Some youtube examples

Of course, after class, I came up with tons of youtube videos that I would love to use in a class (and will probably use in the future). Here is one set:

Representations of Black Masculinity

I think that these commercials for Old Spice could generate some productive conversations about representations of masculinity in relation to race, class and sexuality. The first one features the viral phenomenon, the "Old Spice Guy." It debuted last February. 

The second commercial was posted on youtube a month after the first. What differences do you see between the representations of black masculinity here? (How) is that reflected in the different products they are selling? 

I just found this final commercial on the old spice website. It was posted on youtube this past October. 

Final statement - 00bserver and Rhetoricqueline

Megan Boler probably didn't anticipate her chapter about "a pedagogy of discomfort" would be so deeply "experienced" in a Feminist classroom. Yes, we felt discomfort in our class, but we also discovered the potential for discomfort to be productive, to lead to insightful disclosures, and to frame shared meaning. We can recognize and focus on discomfort to challenge our "comfortable" pre-assumptions and points of view about what a feminist classroom should look like. The "freshness" of the theme, for some of us, was quite tough. The "aging" of the theme, for others, and the difficulties to move forward as a group was difficult for others. That's it. As subjects we too internalize limiting structures of power, we each struggled to pull our side of the thread, resisting, questioning, reinforcing, informing, transforming, reforming the way we see social media in relation to critical pedagogies. Paulo Freire would have recommended us a bit more of solidarity in order to "get there": "nobody educates anybody else. Nobody educates himself. People educate each other through their interactions in the world."

As the semester progressed our class's attitudes toward social media evolved. Yes, we can find creative ways to explore social media in the context of our critical pedagogies. We can do so critically, thoughtfully, and with skepticism. We can locate senses of agency within social media, locate community. To arrive to this point, though, silence was necessary. And, even when the silence was perceived through the absence of voices... the inner voices kept working, making sense of this new "universe". Working through silence and resistance was, and is, challenging. The risk of confusing "taking social media seriously" with "a call for acceptance" required careful dialogue and practice. Our "resistance" itself constitutes a form of engagement. Our reactions and understandings of social media were developed by our participation in such new online forms.

Questioning the usefulness of social media in a feminist classroom is different from rejecting it. Rethinking and resisting social media in particular contexts is also a way to position ourselves as instructors and users. If we inherently reject or avoid social media, how do we address its absence in an increasingly technologically dependent reality?
Engaging new forms of social media should continue in feminist pedagogical discourse, we should be comfortable with not being able to answer our own questions, to leave the conversation ongoing. Doing so is a feminist accomplishment, for conclusive conversations are often too narrow and simple in the context of everyday life. So rather than conclude our class experience of and ideas toward social media, we choose to continue struggling with the complexities of feminist pedagogy and see that struggle as a central means of understanding.

Social Pharmacy in Brazil: another pedagogical example

I remember one of the exercises we used to do with pharmacy students in Brazil... that was a good example of how to get students more reflexive about the social constructs of reality that influence a lot the way we perceive (or do not perceive) things in the world.

So, "the observer" was an activity where we asked students to go to a common place - usually a place that they were very familiar with - and observe it for one hour, registering everything that they could see, listen to, hear or smell in the scenario. The discussions in classroom always were fantastic! They usually would come up with things that they never observed before, in the everyday life.

This very simple exercise helped us a lot to discuss how the way we see things are, for so many times, "oppressive" to the different realities presented to us. I recommend this activity as a good one for a critical approach in classroom!

My roommate just passed her oral prelim in the PhD program. She is a very dedicated student, and I can clearly see her progress in the course. She is very young (25 years old) and I can see her point when she expresses her feelings of "not being yet prepared for a PhD". She didn't have teaching experience or long work experience before enrolling in the doctoral program, so she is always struggling with the feeling of "being behind". It doesn't seem to help that much the fact that I keep saying that she is a brilliant thinker.
We always discuss about things that we are learning in classes and we always learn from each other. I think the "Feminist Pedagogies" had an important impact on how she is seeing her relationship with her advisor now. Some weeks ago, she forwarded me this email that I'm quoting here (with her permission) with a short not: "take a look; you might be interested on discussing it in your class... bad pedagogy!"

"Your seminar was very good. I am sorry I had to leave for that meeting (I had people from Chicago arriving from the airport!!). I hope you enjoyed it.
Please be sure to call *** to meet with him. He found your proposal in my office and has a number of ideas for you.
A couple of observations from your seminar: I could barely hear you - you have to project your voice better - your credibility and authority will depend on it (especially if you teach). And, you have to get rid of the paper!!! I do not want you reading anything for your prelim. You have to know this well enough to talk without paper in front of you - you will have to practice it more.
Good job. I really hope you enjoyed it. It is a very good topic!! THanks for all your work - it has paid off well. Let me know how I can help now. I will send that reference to *** today. "

I was so shocked reading this email!... I really don't think that I need to explain here the reasons why I think it is a good example of "BAD pedagogy". I wonder what Paulo Freire would have to say about this 'pedagogical approach'... Behold and "be shocked" with me!

Using the thread to build something!!!

So, folks, I thought I would open this new 'open thread' to give us the opportunity to share, at this time, not only our impressions, but also our thoughts about how to overcome the challenges that we faced during this semester in 'Feminist Pedagogies'. I think it will be nice to have this discussion here!


Over the course of this semester, we've talked about pushing boundaries in teaching - boundaries of categories, boundaries of spaces, and personal boundaries (to the point of discomfort). In the course of this exploration, we've interrogated some new(er) forms of mediated communication that are both popular in the public sphere, yet uncommon presences in the academy, and debated their potential as contributors to the classroom.

Teaching is political, and it is processual. We can't divorce content from action, or knowledge from experience, or scholarship from pedagogy. This message emerged in our readings, again in our lesson plans, and once more through our own course blog. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are alike in their uniqueness when compared conventional scholarship because they allow interchange. As sources of information they have certain limited advantages, but as sources of communication - of broadcasting out, and of engaging in two-way exchanges - they are unparalleled by anything in mass media. What new media allow is a novel way for pedagogy to intermingle with praxis. Formats like YouTube allow authors to speak out loud, but also allow the students to speak back, to ask questions, and to disseminate their own content, and gather feedback back.

One Song Two Ways via YouTube


Music videos and commercials circulate quickly and widely because of YouTube. I love finding ways to use YouTube in the classroom so I like the ideas this project is activity forward.

My class had a discussion last Thursday after watching these two videos on YouTube back to back. Because we were able to access and compare the videos so easily, some students went home and watched the videos again for our discussion wrap up on Tuesday.

Video One: Katy Perry's Firework Music Video

Video Two: Victoria's Secret's Version:

When this Victoria's Secret commercial came out it caused a bit of a stir amongst fans who found the performance to undermine the point of Perry's initial video.

I wasn't sure what sort of discussion I wanted to have with students about this, but I wanted to know what they thought (and we practice media criticism in the class throughout the semester). Students brought up interesting points about the agents in the video, and we discussed how token characters emerge in "be yourself" videos like Perry's (and we watched Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" music video which has similar characters and themes). Students participated well in this discussion and we were able to rewatch portions of the videos next to each other to clarify points and discuss the details of token characters.

gender and advertising - YouTube example

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Madison and Meg's example:

The first video shows how gender is often depicted in mainstream advertising, and the extent to which humor is used to push retrograde ideas about gender and gendered behavior.

The second video shows a) the potential of YouTube to allow people to respond to expensive, corporate-produced media like Superbowl advertisements (and maybe be seen by almost as many people) but also b) how oftentimes some of the same tropes of typically gendered behavior are often used in response to the messages from mainstream advertising, even in critical responses.

This video is made by "Las Ramonas." They are a collective of students, "ARTivists" teachers, feministas that often share socially and politically conscious teatro at local community events. In this clip, they poke fun at the politics of representation found in the mainstream media. It is interesting to note their use of images used to create a particular Chicana identity, distinct from what the grrls see in the commericial in the beginning.

"Los Rasquachis" episode one comes from a series of video made by Tejano artists/activists/student/professors that highlight "guera the internally colonized chihuahua" while she participates in Cinco de Mayo festivities. This is a great critique that speaks to the stereotypes and dominant narratives of Latinas/os in the U.S.

This is Cihuatl Ce's performance at the annual "farce of july" celebration that occurs at local East L.A. community space, Self-Help Graphics. Her first performance is "I was born to be defiant" where we find that she asserts her Xicana feminist identity through music. This video is a wonderful look the importance of voicing feminisms.

YouTube Activity


Using YouTube in the Classroom - Handout-1.docx

Using YouTube in the Classroom Class Exercise

Brought to you by: Erin Cole, Alissa Ehmke, John Lisec, and Jenny Saplis

As groups or individuals, you get to collect or produce a series of videos (2-3) useful for bringing feminist or liberatory pedagogy into your own classroom. Video series can be built around a theme that is appropriate to your specific area of study or interest. Don't limit your selves to just classroom examples, but think broadly about the potential of YouTube. Learners can use the YouTube Blog as a Resource Sheet to locate places to find these videos. If learners opt to record themselves, cameras will be available as will information as to how to post.

