By Michelle Garvey
The liberatory power of consciousness raising (CR) hinges on the ethic of valuing experience as a method of knowledge. Though diversity exists in a number of ways, one can see how the potential effectiveness of CR can become diminished when classrooms are composed of dominant identities. At best, this kind of classroom--which surely exists at the U of M--may be less experientially equipped to explore the consequences of power intersections and systemic oppressions. And at worst, this group may resist anti-racist, anti-imperial, feminist theories and methods. How/can CR still be employed toward liberatory ends in this situation? Elenes' discussion might be particularly helpful in this case.
How could the tenets and values of CR be applied to teach in your field or discipline? Perhaps they're already employed?
Shrewsbury mentioned that feminist pedagogies strive to be ecological and holistic (6), and Crabtree et al mentioned that certain feminisms discuss environmentalisms (1). Yet none of our authors actually engaged in pedagogical questions surrounding space or species, and the potential of our classroom environments to curtail or condone environmental injustice, speciesism, nature-culture dualisms, and unchecked natural resource consumption. Perhaps this is because, as Elenes observes, many feminists view oppression exclusively through the axis of gender (697). What would a feminist pedagogy that embraced ecological justice and sustainability entail? Need feminist pedagogies engage with questions of humanism, interspecies ethics, and ecology at all?
(From Fisher, 12) In your experience, how have your professors--or you as a teacher--embraced, ignored, or evaded activist movements, what were the consequences of these decisions, and how did it enhance or inhibit your learning experience in that course?
What are your opinions or thoughts on the following authors' arguments:
- Omolade re: power, authority, and evaluating her students' academic skills (see 35-36)
- Shrewsbury re: women's and/vs. men's "ways of knowing" and community building (see 9-11)
- Elenes re: white women's appropriation of the rubric "woman" (see 696)
Finally, a personal anecdote:
I really appreciated Elenes' discussion of students and teachers as hybrid entities (691), and Omolade's conception of teachers as clarifiers or consultants (35). In this vein, I found it productive to think about the feminist classroom itself as a borderland, which transgresses the boundaries between participants' civic, family, social, intellectual, and communal selves, in hopes of achieving critical consciousness as a community.