York University, Toronto
With the rise of neoliberalism in western education, critical knowledge production in university classrooms is increasingly depoliticized. Market fundamentalism in universities promotes safe classroom spaces, where dissent and discomfort in learning is less valued and tolerated. Feminist, anti-racist pedagogies endorse the risky, often emotional work of challenging the intersectional oppressions/privileges of race, class, gender, and sexuality in the classroom and beyond. The visceral responses of students to anti-oppression education in classroom learning often present pedagogical challenges to educators, particularly precariously employed teachers. Drawing from my own teaching experiences within the Canadian educational context, this paper examines affect/emotion in the classroom to argue for the transformational politics of a feminist praxis of emotion in teaching and learning about social injustice.
Pat Breton is a PhD Candidate in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies at York University, Toronto Canada. Her research interests are feminist political economy, maternal/child welfare in Ontario and violence against women. Over the last fifteen years, Pat has been involved as an activist in the violence against women sector. Other research interests include feminist anti-oppression pedagogy and emotion/affect in teaching and learning. Her work has been published in the journal MIRCI (Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Initiative) and the edited work, “ Mothering in the Age of Neoliberalism”.
Learning from the Margins – Teaching Anti-racist feminist research
Rehanna Siew Sarju, York University, Toronto
Using an Anti-Racist Feminist (ARF) framework, this paper considers how critical research can be an effective teaching and learning tool in light of neoliberal values of diversity. Specifically, ARF allows for discussions on power and difference, as standpoint theory asks students to consider how their subjectivity and that of others, inform the social world. Participatory Action Research and narratives are two research designs considered in this paper for their ability to grapple with issues of difference, intersectionality, and voice. ARF moreover allows marginalized knowledge to be at the centre of analysis, as students consider how difference operates in various socio-cultural, political, economic, and historical contexts. Thus, to engage with students, educators must grapple with how macro-level processes connect to everyday realties, as the classroom is not only a space in which concepts are learned but a space where we become agents of reinvention and social change.
Rehanna Siew-Sarju is a sociology PhD Candidate. Her research focuses on how Canadian immigration policies not only inform the social mobility of undocumented and refugee Trinidadians but also their representation as ‘bogus refugees.’
To Call out or Not to Call out? Disrupting Intersecting Oppressions within the Classroom
Nicole S. Bernhardt, York University, Toronto
The pressures of neoliberalism within higher education have produced an administrative impetus to “mimic corporate culture” (Giroux, 2014: 17) and appeal to students as consumers. This approach to education stands in stark contrast to community-based pedagogical anti-racist feminist frameworks that understand education as contextualized within broader social struggles to advance anti-oppression. As a precariously employed university educator, I experience this tension when I consider “calling out” students’ unreflective expressions of privilege in the interest of advancing their understandings of intersecting oppression, because this could upset these students-cum-consumers. While I am cognisant of students’ self-esteem during these conversations, I also maintain that we must be willing to risk the students’ discomfort in order to disrupt hegemonic norms. My presentation explores the possibility of treating the classroom as a disruptive and transformative space within higher educational institutions undergoing neoliberal restructuring, and considers the risks therein.
Nicole S. Bernhardt a Political Science PhD Candidate at York University, conducting research into the efficacy of systemic equity-driven change efforts within the framework of human rights. Nicole has presented papers and workshops on anti-racism throughout Canada as well as in France, Austria, and Australia.
Teachers, Identities and Social Justice
Storying the teaching self
Discursive practices of gender, sexuality and educational leadership in Greek primary schools: a case study
Emmy Papanastasiou, London Metropolitan University
Greece is a European country in which gender equality is established by Constitution. However, despite positive initiatives and huge strides towards equalisation underpinned by legislation, there is still a long way to go until gender disparity is completely uprooted. Greek society remains largely patriarchal in its structure and customs and, as a result, stereotypical perceptions and attitudes towards gender roles persist. In other words, there appears to be a gap between the legal framework that is supposed to ensure equality and the current situation. Furthermore, even though in the rest of the Western world there is a body of research on the subject of enquiry about being a lesbian or gay teacher and about how teachers challenge homophobic behaviour and heterosexist practices this is not the case in Greece.