The intended participants:
This activity engages learners both inside and outside the classroom through social media. By using social media, we link groups that do not typically engage with each other. This activity will take place in the Digital Learning Lab on 4th floor in Ford Hall. Each learner will have access to the computers and built in cameras. Class size doesn't matter as much as having access to the computer with Internet and/or cameras. When applying it to an undergraduate classroom, the assignment could be changed to finding something useful for a paper or presentation.

Our goal in this activity is to acknowledge all voices, and to give students the option to engage with a larger audience outside the classroom. Also this project is a way to expand the notion of a classroom. The value of this assignment (for our seminar) is that it would start a sort of mini-syllabus of videos for the participants.

Students wouldn't need access to the resources outside the classroom and they could engage with a large audience. Also, this would provide an opportunity for teachers to enhance student-learning experience by accessing video within course websites or blogs (e.g. supplemental recorded online lectures, relevant videos to subject area). It can allow students to gain additional perspective by authors read within class (e.g. bell hooks lecture). And it is all FREE!

Limitations: Learners need to have access to computers with Internet and possibly cameras. Another limitation is that the WWW changes constantly so resources may disappear. A challenge may be to get learners to buy in to YouTube as an educational source instead of just a bunch of funny cat videos.

Youtube and Digital Ethnography

I have mentioned this earlier on the blog, but I have listed again the videos describing the work of Youtube and digital ethnography from Michael Wesch at Kansas State University. He provides excellent background to current and future possibilities of Youtube. Enjoy!

Final Statement by John Lisec & Jenny Saplis

Through this semester, our feminist pedagogy class has spent significant time/energy developing and contributing various thoughts and opinions regarding feminism within education. While incorporating a variety of current topics, engagement with academic scholarship, and feminist pedagogical examples, this blog will hopefully serve as a source of future reference by scholars who wish to engage in discussions surrounding feminism in the classroom. This blog should be useful to not only provide examples of what feminist pedagogy looks like in the feminist classroom, but to increase awareness and dialogue surrounding feminist teaching practices. Our feminist pedagogy class should also expand conceptions and possibilities of feminism within the classroom as many students provide a unique perspective by coming from such different areas of study and sub-disciplines. Additionally, this blog will also serve as a site of documentation of our learning experience so other scholars can build in the future. By incorporating discussions of feminism through new media, this blog will also expand notions and perceptions of social media in education.

By implementing feminist pedagogy within the classroom, it is important to instill a sense of comfort and safety, to encourage openness/sharing of personal experiences, and to collaborate with others. However while a feminist pedagogy provides opportunities for collaboration of ideas with others, it can also provide feminist teachers the ability to maintain a strong presence in the classroom as a facilitator of learning through curriculum. It is also necessary to embrace social media as a viable teaching tool to enhance learning both in and out of the traditional classroom setting. However, potential problems exist while utilizing social media through limited access according to socio-economic status and the commercialization of new media resources/content that serve to strengthen a presence of traditional media that often contradicts or opposes feminist pedagogy principles. Additionally, those choosing a feminist pedagogy must remain rather flexible to challenges of utilizing technology in the classroom and cognizant of opposition to use of social media is possible from learners as well as colleagues and administrators due to limited perceptions of social media within education.

You Tube Resources

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YouTube Resources.docx

This is collection of YouTube Resources by the YouTube team of Alissa, Erin, John and Jenny.

Example of Feminist Pedagogy: Peer Review

I want to highlight two comments culled from the Facebook Experiment:

I am actually a big believer in classroom peer review. It's a natural step to take in the science classroom because that's what researchers do for each other professionally. It decentralizes the power away from the teacher to some extent. It forces students to think critically about their own and each other's work. People might argue with me about this point but I consider it a rather feminist method for the classroom, even if it was basically instituted in a patriarchal context.

The peer review practice is a really good illustration of how hard it can be to "sell" basically feminist practices to students who are not consciously looking to be "liberated" from the norm, who find comfort in predictability and in the t...raditional educational styles they've always been taught are How It Works. I know that others make the peer review thing work, so I keep doing it, keep trying, but I somehow don't set it up well or something -- somehow I always get a fair number of people who write that they are against it, should not be asked to do it, do not want to be graded by other undergrads, do not know enough to make a judgment, think it should be the teacher's job (that's what teachers are for), etc. Even those who don't resist it usually only give each other A's unless someone in their group was _really_ slacking off. I've come to see it as a kind of mathematically balancing device, practically speaking -- I feel less guilty giving C's because I know the peer grade will off-set it somewhat. :P ...I do believe it has something to do with my own set-up of the practice, though, because I hear that others have success.... It also has a lot to do with the specific group of students and the subject/context of the class.

Peer review is something that I've used in basically every class I've taught so far, though I've never (thus far) applied the results to people's grades. My father used to use it too (though I don't remember if it affected grades). In my use, I have students evaluate each other's speeches, or video productions, in a very general way (e.g., something good, something to work on, on each of a couple of areas), and I type up the results for the student/group being evaluated, which gets attached to my own evaluation and grade.My father had students fill out a rather more elaborate sheet, with numerical ratings in several areas. I know for him, this became a method of counterbalancing his own critique, and sometimes allowing in critiques that he wouldn't feel comfortable making himself.

I find the idea of using peer review in a "pure" sense intriguing as a method of leveling the classroom. It eliminates perhaps the most insurmountable hierarchical relationship in the classroom: that of the evaluator and the evaluated. Ideally students would take the opportunity to apply their critical evaluation skills, developing a better understanding of the materials and disciplinary standards through praxis. In practice, qualitative evaluation is hard (as anyone who's taught already knows): Being critical, but not caustic, is a tricky balance to strike. Some students incline toward protecting each other, others have overly high expectations. And there's the challenge of students feeling entitled to a "professional" evaluation by someone with experience, and resisting review or critique from fellows. Finally, in most of my teaching experience with peer review, students home in on superficial or overwhelmingly noticeable flaws or strengths, ignoring less obvious but more substantial aspects of the speech/video/project. If anybody has suggestions for the proper balance of peer review, I'd love your opinion.

We offer the following overview as a resource for anyone interested in using Facebook thoughtfully for pedagogical or personal purposes. We hope to broaden the ways Facebook may be seen as useful by focusing on three ways to use each of the following tools: (1) Facebook status updates, (2) Facebook notes, and (3) Facebook pages. Our group also believes that Facebook can be a productive topic for individuals who do not or cannot participate on Facebook's site, and have accordingly included a brief section on how to use Facebook in the classroom even when some students don't have an account. Finally, we submit a compilation of online resources for the Feminist Pedagogue who is interested in further exploring the uses of Facebook.

How to use Facebook resources: Notes, Status Updates, and Pages

Description: A Facebook note is an application that allows you to share particular entries (written notes, videos, poetry, etc) with your Facebook friends and receive comments. The notes application allows you to "tag" specific friends to engage with your entries. Facebook friends can also tag themselves and tag other friends. When you are "tagged" you will receive notifications when others comments or edit their post. Another feature is that you can allow friends to publish your note on their wall to reach a broader audience. The notes application appears as a link on your wall as well as your friends' wall. Publishing a Facebook note is a great way to have community or private conversations with Facebook friends.
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Three ways to use notes:
1. Write a Facebook note when you want to engage specific friends to discuss or comment on a particular issues, questions, ideas. Then ask participants to bring these conversations in to the classroom, in an attempt to "open the doors" and be inclusive of diverse voices and experiences. Ask friends to tag other friends to join the conversation. Once tagged, friends can also post the note on their Facebook wall to invite their own set of friends to the conversation. Encourage friends to report back and comment on the original note once the note is discussed in the respective classrooms. This way all your Facebook friends can read about how the respective class discussions went even when they were not there!

2. Use Facebook notes to get feedback from friends on a work in progress, to share your creative work, poetry, videos, pictures, basically anything. Ask friends to engage with and contribute to specific parts of your work. This can be especially helpful if you want to get feedback on your writing from several friends at once. Because of the potential for large numbers of diverse friends, this can be a great way build community and support one another's work.

3. Use Facebook notes to share info on books of interest, create and coordinate a writing circle or reading group. Tag friends that may want to join and begin compiling a list of books that you may want to read. The entire Facebook reading group or writing can be done through Facebook! This way you can include friends that may live all over the world! "Meet" weekly on Facebook to discuss book of interest, post questions and or comments.

Description: A facebook status is a place where you can post a message for all your friends to read. This tool was originally intended to allow you to inform your friends of your current "status" particularly how you are feeling, where you are at or what you are doing. Facebook prompted the status update with "Username is ..." and each person would fill in the blank. This however has changed overtime. Now the facebook status prompt is in the form of a question that states, "What's on your mind?"

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Three ways to use status updates:
1. Schedule facebook messages ahead of time so you can send messages to your facebook network in the future by using either: or All you need to do is register, connect your facebook account, type in your status update and then choose scheduling options.

2. One of most popular features in facebook is tagging. In your status update you can tag people by including the "@" symbol before a friends name. This way you can identify and reference specific people and it will be linked directly to their facebook page.

3. Another important feature of facebook is the uploading of links or videos as a part of your facebook status. It is now very common when reading online newspapers or watching online videos for you to see the options to "share" a link or video through various social media sites. If you choose to share it through facebook the link or video will automatically be superimposed in your facebook status where you can include a little blurb or anecdote about why you are sharing this link with the facebook world.

