Recently in Question 12: 4/25-4/27 Category

DE 12

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This was the first feminist class I have ever taken in college and my overall experience was good. At first, when I first read the name of the class (Feminist Debates), I imagined heated debates between two groups about gender equality. However, the class was actually more of a constructive discussion to pique our minds about the numerous feminist issues.

The blogging assignments looked extremely overwhelming at first, but it turned out to be quite interesting once I got used to it. People bring up many different perspectives on various issues and it is interesting to read their ideas, comment on them, and present my own ideas as well.

I really enjoyed the video clips we watched during class such as "The Pill" and the one about domestic workers. I think they are very informative and at the same time entertaining. So, I think these will help future students to understand the topics discussed. On the other hand, I still don't quite understand what we're supposed to be doing for agendas. I find the purpose behind the assignment is good, but I don't think the assignment was very clear to me.

Most importantly, this class has made me realize that feminist issues are not just issues dealing with gender inequalities. Feminism encompasses all aspects of life including race, ethnicity, social status, etc. and being curious about these issues is a crucial aspect of feminism because one needs to be aware of the problem in order to find solutions to the conflict.

Direct Engagement 12, Essentialist vs Constructionist

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I've thoroughly enjoyed the thought provoking topics we have discussed over the course of this semester, but one of the most interesting concepts that I find engaged in this course can be basically summarized as essentialist versus constructionist. When we see things as inherent and natural (gender, capitalism, patriarchy, language, etc.) we can't question it. This course, through emphasizing being curious, has worked to demystify the naturalness of the aforementioned concepts (and more).

One of the readings that I find really emphasizes this questioning is "Egg and Sperm" by Emily Martin. It says that culture can and has influenced the way in which we understand and interpret biological science. Science, of all things, is supposed to at the essential of nature. By suggesting that it is muddled by our culture, we take nothing for granted, and can pursue a true "kernal" of knowledge.

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Direct Engagement 12

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In the beginning of the course, I believed that feminism was a clear cut movement. Pro-Women and anti-men. Of course, feminism is more than. Feminism encompasses a range of issues that affect both men and women. Feminism is not a movement limit to improving women's life, but is to improving everyone's life regardless of gender, race, nationality, culture, sexual orientation. One of my favorite readings that we read was "cleaning up a dirty Business". It is my favorite because it outlined to me that issue of domestic work is more than just, poor people at a dead end job. I never knew the there was more to the issue than wages. The idea that those workers were not entitled rights similar to what other works had was shocking to me. I also like the complex PIC map. One of the reasons why I like it is the fact that it looks complex. Without having to read the little fine print for each factor, I can quickly get the idea that there is more to prison industrial complex than putting just people in jail. Another reason why I liked the map is that it shows that different factors that can lead to or affect how the prison system works. The only factor that I don't see on the map was the society within the prison. Of course, if you put people who are casted out of society into one place, they are going to create their own society, assign their own norms of what is acceptable and what is not. What I learnt in the class is not something that can be easily listed in a single blog. The course itself was more like an experience, a great one actually, than a class. Taking this course allowed me to be more open minded to ideas, whether I agree to them or not.

I never blog before and I had a hard time getting use to it. I had a hard time posting my entries. Sometimes I would post them and I wouldn't be able to see and I would have to repost it again. I also got a bit confused at first on what I needed to do. I truly enjoy blogging. I was little hesitant first, but I quick got the hang of it.

Advice I would have for next year, is to have more time to discuss as a whole. The small groups were great, but sometimes we got off topic very easily. The large groups allow me to see what others had to say, their opinion and so forth. Another advice I would have for next year students are to take the time and do the position paper right way, rather than wait last minute for a more interesting topic. I would love to see more movies and documentary in class, and maybe a guest speaker to have a little more variety other than readings and the blogs.

Direct Engagement 12

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Advice/Thoughts on this class:

I really loved the fact that this class was so blog-centric. I think that discussions in class were really helpful and interesting, but obviously, they are time consuming and we have a finite amount of class time. Also, some people are a little too shy to give their opinions. I think the blog is a great remedy to these problems - it democratizes the discussions in class, gives everyone a chance to say something, and lets people refine their opinions through the process of writing. I thought it was a good way to involve topics that weren't necessarily related to the class units, but were still relevant to feminism. The "This is a feminist issue because" posts were especially interesting and helpful, and definitely added some variety to the blog. I thought it was great that this is open to the public, so it serves as a sort of public record of our class discourses and can be used to review previous readings and ideas.

My understanding of feminism changed a lot through out this class. I had never had an introduction to the academic side of things, so it was interesting to hear about consciousness raising groups and different feminist advocacy methods. My definition of what it means to be a feminist was broadened by the class and I really started to understand the intersections between race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. I benefited a lot from having very different perspectives in the classroom, from ecofeminism to queer theorists.

My advice for future class takers:

1. Read the blog! Don't just log on when you have a post due, you will get a lot more out of the blog if you read other people's entries and post comments of your own. It especially helps if you get the readings done ahead of time - that allows you to have a much more educated viewpoint when reading other people's entries, and you can understand the authors that they are referencing. I would also recommend doing any optional readings, because every reading usually gives you a different perspective on the topic.

2. In discussions, I think you will get a lot more out of them if you speak up. That way, people can directly respond to your viewpoints and you can hear alternate opinions. Definitely don't nap through discussions or anything like that - the more you pay attention, the more interesting they are.