As part of a broader study of gender and educational leadership in Greek primary schools from a feminist constructionist point of view, this paper considers the experiences and constructions of a teacher, who self-identified as gay. Through a feminist analysis of an in depth interview with him the study discusses how he enacts, resists and reproduces dominant understandings of gender and sexuality in terms of his own identities and practices in the school context. It also discusses the possibilities, challenges and resistances that may exist in Greece for a gay teacher who may aspire to a leadership position.
It is anticipated that the results from these discussions will add to the body of literature around gender in schools and around gender and educational leadership both nationally and internationally.
Key words: gender, sexuality, education, Greece
Emmy Papanastasiou holds a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education from Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, a Masters Degree in Special Needs from the University of Nottingham, an MBA in Educational Management from the University of Leicester and is currently a PhD student at London Metropolitan University. Her thesis is on Gender and educational leadership. She works as a special needs teacher in Greece.
Learning to be Froebelian: student teachers’ life histories 1952-1965
Dr Sue Smedley, Dr Kate Hoskins
University of Roehampton
Drawing on the life histories of nine women who were trained at Froebel College in the 1950s and 1960s, this paper examines the women’s narratives as Froebelian student teachers and explores their remembered constructions of their experiences. Using an analytical framework underpinned by theories of identity and language (Bakhtin, 1986, Britzman, 2003, Vygotsky, 1978), their stories are shown to shed light on the women’s engagement with and commitment to Froebelian ideas (1885, 1887, 1896) and their sense of identifying with what the college stood for. The women’s stories illustrate a version of professionalism, located in time, place and culture, which incorporates contradictory elements of self-belief and self-effacement. In reflecting on their identities as Froebelians, their stories enact an understanding of politics and advocacy which demonstrates professional autonomy. Unexpectedly, their stories also show some difficulties with articulating Froebelian principles, and instead express an emotional attachment. That emotional engagement, rather than being seen as an inadequacy, is argued to be a central strand in developing a hopeful, motivating and enabling professional workforce. Such a workforce is all the more important today, in the light of current increasing statutory pressures towards performativity, regulation and control in early childhood education and care. This paper contributes to an argument that Froebelian principles that rest on respect for children and that are non-prescriptive for practitioners, should be protected, adapted and adopted.
Keywords: Froebel; early childhood professionalism; women teachers; life history
Sue Smedley is a lecturer at the University of Roehampton, teaching a variety of undergraduate courses in education and early childhood studies. Her doctoral thesis focused on men student primary school teachers and her main interests are in early years and primary teachers’ professional identities. Prior to joining the university she worked as a primary school teacher in London.
Kate Hoskins is a reader in the School of Education at the University of Roehampton. She convenes an MA in Social Research Methods and also teaches undergraduate courses. Her research interests relate to the sociology of education, with a particular focus on policy, identities and inequalities.
“What was humiliating for him was appropriate for me”:
Icelandic teacher students’ earliest memories of being girls or boys.
Thordis Thordardottir University of Iceland
The focus in this presentation is drawn on a research project at the School of Education, University of Iceland. Teacher training students were asked to document their first memories of being girls or boys. The aim was to explore if and how young student’s memories of gender negotiations from childhood could expand the importance and impact of gender equality teaching in teacher preparation. The author hoped to find examples that would motivate teacher educators, to take gender equality into account in their teaching. In 2012, students attending teacher training programme at the School of Education, University of Iceland were asked to write freeform 300 – 450 words of their first memories of being girls or boys. Altogether 126 anecdotes were submitted by 113 females and 13 males. The data analysis was based on if and then how these memories reflected the students’ construction of gender identity as femininity or masculinity. Two thirds of the students’ anecdotes involved communications with school personnel in pre-, elementary-, and lower secondary schools. The remaining group described memories from their home life. The anecdotes involved stories of embodying and negotiating femininity and masculinity in childhood and being forced to give up activities or play considered wrong or inappropriate for the students’ gender. Some described how they gave up easily, while others tried to struggle against the pressure until they ultimately gave up. The findings indicate that schools can be powerful sites for reproducing gender inequalities in students’ identity formation processes and indicates the importance of placing a greater emphasis on more gender equality education in Icelandic schools.
Keywords: Gender equality, negotiating, school, memories, anecdotes, social pressure.