Description: Facebook pages can be created by any user and are designated as either a "community" or "official" page, where there latter typically represents the official Facebook presence of a public figure or business. Community pages allow Facebook users with a common interest to organize in a central Facebook location and participate in various ways. The Facebook page is very similar to the profile page of a user (an info page, wall, photos, notes, etc), but is collaboratively created and maintained by its administrators and users. One can also create a Facebook group, more on the differences between Facebook pages and groups here.

Below is an example of's Facebook page:
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Three ways to use pages:
1. Use a Facebook page to increase the visibility of a project or initiative. A facebook page can easily represent and promote a non-Facebook online resource, such as our feminist pedagogies blog. Similarly you can promote participation and interest in a project on its formal webpage by linking to a Facebook page. Because Facebook is such a powerful social networking tool, if an individual searches your project's name from a search engine (Google, for example) Facebook pages are typically listed first in search results. Using a Facebook page and its marketing options (see photo below) to represent a non-Facebook initiative is an easy way to connect interested users, increase visibility, maintain online presence, and promote user-centered participation.

Marketing Options:
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2. A Facebook page can also exist as the sole source of connection for a project or discussion, especially those that may be temporally limited (such as an awareness walkathon or semester reading group). Using a page this way can generate immediate interest, offer information, be linked to in emails, and function as a temporary site of organization. A page also allows users with similar interests to network and maintain a communicative relationship through Facebook's other functions.

3. A Facebook page can also be used to connect people privately, as a page can be customized in several ways. Participating on a "private" page allows a small group of users to interact with only each other in an open forum, connecting and cataloguing discussions easily. Page users can upload photos, post status updates from their phones, add videos, post links, and interact as a group privately. For example, if our class wished to continue having personal discussions about troubling teaching moments, or experience of silencing, we could do so on a private page where no other user could participate unless we allow them to join. This is especially useful for a group of individuals who may not have access to a blog, forum community, or real-life group of similarly interested people. A private page may allow users to connect in more personal ways.

Page Privacy Options:
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Why don't you have a Facebook account?
Well, there are different reasons for that... Resistance, 'philosophical' opposition, lack of time and interested, and so on. However, with the growing impact of social media on our lives, maybe those students who doesn't have an account could be help us to interrogate/ consider / embrace / resist/ acknowledge or reject the usefulness of this resource in our feminist classrooms. So, how those students who don't have an account can help us to understand the applicability of it in the context of academic relationships?

How to use Facebook in the classroom even when some students don't have an account:
One way is to stimulate the discussion about the limitations and the value of Facebook in broadening the discussions in classroom. Check out this activity.
This is a good example of how use Facebook in a classroom, engaging even those students who don't have an account. It is important to highlight that the different perspectives and insights brought by using Facebook can be helpful even for those ones who don't engage in this type of social media. "To open the doors of the classroom and expand participation" is beneficial for everybody!
During the discussion, try to stimulate the students to think critically about the usefulness of this social media. What did we gain using it? Is this gain "unique"? In which sense? What (if any) did we lose? Hopefully, those questions will help us to further the discussion of critically engaging with social media in feminist classrooms.

From our syllabus:

Online Resources:

Can a professor with a bell run a 'liberatory' classroom?


I learned a lot during this Fall semester. One of the greatest lessons I've learned is to dismiss my pre-assumptions about "what a liberatory classroom" should "look like". What a great lesson! I still remember my first impression about that Teamwork class in Public Health School: "it's gonna be a disaster!" Chairs organized in lines, all pointed to the professor in front of the class, who was dressing a fine-looking brown suit. On the table in front of him, there was a computer connected to the projection device, copies of the 'outline of the day' for students and one golden bell. He rang the bell exactly at 1:25PM (time when the class is supposed to start) and everybody silenced immediately. I rolled my eyes, thinking: >"OMG, what am I doing here?" It probably will be far from my "ideal" of an engaging, liberatory, interesting classroom". How naive I was!!!

For my surprise, this turned out to be one of the best classes I've ever taken here at the University. There was a perfect mix of technology, 'tangible pages', dialogue, action and reflection. During all the semester, we held discussions about all aspects that can impact positively and negatively the work in teams, we brought our experiences to the classroom and shared and discussed it with other colleagues in small groups, we read articles, watched small videos, observed teamwork happening in 'real-life'. We discussed impressions, pre-assumptions, prejudices and miths related to different professions in the health care field. We got a chance to talk with different professionals who are working in teams right now and we discussed with them the challenges of this practice. We had panels, round tables, debates and short presentations in our class. We presented our ideas ourselves. It was amazing. The professor's ability to conduct the class and stimulate our critical reflection about the topic was great, he always had insightful questions and he always gave us deep feedback about our assignments. The assignments were set in 'rigid' dates, but he was always flexible when approached. We also did the 'big paper' in the middle of the semester and we finished with a group presentation, literally a 'hands-on' about working in teams. I found it a very good example of a "liberatory" pedagogical practice, a perfect mix of the binary innovative/ traditional. It made me reflect a lot about my assumptions of what a "liberatory classroom" should look like... there is no 'look like'... there is 'act like'! That was a great experience!

Twitter guide home

In this guide, we outline three examples of how one could use Twitter in the feminist classroom, based on syllabi we found around the internet. We break down each example into 1) the syllabus description of the purpose of the activity, 2) the students' role and responsibilities, and 3) how Twitter is incorporated into the class as a whole. Next we include two example activities for Twitter. Finally, we compile a set of resources for getting started as a feminist educator on Twitter, including our favorite people to follow.

Example #1 - syllabus example
Example #2 - syllabus example
Example #3 - syllabus example
Example #4 - Twitter note-taking activity
Example #5 - Twitter movie-watching activity

"Tweeps" to follow and other Twitter tips for beginners

Twitter Example #4

Twitter Note-taking Activity

Activity Description:

As a university student one of the most important things to learn fast is to be an engaged reader. Taking good notes, writing in the margin of the book or article, or highlighting every word in the book until your page looks like you smashed a canary on it. This activity is intended to have students engage with their readings through Twitter. Students will be asked to use Twitter posts in moments of engagement with their readings, instead of writing in the margins, write it on Twitter. By participating in a public space the student can connect with classmates before entering the classroom to continue a conversation that has already started.

Goals for the Activity:

This activity will allow students to participate and engage with assigned readings in a public space where connections with fellow students are encouraged. By requiring certain number of Tweets per reading, students will have a structured and organized method of note taking that can be easily accessed for future reference. This form of note taking can start the conversation about assigned readings before entering the classroom, which can lead to richer dialogue in class.

Intended Audience, Strengths and Limitations:

This activity would work for any classroom where students have required readings. While a smaller classroom may have a more intimate discussion about the readings, having a large class can lead to more quotes and thoughts of readings. In a large classroom, the Twitter site can serve as a rich resource but can translate into a focused conversation among a few students.

Including student's thoughts on important parts of the reading can also assist in understanding different perspectives in class. By including the moments students pause to write notes or highlight in a book, we are able to see focus on parts of the readings that may have passed others by. Still, this can also lead students to not participate fully in fear of going against the standard thought of the class. However, the engagement with the readings and note taking can potentially guide the instructor to address questions and conversations happening on Twitter during class time.

back to Twitter guide home

A Little Humor For Finals Week....

Feminist Pedagogy Example: Encouraging Girls in Math and Science

"Girls don't need any special treatment in learning math or science, but they do need support in developing positive attitudes about math and science and believing that these areas are appropriate career choices for them" (Donna Woodka,

Listed below is an excerpt from an online from Donna Woodka at the University of California San Diego's San Diego Supercomputer Center ( Within feminist pedagogy in classrooms involving young students, I strongly feel that teachers serve not only a source of academic discussion and inspiration to future dreams of students but can actively challenge gender expectations. While education has often operated under a guise of equality and personal transformation, opportunities remain to resist and negotiate under-representations within certain academic fields and sub-disciplines (e.g. males within nursing, females within math and science, etc.). Specifically, this resource serves to engage teachers in the possibilities of new media in encouraging girls in math and science. While this online resource reads rather informally as a personal journal then an actually online book, I would recommend taking a look at Chapter 2 as it addresses specific examples of how teachers encourage girls within math and science through the internet. While reading this example of feminist pedagogy, what other academic fields or sub-disciplines could use this type of feminist pedagogy to encourage both male and female students to pursue historically under-represented areas of academia and education?

Chapter 2 - Teaching and the Internet: Girls and Computers in the Classroom

* Reduce Peer Pressure. The Internet can help reduce the isolation of girls interested in mathematics or science by helping them find out about "girls just like me." Create peer groups for computer projects on the Internet that can work together to find the answers. Look for peers and mentors to communicate with on the Internet through e-mail or through discussion groups.
* Build on your own knowledge of mathematics, science and technology, and share new knowledge enthusiastically with your students. Don't be afraid to learn alongside them and even to say "I don't know - let's find out" now and then. Remember, the Internet is new to just about everyone.
* Make independent and small group experiences available to all students, and encourage girls to participate in such experiences.
* Design activities that are fun, relaxed, and collaborative, and include hands-on work and problem solving.
* Use specific technical terms and explain their meaning if necessary.
* Encourage girls to take high-level mathematics and science courses, especially at critical decision-making times. For example, girls should take algebra and geometry - in seventh and eighth grades if possible and appropriate for them, and pursue still more advanced courses in ninth and tenth grades. Girls should be encouraged to take advanced science courses whenever possible and appropriate, for example physics and computer programming courses in high school.
* Develop programs that allow girls to interact with female mathematicians, scientists, computer programmers and engineers, and other female mentors so that students can learn more about careers involving mathematics and break down the stereotypes associated with mathematical competence - i.e., reduce the "nerd" factor.
* Provide activities that parallel those of careers in mathematics, science, computer science, and other technological fields.
* Work to build cooperation and collaboration among students, educators, education organizations, families, and members of the community.
* Highlight the social aspects and usefulness of activities, skills, and knowledge. Comments received from female students suggest that they particularly enjoy integrative thinking; understanding context as well as facts; and exploring social, moral, and environmental impacts of decisions

Feminist Pedagogy Example: Sport as a Site for Feminist Pedagogy

"The culture of India says the woman should be at home but the world is moving ahead and our women are much stronger now. We have to encourage our girls. That is why I would like to dedicate the Commonwealth Games to all the girls of India. They showed what is possible" (Kapil Dev, former Indian cricket captain).