Direct Engagement 12: Recap of entries

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This class has been an eye opener for me in terms of feminist issues. I usually hesitated on discussing about feminist issues with family members and friends because I did not have good knowledge of feminism and feminist movement. You can only correct people when you have a good knowledge of something, now that I have taken this class I can correct people when they are wrong towards feminist issues and feminism. I learnt a lot of from this class through the readings, blogs, tracking the issues, and the agendas. Also i liked when we discussed the readings as a whole or in the groups. One of my favorite readings was the egg and the sperm by Emily Martin. This reading made me think in a different perspective, a perspective that I would not have thought of. Many of the stereotypes the author mentioned from the science side were things that I never thought of as stereotypes; they were developed in us as normal since grade school and therefore got adapted to them. Even though there are things that I did not agree with her. Everything was normal for me since I have been taking a lot of science classes and dealt with this topic but never thought of it from this perspective.

The blog has been a great experience since I have never blogged before and I learned a lot from it. One problem I had with blog was getting use to it and posting things which were never easy for me. I would post a comment and it would not show therefore making me post it more than once. Other than that I had a great experience and enjoyed the class. I would suggest for the next students to keep up with the work and know when things are due because you might find yourself behind and. First few weeks would be confusing getting to know how to blog at the beginning will make things easy as you'll be using the blog the most.

Clarification on Direct Engagement 12

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Thanks to Kathryn and Danielle for your responses so far. I wanted to clarify my final question for the week 12 assignment. In the original post here, I wrote:

Also, I will be teaching this class again next spring. What advice would you give students who will be taking it then?

In asking this last question, I would like to know what advice you might give future students for the class in terms of:

  • Using the blogs
  • How to be successful in the class
  • What to expect from discussions, etc
  • Or anything else that you were glad you did or you wished you had done better

Direct Engagement- week 12

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There were several readings that I found interesting. I would say that the two I enjoyed most were the Hoffmann reading for the PIC and the Mobius Strip reading during Sex Wars. I think part of the reason these two stood out to me is because I am particularly interested in those two topics.

My understanding of feminism has changed throughout the course because I am more aware of the shades of feminism- some women are staunch feminists, some are white feminists, some are radical. Some are like me, unsure of where I stand on an issue but curious and investigative enough to engage in dialogue about it. I have noticed that I ask more questions, about everything, than I did before. I think the most influential aspect of the readings was my response to them. I learned to ask questions and be more critical of statements, ideas and perceptions.

I've never really blogged before but I kind of liked doing it for this class. At first I was pretty confused about how and when I was supposed to post, but it was easy once I got the hang of it. I liked to be able to read other people's comments, comment myself and post things. What I especially liked was being able to read my classmates' points of views, especially because some of the people who I felt had the most interesting things to say don't always speak up in class.

Advice for next year: have more large groups discussions that engage the readings. Every day should be a discussion day. Splitting into small groups is helpful on occasion, but using crayons to individually map out our reactions to the readings was totally useless. I didn't take this class to read about what a handful of feminists wrote- I took it to see what my peers thought too, to engage in a conversation about it, to challenge my own perceptions and weigh them against other perspectives. The best classes were the ones where we talked about an issue as a whole class.

The two topics I was most interested in this semester was the reproductive rights section and the sex wars section. The reason that those two topics intrigued me more than the others is that they specifically had something to do with the female body and what the female should be able to do with it. They're both more personal topics than the others, which are more directed at general society. I've definitely been influenced, thought not forced into another direction because of this class. I used to strictly think about reproductive rights in the choice of birth control and abortion, but when we did our tracking the issue on surrogacy, I was able to look into many other issues regarding reproductive rights - something like surrogacy, I would have never thought about twice if we hadn't done research on the topic. My understanding of feminism has been broadened, and at the same time, it has become more confusing to me because in so many cases we've read about it's about general equality for everyone - which, doesn't make it a defined subject with boundaries. I think it will take a few more classes before I get a better view on what exactly feminism is and where it draws the line on solving people's problems.
The reading I enjoyed the most was definitely "Uses of the Erotic" by Audre Lorde, usually I'm not one to define semantics, but her writing is very basic, very essential to the entire idea of anything sex-related that's discussed in feminism. I also enjoyed the reading because it's very empowering, which I think is extremely important for every woman to have - something empowering, even if it's some article written by someone else.
I definitely have enjoyed blogging for this class, it was a lot more of an open forum than any other blogs I've had to post on for classes. I think it's a great way to express your opinion without being afraid of the consequences, because it's so dissociative from your actual self. At the same time, the dissociation made because it's typed, not said, makes it less personal, which isn't always the best thing, and consequences are sometimes necessary to keep the discussion, a discussion, instead of a blunt argument that becomes about people and not the issue.
I'm not sure I would change anything, I enjoyed the class discussions, the topics on the blog, and I think one of the nice things about this class is that we not only read and did discussions, but we involved movies and documentaries into the mix, which gives a different perspective on things than the readings do.

Week 12: 4/25-4/27

In this final blog direct engagement, I would like you to reflect on the class and what you learned this semester. You could write about:

  • one of your favorite readings
  • how your understanding of feminism has been influenced by our discussions/readings/papers
  • your thoughts about our blog and the blogging experience
  • whatever else you want to write about in relation to the class.

Also, I will be teaching this class again next spring. What advice would you give students who will be taking it then?


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