Thordis Thordardottir is an assistant professor at the University of Iceland-School of Education. She finished her Ph.D. in education studies from the University of Iceland, 2012, and M. Ed. degree in Comparative education from the Iceland University of Education, 2000, teacher licence program from the University of Iceland, 1995 and B.A. in education studies, from the same university in 1993. She finished a Diploma in educational administration and leadership, from the Social Pædagogiske Højskole in Copenhagen 1990 and graduated from the Iceland preschool teacher training College 1974. Her main research focuses on gender education and culture together with knowledge construction and meaning making in early childhood education.
Divine Inspiration: The influence of a religio-spiritual episteme on the pedagogical commitments of Judeo-Christian Black women faculty
Kristen T. Edwards, University of Oklahoma
In recent history there has been evidence of increased interest in issues of diversity, equity, and access in United States [U.S.] higher education (Dancy, 2010; Hurtado, 2001; Palmer & Gasman, 2008). With this relatively modern emphasis on critical examinations of difference, there remains a dearth of scholarship focused on the complexities of U.S. Black women’s experiences in higher education (Patton, 2009; Watt, 2006). While the experiences of U.S. Black women in higher education are troubling, interest in theorizing or developing practice to counter these struggles remains scant (Harley, 2008; Henry, 2008). Even less scholarship exists on the pedagogical contributions that manifest via this population’s increased presence on college campuses (Edwards, Clark, & Bryant, 2012; Patton, 2009). Rending the veil of trauma and erasure that shrouds the lived-experience of U.S. Black women academicians reveals potent tools for transformation in higher education.
This study is situated on the premise that U.S. Black women academicians can offer new tools to dismantle the “Master’s House” for the benefit of the whole academic community (Lorde, 2008, p. 49). Considering academic survival tools as mechanisms for potential benefit to the campus community, one protectant mentioned with frequency is religious faith practiced within a culturally-specific tradition (Cozart, 2010; Patton & McClure, 2009; Stewart & Lozano, 2009). The present study investigates the ways U.S. Black women faculty who self-identify as possessing strong faith commitments within Judeo-Christian denominations, particularly the U.S. Black Church, conceptualize their roles and responsibilities as faculty members and pedagogues within higher education.
Keywords: Race, Gender, Black/African-American Women, Higher Education, Faculty
Cozart, S. C. (2010). When the Spirit shows up: An autoethnography of spiritual reconciliation with the academy. Educational Studies, 46, 250-269.
Dancy, T. E. (2010). Managing diversity: (Re)Visioning equity on college campuses. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Edwards, J. B., Clark, T. T., & Bryant, S. (2012). African American female faculty in predominantly White graduate schools of social work. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 32(1), 90-107.
Harley, D. A. (2008). Maids of academe: African American women faculty at predominately White institutions. Journal of African American Studies, 12(1), 19-36.
Henry, W. J. (2008). Black female millennial college students: Dating dilemmas and identity development. Multicultural Education, 16(2), 17-21.
Hurtado, S. (2001). Linking diversity and educational purpose: How diversity affects the classroom environment and student development. In G. Orfield (Ed.), Diversity challenged: Evidence on the impact of affirmative action (pp. 187-203). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education.
Lorde, A. (2008). The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. In A. Bailey & C. Cuomo (Eds.), The feminist philosophy reader (pp. 49-51). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Palmer, R., & Gasman, M. (2008). “It takes a village to raise a child”: The role of social capital in promoting academic success for African American men at a Black college. Journal of College Student Development, 49(1), 52-70.
Patton, L. D. (2009). My sister’s keeper: A qualitative examination of mentoring experiences among African American women in graduate and professional schools. The Journal of Higher Education, 80(5), 510-537.
Patton, L. D., & McClure, M. L. (2009). Strength in the Spirit: A qualitative examination of African American college women and the role of spirituality during college. Journal of Negro Education, 78(1), 42-54.
Stewart, D. L., & Lozano, A. (2009). Difficult dialogues at the intersections of race, culture, and religion. New Directions for Student Services, 2009(125), 23-31.
Watt, S. K. (2006). Racial identity attitudes, womanist identity attitudes, and self-esteem in African American college women attending historically Black single-sex and coeducational institutions. Journal of College Student Development, 47(3), 319-334.
Kirsten T. Edwards, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, as well as Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. Her research merges philosophies of higher education, college curriculum, and pedagogy. More specifically, Dr. Edwards is interested in the ways that faith, race, gender, class, and culture impact faculty, curriculum, and pedagogy in higher education settings. Her research has additionally considered the contextual influences that shape pedagogical approaches in the study of equity, inclusion, and social justice along the educational pipeline.