When interpreting feminist pedagogy outside of the classroom, I strongly believe that sport and physical activity can often serve as a site in which feminism can expand beyond the confines of the classroom and into everyday lives. Within this class we often have discussed feminist pedagogy in terms of what is taking place in America. However with this example, I would like to draw attention to the potential and limitations of feminism and sport in an international context. Below, I have listed a link to an article I found in which Kapil Dev, former cricket captain, has spoken out that girls should be encouraged to participate in sport in India. While I applaud Dev for his comments, I remain somewhat cynical that his approval and encouragement of women's sport in India emerges only after recent success by females at the Commonwealth Games. While I strongly feel that it is very positive to encourage girls to participate in sport internationally, it is necessary to keep in mind the influence of commercialization and feminist commodification within sport. Any thoughts on the potential for sport as a site of feminist pedagogy or any limitations that still remain for women and girls within sport (within America or internationally)?

YouTube Learning Activity

I just wanted you let everyone know that for our activity tomorrow you don't need to do anything before class, but we would like you to be thinking about how you think social media's potential in a feminist classroom-- especially in a classroom of your discipline. I know you'll already be thinking of this because our final statement is about this topic as well. See you tomorrow.

My Final Statement

As a student who is not currently teaching this semester this blog I think will be helpful in the future as a resource. With all the material we read I was thinking mostly from the point of view of a student, and when it becomes time for me to actually structure a class and can look back at this material then it will help me. The blog as a resource site would be the most practical part of the blog since it would be a quick place to look and would be fairly organized. The feminist pedagogical examples are also very helpful since they show experiences that were productive in some classrooms, and when I start teaching I could potentially model some of my teaching practices on these examples. The only negative aspect of the blog as a resource would be that it's sometimes hard to find something particular that you're looking for. Parts of the blog are organized, but sometimes what you're looking for may be buried in the blog.

As for my own philosophy about teaching with social media--I'm not sure if I can actually have a philosophy yet. As a person who has not had teaching experience outside of grading I feel like I don't have enough experience to form a philosophy, but I can try. I feel that social media has enormous potential for student engagement in the classroom. I think this is important for a feminist classroom since I think a priority of this type of class is to help all students find a voice and social media could help students do this on many different levels. The types of social media that I can see myself using in the future mostly are blogs and YouTube. I feel that blogs are important in a class as a place for the class to exist outside of class time. YouTube I also find really valuable in that it is a good resource to find clips that could start and facilitate conversations. As a (hopefully) future English teacher I feel it's important to bring other voices beside my own into the classroom. I know there are a lot of clips of authors and theorists talking about themselves and their work, and some of these are done well and can be useful in class.

The two social media outlets that I'm not likely to use in the future are facebook and Twitter. I don't have an active facebook account, and I wouldn't want people to feel they were missing something without it if it were a proponent of the class. I see its potential to have an impact in classes, but it's the social media that I am most confused about using in a class. I am also not likely to use twitter in classrooms, because I, again, don't want access to be a problem. It seems twitter is most useful when it is always there as an option to communicate. I'm a student with limited internet access (and I don't have a phone that allows for that) and twitter was the most difficult to use with this problem of access. Twitter seems to favor spontaneous thoughts, and by not having twitter I mostly choreographed what I was going to say. My tweets couldn't be wholly natural expression because access issues wouldn't allow for it and it was problematic for me. It is for this reason I wouldn't want twitter to be part of the class. I know an argument has been in our class that students are using this media so to be effective teachers/communicators we should feel compelled to use these social media as well. I feel that you can pick and choose which social media fits best for you, and realizing that incorporating all types of social media may not be adequate for your own teaching methods. As I said earlier, I don't have teaching experience yet, so my philosophy is very speculative, but I would have to say that as a feminist pedagogical practice social media should have a space in the classroom, but not all social media has to fit into a class and that it can be used to supplement the course rather than being the main focus of the course.

Pedagogical example

I've been taking a class on cross-cultural leadership this semester. We discussed many of the leadership theories like authentic leadership, transformational leadership, situational leadership etc. We criticized the trait leadership which interestingly included only white males in the sample (this was one of the earliest theories) and critiqued the other theories as well for their eurocentrism and androcentrism. We considered Buddhist, Confucian and Korean leadership styles as examples to see cultural differences and similarities. However, it seemed inapproppriate to challenge the androcentrism or other inequalities in other cultures. One of the activities that I liked was called the Describe, Interpret/Analyze, Evaluate activity also called the DIE/DAE activity. In this activity, you give images to the students and ask them to describe what's happening in the image. For instance, the image used in the class were young people sitting in a room with desks and chairs, one of whom was targeting someone we could not see with a sling, few others laughing, and few others with legs on top of the table. One of the responses we got was- student is disrespectful or playing around in the classroom. The rest of the discussion was about how we tend to analyze and evaluate with just images i.e subconsciously do all three (describe, analyze and evaluate) at one go and how in multicultural situations we need to learn to suspend our judgement till we have more information. I think this activity has a lot of potential in discussing how we interpret from our lenses differently and why they are different. But we need to select appropriate images to generate critical discussions

In this dialogue alex and kim share their thoughts on

feminist pedagogy, teaching, learning, and the potential for social media
in the feminist classroom. We hope that this statement can also serve as a resource for our course blog to highlight the possibilites for social media in the feminist classroom!

keep in mind that you too can create text-to-movie videos to share in the feminist classroom. We would like to note that the scene and characters we used were the free options. click here to view the xtranormal site to create your own movies to share in the classroom!

Pedagogical question for 12/15


Well folks, better late than never! I was taking my first PhD prelim exam during this weekend, so I appologize for being late in posting my question. So, here we go:

I totally agree with Ashley Falzetti when she says that videos can make the theoretical points more palatable. Barbeau also makes a point that YouTube can be interpreted in the same ways as a standard text. She argues that students need both the tangible page and hypermedia on the readings list: "solely reading and deconstructing scholarly articles (..., underprepares them (students) for their interactions outside of class and their future careers". However, she (Barbeau) take a step ahead emphasizing that "today's learners have become accustomed to multitasking as a way of life; emphasis on doing rather than knowing; greater familiarity with typing rather than handwriting; the importance of staying connected (...) and reliance on the web as the primary source of information. Grabbing a dictionary to look up the definition of a word or going to the library to check out a book for a research paper is laborious when Google is a few clicks away".

Then, my question is: what if we consider solely watching and deconstructing visual media in our pedagogical practices? Since all we need is availabe (?) a few clicks away, do we really need to save the 'tangible pages'? If yes, how can we do it in a engaging and useful way? Which risks we might face having an "imbalance" in either directions?

Statement of feminist pedagogy


Twitter tips

"Tweeps" to follow and other Twitter tips for beginners

OK, so you are thinking about using Twitter in your class, but you don't use it regularly yourself (or you need to help first-time users in your class).

First things first: Twitter's own sign-up guide

Some readings/tips on Twitter compiled by Sara Puotinen:
* Orenstein, Peggy. "I Tweet, Therefore I Am"
* Fisher, Berenice Malka. "Chapter 2: Is Women's Experience the best teacher?" (No Angel in the Classroom)
* Zandt, Deanna. "Chapter One: The Power of Sharing"
* A Blog Cluster on Sharing and the limits of empathy:
1. Johnson, Joel. "Why I Stalk a Sexy Black Woman on Twitter (And Why you Should,Too)"
2. Johnson, Joel. "So this Hipster Tech Douche Stalks a Sexy Black Woman on Twitter"
3. Zandt, Deanna. "Privileged Voyeurism"
4. Shani-o. "The Odd Habits and Foibles of Sexy Black Women on the Internet"

Twitter and subversion:
In addition to sharing information, Twitter is also a valuable feminist tool for engaging in subversive activity. In the classroom, students may post real time reactions to discussions, lectures or activities . In this manner, Twitter acts like a snark valve of sorts, allowing students to react in both critical and humorous ways.

Hash tags provide another option for subversion. Hash tags are made simply by prefacing a word with the # symbol. They can be used to group tweets (for instance, by a class or topic), but they can also be used to indicate sarcasm or to raise attention about a particular topic. One controversial example is the #livetweetingabortion tag, which allowed women to give voice to a process so often kept secret.

Our favorite "tweeps" to follow:

@ColorLines - twitter stream of website about race, culture, and organizing
@Racialicious - twitter stream of blog about race and the media
@adbusters - twitter stream of anti-consumerist magazine
@tcimc (twin cities indymedia) - twitter stream of website about local activist events and news
@feministing - twitter stream of the blog
@Bitchmedia - twitter stream of Bitch magazine
@FeministHulk - funny and inspiring feminist commentary
@MHarrisPerry - Princeton professor, MSNBC commentator, and Nation columnist who live-tweets her classes
@undisciplined - feminist professor experimenting with all kinds of social media
@mary_churchill - feminist higher ed admin who tweets and blogs about pedagogy
@feministteacher - feminist educator and activist
@emiledurkheim - sociological levity

And finally, us!

Other informational websites about Twitter:
Tweeting Feminists

back to Twitter guide home

Twitter Example #3

syllabus example

Reading Media and Technology in Contemporary Literature and Theory with Brian Croxall

According to the instructor of this course, the purpose of the Twitter assignment is "to use an interconnected, mixed media system and to see if it changes the culture or society of the class in any appreciable way." The instructor for the class has set up a class Twitter account, and should be somewhat familiar with how to use the technology in order to help the students. This particular activity model is for an English class about technology.

Student responsibilities
For this class, the Twitter component takes place for a specific subset of the semester (other technology is explored intensively during other weeks). For one month, everyone in the course is required to register for a Twitter account and post at least once a day. Students must list their twitter screen names and follow each others' twitter accounts. For three specific days, everyone is required to connect Twitter to the text messaging on their phone and follow at least 5-10 people that way (some allowances/changes are made for those without unlimited messaging). Students are encouraged to use a class hashtag when posting, and at the end of the month, they turn in a 1-2 pg paper reflecting on the Twitter assignment.

Incorporation into the class
It's not clear from this example how Twitter is incorporated into class time, but it seems as though the Twitter interaction is likely discussed in class as part of the readings and ideas that the class is exploring at that point in the course. The Twitter assignment counts for 5% of the grade breakdown for the class.

back to Twitter guide home

Twitter Example #2

syllabus example

Graphic Novels with Mark Sample
This particular course is designed for the course 'ENGL 685' that uses theories from literary criticism and visual culture studies to analyze the potential of graphic novels in addressing academic issues of racism, terrorism, immigration etc. The instructor has not mentioned the size of the class and the academic level (5000 level, 8000 level or undergraduate), but since the website has the twitter list of the class as well as the blog posts and comments (like our class), I could ascertain that the class included about 8 (most likely graduate) students. The class goes on till 10 pm and s/he advises students to not enroll if participation is an issue. In the instructor's words "This course places a high premium on participation" and s/he expects students to tweet at least once every other day both inside (real-time) and outside of classroom. In addition, s/he encourages students to post 'thick' tweets with more than 1 layer of information that may be in the form of a question (aka Freire's "learning to question" technique) and that adds new information and has the potential to further the conversation. The intent is to use twitter as a back channel conversation. This seems to require a lot of investment on the part of the instructor as well.

Student responsibilities
Everyone has to register for a twitter account on the first day and begin tweeting using #ENGL685. S/he has created a twitter list for everybody to follow the tweets. S/he does not provide instructions should the students not have a laptop for real-time tweeting in the classroom. There is also no information provided regarding whether technology is provided if access to computers is an issue. The activity does not seem to require viewing of comments as a whole in the class as twitter serves more as a back channel.

Incorporation into the class
Twitter as a back channel included as a component of class participation is given equal weightage as the other four components in the class i.e 20% of the grade. This includes real-time tweeting in the class as well as outside the classroom so that students tweet at least once every other day. The other components include blogging, final essay, presentation and a project.

back to Twitter guide home

Twitter Example #1

Syllabus example

Introduction to Electronic and Digital Communication with Kim Knight

The syllabus for Introduction to Electronic and Digital Communication includes a page about an ongoing Twitter assignment. The instructor begins by acknowledging the ways in which Twitter has been discounted ("I don't care what you had for breakfast") but explains that students will use Twitter to engage with each other throughout the semester. Because new media has come under much scrutiny , instructors will have to consider how to address those attacks.

The instructor here gives no hard and fast requirements about number of tweets throughout the semester, but the professor says they will create requirements if an online community does not arise organically. However, the professor offers clear guidelines about online etiquette expectations: "Our many online assignments will require vigilance to ensure that we are always preserving an atmosphere of mutual respect. Disagreements may arise and consensus may not be possible. We can, however, respect each person's right to an opinion. Name calling or menacing behavior will not be tolerated." The author also notes the general requirements of critical engagement and willingness to be open, have fun, and experiment with new media.

The syllabus also places the course website and Twitter account at the top of the syllabus (under contact information) so students have easy access to the information. This tactic conveniently makes it more difficult for students to claim they didn't know the class Twitter account.

Student responsibilities
Students are required to have a Twitter account, email it to the professor, follow everyone in the class, and use a designated hash tag for class related posts. Students are expected to engage with other students' tweets-- through replying or retweeting-- as well as the broader intellectual community.

Incorporation into the class
The instructor expects that Twitter activity will allow students to react to and engage with class readings and assignments. Twitter is also expected to inspire other assignments, such as class discussions, blog posts presentations, and the final project. Twitter and other social media provide a repository of class ideas and discussions.

back to Twitter guide home

Pedagogical Question(s) for 12/15

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In what ways would feminist authors such as bell hooks, Kevin Kumashiro, and Berenice Malka Fisher respond to the social/political opportunities and barriers that exist for feminist pedagogy within YouTube? While Kellner and Kim (2010) provides an accurate portrayal of the complexities and contradictions associated with critical pedagogy and social/political activism within YouTube, how would Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of Oppressed be updated today if he were to write an additional chapter regarding the influence of new media and YouTube on education? In what ways does YouTube provide unique opportunities for feminist pedagogy in comparison to blogs, Facebook, and Twitter? In comparison to other new media pedagogical resources, what unique barriers or concerns emerge while using YouTube within the classroom? How would you respond to a school administrator or colleague who has remained resistant to the potential, appropriateness, or usefulness of new media resources and YouTube within the classroom? While this class consists of individuals from a variety of academic interests, knowledge, and expertise, what is one example where you foresee YouTube providing a unique opportunity for feminist pedagogy in your classroom?

Feminist pedagogy example: Hair


frida-kahlo-by-julien-levy-1938.jpgSo I am writing a term paper on (of all things) pubic hair, and as a result am a bit hyperfocused on all things body hair at the moment. You're probably familiar with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the behemoth of cancer awareness and fundraising. Some men have responded with Movember - an effort to raise awareness for prostate cancer through men growing moustaches over the course of November.

Well, the women of Feministing are responding to Movember with Decembrow, a fundraising effort for women's health that takes place through women growing their eyebrows in. The idea seems to have hit a chord - it's been covered in Jezebel, AOL News, The Guardian, and a bunch of other places; some are uncomfortable with the idea, some think it's another iteration of empty activism, and some are enthusiastic.

The whole stink brought me to remember a lesson-cum-social-experiment a college
friend experienced in high school, involving a rural, socially-conservative student class, and their body hair. The teacher in question taught social studies; he was trying to make a point about gender, appearance, culture, and social construction. The assignment was thus: male students were to shave their armpits and legs for one month; female students were to cease shaving. How he checked/enforced the women's adherence to the project, I don't know. As for the guys, he would call them in front of the room and run an Epilady - basically a motorized hair-uprooter - up their armpits; if you'd slacked, you'd feel it. One student who was particularly recalcitrant to the idea of exploring the boundaries of socially-constructed gender and hadn't bothered to shave at all had enough pit hair to jam the Epilady motor, but only temporarily; finally it ripped out a patch of armpit hair efficaciously enough to leave the student crumpled on the floor making undignified noises.

Now that was rural (and heteronormative) Wisconsin, and for the rest of us, the idea of causing students depilatory anguish might match the definition of creating a hostile classroom environment, or of doing our students violence. But leaving the Epilady aside, I think it's an exercise with some potential: it's a temporary, reversible, and cheap way to get students to think about normative behavior. Moreover it could easily, and probably should, be combined with an auto-ethnographic journal project and discussion. I think there are other norms that could be explored in similar fashion, but I have a hard time thinking of one that would apply broadly, yet not be invasive or demanding. Particularly in the current moment, people seem fascinated by their body hair, and curious to explore its social meanings and potential. And what does it mean when hair's presence or absence gets attached to a social-awareness or charity message? Anyway, I would love to know what you all think.

Pedagogical Example 4

Since I'm not doing any sort of teaching this semester, I've been having a difficult time finding current examples of feminist pedagogy. This leads me to think of my experiences as a student, and the structure of most of my past classes seem very standard--they're either discussion or lecture or a mixture of both. One class that stands out to me as giving a unique and positive experience was one in which a history professor created a course about developing and producing a museum exhibit. This professor was a local historian of the area our university was in and she wrote a book about a specific historical event. She had her class read the book and create an exhibit around it to be installed in the town's museum. This class was also co-taught by the history professor and the museum director, and at each of our classes they were both present. There were about 15-20 people in the class and after our class discussed what should be the main proponents of the exhibit we split into groups which suited our own particular areas of interest--my area dealt with sensational fiction that was inspired by this historical event and I worked with 3 other people. Throughout the semester we worked on creating the exhibit and by the following semester our exhibit was installed in the museum. Many of the students after the semester ended volunteered at the museum giving tours of the exhibit; and some got internships at the museum the following year.