Excellent Researchers and Good Teachers.
Teaching in a Research Intensive University
Katja Jonsas, University of Roehampton
Since 1980s and 1990s higher education policies in the United Kingdom have been influenced by new public management, consequently, university management has aligned with new managerial regimes emphasising performativity and accountability. As tuition fees have become an important source of income for universities, teaching quality has become an issue of importance. In fact, student satisfaction is one of the promotion criteria.
In this paper it is explored how teaching is perceived and experienced by academic women working in a research intensive business school in the UK. While the importance of teaching is acknowledged in the qualitative interviews conducted for this study there are implications that research is perceived as ‘the academic practice’ which provides the basis for other practices. It is suggested that teaching should coincide with research and good researchers are also likely to be good teachers.
At the same time it is acknowledged that teaching is a skill that needs to be learned, although, the learning has taken place through informal means. However, this is now changing as academic staff need to complete a certificate in teaching within the period of their probation. This in mind, this paper discusses how the academic women have gained their skills in teaching and what their experiences tell about the changes in higher education.
Keywords: teaching in higher education, higher education policy, academic women
Katja Jonsas is currently working in a European Union funded research project Universities in the Knowledge Economy (UNIKE). In her work she explores how the careers of academic women in business schools have been constructed and sustained under the conditions of new managerialism. Katja Jonsas holds a BA in Social and Cultural Anthropology from University of Helsinki and a MSc in Social Research from VU University, Amsterdam. Her research interests are gender and higher education policy.
Public Pedagogies: the power of policy
Policy and Practice: from micro to macro politics
Leading and driving GLBTI change at schools: How schools are developing and embedding a more inclusive environment for GLBTI students and staff in Victoria, Australia.
University of Melbourne
This paper is based on the emerging data from a study into the decision making processes and change management strategies at secondary schools in Australia who have successfully developed and implemented policies with respect to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (GLBTI) students and staff. The paper will focus on the roles and influence of the principals and leading teachers and examine the change management strategies that have lead to new practices supporting GLBTI students and staff. The major question that will be explored is; “how does school management drive the change process and implementation of a more comprehensive and explicit inclusivity policy regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex students in the Australian school system?”
Through case studies, this project is examining how ‘activist’ teachers and principals are promoting ‘equality and inclusion’ for individuals who identify as GLBTI. It will also explore effective change management strategies that benefit that group at secondary schools. Critical theory has been chosen as the conceptual lens through which to interpret and analyse the data that has been collected. This framework allows for an opportunity to examine how the ‘power’ of school leaders can be used to influence the education setting and how they can drive change within their own specific environments.
It is envisioned that the research could encourage the development of new GLBTI inclusivity initiatives by providing the opportunity to study and understand successful change management and implementation strategies. The research also would enable teaching practitioners and education authorities the opportunity to engage with positive stories of change and to consider effective change strategies for their own environment.
Keywords: change management; GLBTI; inclusion; equality; secondary school
Robert Moolman is currently working on a PhD at the University of Melbourne, as well as contributing to the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission on their ‘Fair go, sport!’ program, which aims to make schools safer and more inclusive for same sex attracted and gender diverse students, primarily through sport. His field of interest and study centre around issues of leadership, change and GLBTI inclusion at schools. He was an Economics and Accounting teacher for 13 years in South Africa, before moving to Australia in 2010. His experiences as a teacher, head of department and assistant housemaster, have greatly influenced his passion for social justice and change. The opportunity to explore contemporary theory in this PhD has helped extend his understanding of the challenges and opportunities that staff and students face in current education environments.
Increasing school’s market value by integrating symbolic capital and exploiting gendered and classed volunteering labour
Berglind Rós Magnúsdóttir University of Iceland
Numerous studies have examined parental involvement in schools, but few gender studies scholars have focused on how a critical mass of parents with high symbolic capital are made responsible for the market value of a school in advanced neoliberal moments. Here parenting emerges as a social practice that is regulated by equity discourses that advocate for the integration of middle-class parents and their children into “low-achieving” schools. Drawing upon Bourdieu’s theoretical ideas as well as other social class and gender scholars this paper assesses the ways in which parents’ symbolic capital and volunteering labour operates to shape notions of a valued school community. In particular, this case study focuses on the experiences of white and multi-ethnic middle-class parents, living in a small university town in the USA, who integrated into a predominantly ‘black’, ‘working-class’ elementary school community which had been labelled as a “failing”. Parental involvement was analysed through interviews with school authorities, staff and 36 parents. It moves forward to outline the gendered consequences of decreasing state responsibility to the public good which has given rise to intensified class and racial segregation between schools, increasing parental volunteering labour and in so doing reaffirm normative family structure and valorise intensive mothering and market values in education.