This museum course exemplified feminist pedagogical principles since it was radically different from the standard lecture/discussion based classes. Being involved in an active classroom changed my perspective about what education could do. The students also had much of the authority in the decision making processes and in that we felt a kind of agency that is usually stifled in standard classes. It was also very powerful to see work that is started in the classroom expanded to the larger community. Another aspect of this class that shows feminist pedagogical principles is that it was co-taught and this helps to de-center authority and shows that professors don't have absolute knowledge and collaboration helps to expand the class resources and knowledge.

I think an obvious question for this active classroom is if it is feasible for many classes? I think having this type of active classroom would require lots of planning, opportunity, and may not be appropriate for all disciplines. I think I was lucky to take this course, but I don't know if it could happen at all universities.

Pedagogical Example 3

I've been trying to think of feminist pedagogical examples throughout my academic career, and I've thought back to my first introduction to Women's Studies course. In my first year as an undergraduate I took an intro. course, and when I studied abroad in Ireland a couple years later I took an Introduction to European Women's Studies course. Both of these courses were co-taught. The first class was taught by two professors from different disciplines, and the second course was taught by four professors each from different disciplines. The first class with the 2 professors had a very collaborative teaching method and they had their own day each week that they taught and their classes built off each other in a productive way. In the second class in Ireland the four professors seemed to have little contact with one another and taught 2 two consecutive weeks in the semester. So there were more perspectives shown in this class, but it wasn't as much of a collaborative teaching effort.

I believe these co-taught courses exemplify feminist pedagogical principles since it creates a larger community of teachers and learners. As a student it was unique to have two (or more) different perspectives/voices to defer to. A part of feminist pedagogy seems to be about allowing for multiple voices to be present in a discussion and co-taught courses I believe reflect that aspect of feminist pedagogy.

A question I have about co-taught courses is about the logistics of grading. I'm not really sure how it worked in my courses, but I assumed it would be some sort of collaborative grading. This doesn't really concern me, but I feel like it potentially would cause some students to be concerned and would need to be addressed.

Have you heard of RSAnimate?


RSA does some great videos in which they animate lectures by intellectuals. "This animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award."

There are lots of different ways I could imagine engaging with this video from the perspective of feminist pedagogies. Here's just one: How should we bring social media into the conversation here? What role should/does it play in education (its limits and its possibilities for transformation?) At about 4 mins 29 secs in, Robinson discusses how "our children are living in the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the earth."

Pedagogical example


A colleague and I just submitted a proposal (see attached) to the American Technical Education Association 48th National Conference hosted this year by Dunwoody. I wanted to share this with the group as a pedagogical example of how we are trying to bust binaries of the learning experience with technical two-year students and the 4-year traditional student with regards to education strategies. Our proposed presentation is title: "An Innovative Approach to Teaching the Arts to the Technical Thinker." Many technical students have the perception that the Arts and theory are unnecessary courses at Dunwoody. So, we have worked hard to incorporate applied learning in with our Arts and theory courses to reach our difficult learners.2011 proposal form saplis henderson.doc

Feminist Pedagogy Example


As we were discussing safety issues in class Wed. it made me think of the Triune Brain Theory ( The Triune Brain Theory in education asserts that learning cannot occur when students are in the reptilian brain...that students' basic safety needs must be met for them to feel comfortable enough to learn. So, I try hard to make sure all students are treated respectfully and that there is an atmosphere of safety and respect in my classes. I also like to begin each class period with a joke (usually a Chuck Norris joke) or an icebreaker to help make them feel more comfortable. I wondered then how the Triune Brain Theory relates to the intentional discomfort caused in a class...which is something else I like to do.

Class Notes Dec. 9th


we started the class with skeptic's pedagogical question along with her blog post that centered on the
role of experience, positionality in feminist pedagogical practices. class discussion began around notions of

vulnerability, privacy, safety and community

madison added that often it is only certain people feel like they could or should self disclose their experiences. madison went on to note that although everyone has experiences, not everyone feels compelled to share those.
sara pointed us to Mwangi's notion that self-disclosure is often performative (92)
In relation to skeptic's example-
what is at stake/struggle with experiences and theory....why is it important?

Skeptic questions the different power relationships with regard to
reading theories,
reading experience,

does this help come to terms with positionality? What importance would/should one give to theory? To experience?
Sara and Madison question whether it is necessary to separate the two? How do you balance these in feminist pedagogy?
Skeptic commented on her post on engaging with a blog that commented on 1987 Hindi film, Ijaazat. In regards to positionality, skeptic questions the engagement with blog comments, respecting difference of opinion? Being so "direct"?

Facebook Learning Activity


Feminist Facebook Learning Activity

Erika Freitas . Brittany Lewis . Reina Rodríguez . Jacqueline Schiappa

For this Facebook learning activity our group posted a status update to prompt our Facebook friends to respond to the following questions: "What does a feminist classroom look like?" and "What examples if any can you share about a classroom that you would name as feminist?" Group members wrote a Facebook "note" which is a and tagged certain friends in an attempt to engage specific people in a conversation on feminist pedagogies and the potential for Facebook to further connect, share, and explore our feminist pedagogical goals. We also asked our classmates to initiate a similar discussion for those that have a Facebook account. To offer more information on the learning activity one could also include the link to our class website and blog. (This was quickly re-posted by other friends to include their entire friend list.)

I thought I would start an open thread on our class, particularly in relation to our discussion in class last night about silence, feeling oppressed, surveillance, discomfort, and social media. I encourage you to add in your thoughts as comments to this thread.

Pedagogical Example #4- Oral History Assignment


Our discussion of Facebook in the classroom focused on the value of bringing many voices into the classroom discussion. Facebook allows students to have access to a large number of voices, but it's difficult (for whatever reason: the Facebook platform, privacy issues, stigma) to engage in in-depth, critical discussions. So in that way, Facebook discussions offer breadth, but depth is more difficult to achieve.

Oral history assignments offer one way for students to critically engage in in-depth discussions outside the classroom and connect lived experience with theoretical debates. For instance, as an undergraduate, I took a class called the History of Women in the U.S. Our final assignment involved interviewing a woman who was alive during the second wave feminist movement, talking with her, and discussing the ways she was or was not engaged in feminist movement. Students were encouraged (and most decided) to interview family members, but students were also allowed to interview other people they were close to who were alive during that time.

Key to this assignment was understanding the contextual backdrop in which the person lived. What political movements were going on? Did the oral history participant engage with that movement? Was she at all affected by it? What was the person's favorite TV shows? What were the implications of those shows? What were the politics of her everyday life?

I interviewed my grandmother for this project, and to this day, it remains to be some of the most meaningful academic work I have done. I had discussions with my grandmother about things she had never brought up before and which she hasn't brought up since. When I began the project, I was NOT excited. My grandma was not a feminist, did not go to college, or try to save the world. My grandmother was a young mother in a small town. Even though she was far from a bra burner, and even though she carries pretty negative connotations about feminism, I learned about and was able to contextualize the strength that it took for her to survive.

The only thing I would change about this project would be to allow space for class discussion of what students learn. Just as bringing in voices from Facebook can offer different outsider perspectives on a certain topic, so to can assignments like oral histories. Such conversations are rarely easy, but ultimately, I think they're worth it.

EDIT: It's pretty easy to imagine how this assignment works well with a feminist history class, or most social science classes in general. Some other ideas about how to use oral histories or in-depth interviews: 1. If you have students complete a service learning project, have them interview people they work with, either people who run the organization or someone in the population they serve. Why was the organization started, how has it changed, where is it going in the future? 2. In an English class, perhaps students could speak with family members to seek inspiration for a story or essay. 3. For science classes, try to get a hold of someone involved in the research itself or the topic being studied. I once studied the formation of manatees' eyesight, and how pollution and global warming are making it harder for manatees to see. I could have contacted someone who worked with manatees and asked how their relationship with manatees has changed over the years because of this problem.

Thus, the activity could be applied to a wide range of topics. The key is to engage with people outside the classroom; bring in their voices, opinions, and experiences; and disrupt the concept of expert in the academy.

another pedagogical example


during my undergraduate years worked as a teachers aide for head start/ state preschool in southern california. I loved this job because it allowed me to work with young children from my community. the program was primarily for low income families and the majority of the parents were undocumented migrants from mexico and central america. the parents were required to complete certain number of volunteer hours as part of their program. to my surprise, the parents almost exclusively spent their volunteer hours cleaning the classroom or engaging in other "chore-like" activities. my first year, I worked with a teacher that explained to me that I shouldn't be surprised because "that's the way the parents liked to help out." She went on to say that, their volunteer hours facilitated for us (the teachers) to actually do the "teaching." being that it was my first year on the job, I didn't really try to challenge this. the year went on and the parents simply cleaned up, prepared materials for class activities (usually tedious tasks like cutting a million black triangles or a gazillion red squares) or went to pick up the class lunch from the cafeteria. I went on throughout the year feeling uneasy about the way the class was going. being that I was also taking Chicana/o Studies classes at the time, I knew the potential and possibility to have parents in the classroom with their children.

There are very few feminist studies graduate students in any one graduate seminar across campus, this makes our critical perspectives and place in the classroom rather contentious at times as we push against traditional disciplines and often the limited ways of thinking that follow. One day in a heated debate about the place of feminist studies in the classroom particularly the voices of women of color the professor referred to the two feminist studies graduate students in the room and declared that they had over extended themselves to make sure they were here (admitted into the program).