Keywords: parental involvement, parental choice, integration policy, middle-classness, volunteering labour, intensive mothering
Berglind Rós Magnúsdóttir (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an assistant professor at the University of Iceland, in the School of Education and completed her PhD-degree in 2014 from the University of Cambridge. Prior to her PhD studies, she worked as an adjunct and equal opportunities officer at the University of Iceland and has five years of experience as a teacher in the Icelandic compulsory education system. From 2009–2011, after having completed two years of the PhD study in Cambridge, she took up a post as a special adviser to the Minister of Education, Science and Culture in Iceland. Her main research area is on marketization and privatization in education and its effects on social justice, democracy and the social context of school communities with a special focus on the intersections of race, class, gender and disability.
Gender and queer studies in Icelandic schools – an evaluation of a national curriculum initiative
Ingólfur Ásgeir Jóhannesson, University of Iceland
The paper deals with how the so-called fundamental pillar of equality in the National Curriculum Guide in Iceland is likely to influence schools.
In 2011, a National Curriculum Guide for pre-, compulsory, and upper secondary schools in Iceland was issued. Among other things, it contains for all school levels a 10-page section about these fundamental pillars of education, cross-curricular issues that “should be evident in all educational activities and in the content of school subjects …” (p. 15). These pillars are literacy, sustainability, democracy and human rights, equality, health and welfare, and creativity. In the text about the equality pillar, gender studies and queer studies are noted as resources as well as potential course subjects.
The presentation analyzes:
Sections of the National Curriculum Guide, specific to each of the three school levels, for instance the so called Subject Areas for the Compulsory School, released in 2013.
A booklet on Equality – but the Ministry commissioned the writing of about 64 page booklets about each pillars.
Two textbooks for compulsory schools, published since 2011.
Interviews with a small sample of upper secondary school teachers who teach courses in gender studies (quite a few schools now offer them).
Observations upper secondary school classes of gender and other equality studies, derived from a data base collected in October 2013 to November 2014 by a large group of researchers.
Participant observations in a history class in a large upper secondary school, dealing with the so-called “Pink Holocaust”.
Keywords: Gender studies, queer studies, “Pink Holocaust”, curriculum, fundamental pillars of education
Ingólfur Ásgeir Jóhannesson is a professor of education at the University of Iceland. His main fields include education policy, curriculum, upper secondary schools, and gender and education.
The politics of gender misrecognition, feminist backlash and deracination in the era of neoliberal accountability
Professors Wayne Martino and Goli Rezai-Rashti The University of Western Ontario
In this presentation we focus on a critical policy analysis of gender and achievement in the Canadian context as a basis for reflecting on how critical feminist accounts of gender equity are being undermined and in fact displaced by a neoliberal regime of accountability. In fact, we examine how backlash discourses, in tandem with neoliberal forces of accountability in the education system; have resulted in a fundamental re-articulation and re-definition of what is to count as gender equity. We show how the definition of equity In the Canadian context has been redefined by economic rationality, performativity and efficiency that have resulted in further embracing a neoliberal and neoconservative articulation of gender achievement that is unable to account for the persistence of familiar structural inequalities in the education system. We illustrate how such articulations rely on a fundament politics of both deracination and erasure with regards to addressing inequities that continue to impact on visible, sexual minority and female students. The Canadian case study provides insights into the continued morphing and reinscription of discourses of gender equity that continue to be defined by neoliberal, market driven reforms which also have a role to play in igniting feminist backlash agendas. In light of this critical policy analysis we reflect on the implications and urgent need for feminist pedagogical interventions in education that are informed by both anti-racist, postcolonial, queer and trans informed epistemologies.
Key Words: gender achievement gap, neoliberal accountability, decracination, feminist pedagogical interventions
Dr. Wayne Martino is Professor of Equity and Social Justice Education in the Department of Critical Policy, Equity and Leadership Studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. His books include So what's a boy? Addressing of masculinity and schooling (with maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Open University Press), Boys and schooling: Beyond structural reform (with Bob Lingard and Martin Mills, Palgrave), Gendered outcasts and sexual outlaws (with Christopher Kendall, Routledge) and Gender, race and the politics of role modeling: The influence of male teachers (with Goli Rezai-Rashti, Routledge).
Goli M. Rezai-Rashti is Professor of Education and women studies at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests are broadly in the field of sociology of education, critical policy analysis, Globalization and postcolonial studies. Her teaching and publications focus on gender, race, class, sexuality and schooling and also the impact of neoliberal education reform on education. Professor Rezai-Rashti’s research has been published in scholarly journals such as the American Education Research Journal, Gender and Education, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Curriculum Inquiry, International Journal of Inclusive Education and Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies and the International Journal of Qualitative Studiess. Her co-authored book (2012), with Wayne Martino, on Gender, Race, and the Politics of Role Modelling: The Influence of Male Teachers was published by Routledge, New York. Her forthcoming co-authored book (with Bob Lingard, Wayne Martino and Sam Sellar) on Globalizing Educational Accountability is also published by Routledge, New York. She also guest edited (2013) a special number of the Journal of Education on Accountability and Testing with Bob Lingard and Wayne Martino.
Educating Women against Equality: The Rise of a New Political Pedagogy in Greek Neo-Nazi Discourse
Marianthi Anastasiadou, Aristotle University
Education to gender relations and identities has long been in the center of antagonisms between political powers which defend and those which challenge the (re)production of gender inequalities in Greece. Feminist and LGBTQ movements seeking equal rights independently of gender, are still fighting today in the country to redefine dominant, oppressive, gender ideologies in a social context where patriarchal power relations prove resistant to change. On the other hand, the Greek far right, which is currently gaining in power in the country, presents a severe obstacle to promoting social justice defending binary “complementary” gender roles and heteronormative sexual identities.
In this context, the neo-Nazi party “Golden Dawn”, perceived here as part of the broader Greek far right, has initiated a women’s branch, called Women’s Front. Analyzing internet writings of Women’s Front from a feminist critical discourse analysis approach (Lazar: 2007) sheds light on a political education of women to old but still persistent ideas and practices related to “natural” gender complementarity, now discursively re-constructed to serve the project of an ideal racial and strictly hierarchical community. The practice of a new discourse of “truth” and a consequent new “pedagogy” are here examined as means of mobilizing women in the neo-Nazi struggle for political dominance (Daniels: 2009, Wodak: 2013).
Thus, two urgent questions arise: What are the pedagogical implications of neo-Nazi discourse concerning women’s empowerment as political agents? What are the broader political implications of such an ideological counter-attack to the de-construction of gendered power relations, which has been a dominant demand for social justice during the last decades?
Keywords: neo-Nazism, Greece, Golden Dawn, feminism, political education, discourse analysis
Wodak, Ruth & Richardson, John E. (eds) (2013) Analysing Fascist Discourse European Fascism in Talk and Text, New York: Routledge
Daniels, Jessie (2009) Cyber Racism: White Supremacy Online and the New Attack on Civil Rights, Lanham/Boulder/New York/Toronto/Plymouth,UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Lazar, Michelle M. (2007) “Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis: Articulating a Feminist Discourse Praxis”, Critical Discourse Studies, 4:2, pp.141-164
Marianthi Anastasiadou is trained in Education Sciences and holds a degree from the Philosophy, Education and Psychology Department of the University of Ioannina as well as one from the Primary Education Department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology and History of Education of the University of Ioannina, Greece. She has worked as a primary education support teacher in the interventional project “Education of Roma Children”, administrated by the Greek Ministry of Education and Aristotle University and as a researcher in the project “Development of supplementary educational material for introducing and mainstreaming gender-related issues in the educational process”, administered by the Greek Ministry of Education and the University of Ioannina. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Pedagogy at Aristotle University, researching the pedagogical implications of neo-Nazi discourses towards women in Greece concerning the (re)construction of gendered truth and gendered political subjectivities in the context of current struggles for political domination in the country. Her research interests include pedagogy in formal and informal educational processes, as well as gender relations and social reproduction.
Research Methods and Methodology