This statement implied the following (but perhaps might not of have been this professors intentions):
1. That neither student could gain entrance into the department on their own academic or intellectual merit
2. Women of Color knowledges are not given the same value as normative feminist knowledge in the feminist studies department at the U of M

What does it mean that a professor would make such a bold statement in a normatively white classroom about two women of color graduate students? How can a professors presumed emotional investment in certain students disrupt the feminist classroom? What did this professor gain by making this statement?

I believe this was a bad pedagogical example for the following reasons: First, by making this statement (true or not) the professor turned these students experiences into spectacle for the normatively white classroom to consume. Second, by centering his/her "investment" in these students this professor illustrated for the class whose bodies she has placed a value. Lastly, I believe a feminist pedagogy should talk about the contentions in the field, but should not use students experiences and bodies to do so. Furthermore, should not do so and then reinscribe a relationship of power.

What do you think?

Day 12: December 8

Before moving into our discussion of facebook, here are a few announcements:

  • Your social media resource content for our blog must be posted by next Wednesday, our last class! I just added categories for each group. Also, once you post your resources, I will add them as links in our social media resources page. To make room for this page, I took the reading schedule and put it at the end of the course syllabus page. As part of your resource guide, please include a brief (1-2 paragraph) explanation of your resources, I will include your explanation (along with links to your various entries) on the social media resources page. 
  • Here's a reminder of remaining assignments, including your final statement.
Here's a breakdown of today's class:

Vulnerability, Privacy, Community, Safety

As instructors, how much access (to our personal lives, to our time) should we give our students? How is this question complicated when we become facebook friends with our students?

How do we negotiate our various selves/roles/identities on facebook? Can it be productive to make our "personal/private" selves visible for those who normally only encounter our "professional/public" selves? What are the benefits of this visibility? The drawbacks? 

Does this visibility enable us to be vulnerable to/in the midst of others in potentially productive ways? What are the limits/dangers of this vulnerability?

How do public and private function in a feminist classroom? On facebook? (How) do these spaces complicate and demand a rethinking of the public/private distinction?

What is privacy? Check out this trailer for a longer video on "Choose privacy week"

Should/can a feminist classroom be a safe space? Is facebook a safe space?

safety: (from Fisher, 140):
  • physical 
  • social 
  • psychological 
  • discourse
"Honest participation in feminist discourse meant bringing as much of yourself as you could to such discussions, drawing on experiences, feelings, and ideas that might promote liberating actions" (Fisher, 141).

Is trust important to feeling safe? Or in engaging even when one doesn't feel safe? Does facebook make us more/less trustworthy?

trust     self-disclosure     honesty   vulnerability  safety

privilege and "differential vulnerabilities" (Fisher, 150)

Kishimoto and Mwangi: "However, just like Munro, we 'seek simultaneously to create and disrupt notions of the subject' (1) and thereby create fluid spaces in which to articulate and make sense of our positionalities in different contextual landscapes" (90). Does facebook allow for these types of negotiations? Is it a fluid space where we can make sense of our various positionalities?

On self-disclosure Mwangi writes:

Self-disclosure is the element of explaining who I am, where I come from and where I am going, as well as my professional background at the beginning of the course. I often feel obligated to do this to establish my presence in the classroom. It is like letting the students know--"hello, I am here! And I have something to offer!!"--Self-disclosure becomes a way of not only authenticating my presence in the classroom but also talking back to myself acknowledges up front that I am in a position of vulnerability and thereby invokes a reminder to myself that I am braced to do what I need to do (92). 

On a false sense of safety Kishimoto writes:

This false sense of safety implied by surveillance is only creating a controlled and predictable environment that does not challenge the hegemonic system, thereby ignoring our subjective positionalities (94). 

On the value of being unsettled (troubled?) Mwangi and Kishimoto write: 

To imagine that learning only occurs in a place of "calm" is to miss the ways in which contradictions, ambiguities, anger, pain, and struggles can be sources of energy to facilitate critical consciousness necessary for individual and social change (98). 

Engaging with blogs


This isn't really a good example of pedagogy but it made me think a lot about engaging with resistance in the classroom

I recently saw an old Hindi movie called 'Ijaazat' made in 1987. It was about a man who falls in love with a free-spirited woman but has been engaged since childhood to another woman arranged by his grandfather. Afraid to speak to his grandfather about it, he mentions it to his 'friend' Sudha- who's characterized as the traditional, patient, sacrificing, 'Indian' woman. To cut a long story short, he ends up deserting the girl he loves (Maya) for Sudha. The rest of the movie shows his genuine and sincere attempts to do the 'right' and 'true' thing with Sudha though Maya's shadow is always between them. The movie is very poetic throughout highlighting the tensions for every character between what should be done, how they should behave and their empathetic feelings for the ones whom they love including the 'other' woman.

Anyway, the point of this post is that this blog criticized the movie in very love and hate terms. A crucial point is that she doesn't know the language which has great implications in how much the movie is understood given the centrality of poetry to the movie. Further, the context of societal pressures regarding arranged marriage, womanhood are very different. I made a comment about why I liked the movie as it was bold in challenging certain norms. I also made a critique regarding the eurocentrism of her post and called for humility while judging the movie in black and white terms.

In response, two Indians and the author wrote that I was not humble enough to acknowledge differences in opinion- and the discussion moved on to liking and disliking a movie as opposed to understanding the cultural contexts in which the movie was made, for what purpose, how was it resisting certain discourses while reproducing others. Her argument was that she has watched 100s of Hindi movies, loves some and hates some and those are her opinions and that it was insulting of me to term her eurocentric when it is just not possible for her to use an 'Indian' lens.

These comments left me wondering whether I was discouraging people from dominant cultures in understanding and engaging with a Third world culture, even if that meant tokenizing the 'arranged marriage system' as something wierd. Was the male character merely spineless or was it a commentary about oppressive discourse? Why was the martyr character portrayed as a traditional, sacrificing woman wearing a saree, a teacher of Indian classical music? Why was the free-spirited woman wearing western attire, poetic, dreamy, adventurous and lively and also selfish, naive and emotionally unstable? In the classroom, how do you go beyond the discussion of liking and disliking cultural products? When is it okay to leave it at "I agree to disagree"? What does it mean to be eurocentric? To quote the author- "Like that's a bad thing? or even avoidable when you're a westerner? :-)" How do you critique a positionality? My intention wasn't to be insulting, but since I was commenting in a blog I needed to be more careful about how I presented what I said. Is a blog a private space or a public one? Do you engage differently in a forum and a blog?

I've been a member of an online community (SS) for seven and a half years. The community has about 1,000 members, 95% female, and most members have been active for at least five years. Members reside around the world but are mostly American, Canadian, or British. There are regular posts and conversations about feminism and applying feminist values in a variety of contexts. Recently a member made the following post:

"Let us talk. do you ever feel marginalized or silenced in SS? are there certain issues you avoid talking about or types of comments you avoid making in here? why or why not? do you ever feel like the white majority in SS "doesnt get it"(whatever that might mean to you)? why or why not? also, i'd like to have a greater discussion about the race/ethnicity and dating/attraction question I posted in the above thread. I'm very curious to see how this will go."

573 comments were posted in response (most posts garner 50-200 comments). A lot of interesting conversations sprang up, some of which I'd like to share here to demonstrate how an online community can function in feminist pedagogical ways. I've renamed users for anonymity and compiled some brief exchanges to show the breadth of the topics being engaged:

Defining Silence:
JT: idk how any of us can really be "silenced" here. i haven't seen anyone bullied into submission or banned over having an unpopular opinion except for like, 11centz or people being outright hateful or some kind of fucked up -ist
EF: not literally silenced. people can silence you by refusing to listen to or understand what you're saying.
AK: I think lots of people get shit for having unpopular opinions...
JT: that isn't the same as being "silenced." it means u've been heard and ppl just don't like what u have to say.

"Model minorities":
DCTIO: Why do some of the Asian members feel like they aren't minorities?
AG: because we're like 'the model minority' :( also i've straight up been told in discussions of race/ privilege that i should stfu because i've never been marginalized because 1) i can pass and 2) when people identify me as asian that it doesn't impact their opinion of me negatively and i don't want to tread on anyone's toes.
ADC: i feel like that's so ridiculous that someone told you that, i'm sorry :( part of the "model" minority myth is a "naturally" docile, compliant, timid, easily influenced/subjugated nature. how is that not marginalizing?
AG: thank you. i didn't even know how to respond especially because i tend to get shit from both white people for being insufficiently white, too Asian or offended about racism towards Asians and from Asian people for being too white/ a 'mongrel'. blah.

i think the model minority myth is super damaging both to Asian people and other minority groups, especially because effectively communicates that Asian people shouldn't be offended by our treatment because we're held up as a shining example of people who have assimilated and adapted super well (gold star for us! no gold star for other minority groups.) and because we need to be docile, compliant, timid, easily influenced and easily subjugated to be considered a 'good' minority and thus can feel unable to speak up when we experience racism.

sorry, word vomit. i have a lot of feeeelings haha.

On White Privilege
BTF: you cant keep privilege in check without acknowledging it. and just because youre a majority in one sense doesnt mean you cant be a minority in another.

yes, SS uses the word privilege too much lately, but that anon comment was stupid. saying that my life has been easy in some ways so i shouldnt have any say in any kinds of oppression? what the fuck ever. so am i just supposed to sit back and let people be ignorant because i'm white?

me being against oppression is not because im white and therefore have nothing else to complain about. and me standing up when i see something is wrong is not because I Went To College. its because im a decent human being.
MYH: Yeah, I totally agree with it. My standing up to what I see is wrong comes out of being a decent human being, not because I took anthropology 101. And it also rubbed me the wrong way to assume white privileged girls are just standing up for something because they learned about it in college.
BP: Yeah, seriously. I went to a mostly socially deficient male engineering school, there was no Oppression 101, and if they did offer it, it would have been a fucking joke. The only language course they offered was C++.
MAMYR: i'm reluctant to step in here but i'm going to do it anyway because i've been drinking!

nobody is saying that it's not right to acknowledge privilege if you're white. the problem comes when white allies start to speak for the people they're trying to support, instead of letting them speak for themselves. i'm not trying to get too jargon-y here, but that is just one more form of oppression and one more way that white people (or straight people or w/e) invade "safe spaces" and take them over. and the fact that their opinions are often taken more seriously by the world at large than they would be if a person of color voiced the same opinions is just salt in the wound. and you can even see this here in this exact post, which was aimed at minorities but has plenty of allies in here, trying to speak for them.

and now i'm going to bow out, because i'm pretty sure i just did the exact same thing i'm bitching about in this post.

On the Community's Failures
HS: you're all so well read with your feminist studies and your throwing around terms like "oppressive matrixes" but you do not get it at all if you're willing to deny that you have any privilege and it's wrong for me to remind you of that. and with that being said, that is exactly why we can't have any real discussions in here and i guess how i feel censored as a minority here. this is privileged white girl politics at its finest and no one gives a shit about the minority perspective unless it's coming from a certain place... aka another white girl who says its cool to care about something. i posted about the most devastating murder BY A FUCKING COP in my community and like 10 people commented but y'all can have 100+ comments in a story about a fucking kid getting kicked out of a private pool because he was black? seriously y'all?! your very perspective is coming from a place of privilege and i'm sorry calling you on it hurts your feelings or whatever but boo-fucking-hoo. You may consider yourself an ally and you can read all the books you want but you'll never ever understand some of the hurt that comes with being marginalized

fuck this "don't call me privileged my life is hard tooo" conversation. i'm gonna call it like i see it and if you're on your high horse trying to lecture me or spout our some facts about being a minority that you read in a book at your university, we're gonna call you out.
LB: yeah. like why is this issue so hard to understand?
JP: I want to high five you so hard right now. I really am so incredibly dissatisfied at how this post turned out.


I suggest this is an example of feminist pedagogy for a few reasons:

1. SS represents a diverse collectivity of people explicitly engaging in complex feminist topics. Dialoguing thoughtfully about such topics is a feminist practice.
2. These conversations are filled with personal experiences, historical examples, academic and theoretical points, and generative question/answer sections. Many forms of knowledge are counted as legitimate in SS.
3. Members make genuine attempts to listen and grow from the conversations (for example this post reflected multifaceted topics that have emerged over years of interaction). Meta-conversations promote reflexivity. Listening and self-reflexivity are important to feminist pedagogy.
4. Members will often discuss attempting to implement their feminist beliefs in their lives and seek support/advice from the community in doing so. Because some members are teachers or graduate students these conversations are very much about pedagogy.
5. Overall, the community offers solidarity to hundreds of different feminists working through their lives. Community is itself an important feminist value.

I also decided to blog about SS because I wanted to offer an example of an online community that has effectively sustained feminist conversations and relationships between hundreds of members across the globe. Nowhere else do I find myself engaging in feminist dialogues on a regular basis with so many different people, especially outside of the classroom.

Pedagogical Example #3- Semester Parters


I admit it; I often hate working with partners. Small groups I can usually handle. But there is something about working with partners that makes me anxious. I'm sure my anxieties stem from personal fears about awkward social situations. Nevertheless, I have grown to really appreciate my class this semester that involves a great amount of working in pairs. The key is that, in this case, partners work together throughout the entire semester, allowing them to get to know each other and each other's work.

At the beginning of the semester, the professor has each person share their research interests with the class (I should say that this is a methods course so students are required to develop a long-term research project). After a couple of classes, the professor puts the class in pairs based on what she deems to be parallel research interests.

The class has a blog where we post all of our research notes, and it is the job of the partners to comment on each other's blog posts. In addition, partners are also obligated to do close readings and provide insightful criticisms to drafts of papers throughout the semester.

I have found this practice to be useful on multiple levels. Most simply, I have gotten to know a great person who I might not have otherwise. My partner and I regularly exchange emails, suggest readings to each other, and generally get a long pretty well. In terms of blogging, the commenting partners ensure the blog stays active without overburdening the students. A couple of side notes: students are also allowed and encouraged to comment on other entries, but the entries of commenting partners should take priority. Also, about half way through the semester, students email the professor, indicating whether they would like to keep or change commenting partners. I think everyone in our class kept the same partner.

From a feminist perspective,commenting partners help transfer some of the professorial authority onto the students. Here, teachers and students alike are seen as being equally valuable resources. In many ways, I regard my commenting partner as more of an expert on my research area than my professor. This practice could be especially helpful, then, for students with more unique or marginalized research interests in creating a sense of solidarity and reinforcing the import of their work (that is, assuming there is someone who at least tangentially shares their interests). Moreover, the practice encourages a certain amount of sharing and intimacy not found in traditional classroom settings, which benefits the overall class dynamic.

Let's See What Jon Stewart Has to Say About Twitter...


11/17 Class Notes

Feminist Pedagogy & Twitter
➢ "Authentic-Self"
➢ Performative nature of social networking often results in a policing of one's self based on perceptions of others
➢ Personal representations on Twitter are not truly one self but a crafting of what we feel will gain approval/acceptance by others
➢ Often results in a balancing potentially competing/conflicting identities (i.e. friends, co-workers, family, etc.)
➢ As pro-feminist bloggers reference Johnson as simply "creepy," it serves to depoliticize his statements and shifts focus away from Johnson's sexist, racist, and predatory dialogue
➢ Twitter can also serve as a significant source of resistance/challenge/negotiation
➢ Twitter/new media continues to marginalize populations due to a lack of access according to socio-economic status
➢ Twitter continues to reflect a convergence of traditional media within new media sources

Twitter Within the Classroom
➢ Not looking to replace classroom discussions, but as a way to supplement/enhance them
➢ Archives/documents learning process
➢ Builds off of each other's ideas
➢ Ability to engage "shy" students in a new manner
➢ Opportunities for discussion to expand during slow moments
➢ Complexities/difficulties arise, however, as students/teachers are typing during discussions
➢ Still have to negotiate paranoia of many teachers that students can actually use computers in the classroom in a positive way and not simply distract students through personal online interests not associated with the class (strong sense of trust/respect is involved here)
➢ Personal note: While tweeting in the classroom, pounding on keyboard keys is still not cool and borderline annoying
➢ Potential of showing tweets within the classroom on projector

Talking about Facebook...

| 1 Comment

Talking about Facebook, I watched recently the movie "The Social Network". The movie was "touching" in many senses to me and I still remember vividly many passages... The way women are portrayed and objectified, the power (?) of money/ capitalism, the value of friendship X business, and so on. I found this comment very interesting and I thought it would be nice to share it with you guys and see what you think.

Facebook Learning Activity

Hello All,

For this week's learning activity the facebook group would like to explore
the ways that we can challenge and engage our established networks and
friends in a conversation about feminist pedagogy in the classroom. By *10PM
tonight* please update your facebook status and publish a facebook note to
share with your friends the following question using whatever language you
would like:

What does a feminist classroom look like? What examples if any can you
share about a classroom that you would name as feminist?

You must actively engage whom ever responds to your status or facebook
note. You are facilitating this dialogue and we want you to push those that
respond to your question to think critically about their responses. Also,
feel free to answer the question yourself while engaging with others. Please
print off the comments and/or discussions that arise from these posts and
bring them to class on Wednesday.

See you all on Wednesday,

Facebook Learning Activity Group

Theoretical question for Dec 1


Berenice Fisher's question asking whether women's experience is the best teacher intrigues me at several levels. Standpoint feminism stresses on using experience as a way of knowing (Kishimoto and Mwangi) as does Fisher when she suggests that feelings and stories of one's experiences broadens the opportunities for reflection. Both also problematize experential knowledge as an authority. While Kishimoto and Mwangi suggest that vulnerability is a form of strategic essentialization for collective action, Fisher argues that experience need not be 'innocent'. Kishimoto and Mwangi also stress that one must use one's vulnerability and self-disclosure in moving students and teachers somewhere in our learning/teaching. Fisher, too, says that experience is partial and cannot tell us about the influence of larger structures. If the aim of individual and collective action is to transform society, how does a feminist pedagogue facilitate a productive dialogue between the 'bearers of experience' and 'experential analysts' for a particular type of oppression? How can the 'bearers of experience' theorize as hooks does when she's hurting? How can the 'analysts' negotiate their lack of personal experience as they seek to learn about a particular type of oppression or oppressed group?

Social Media making Black Friday easier!

Check this out if you are interested!

The other side of "it gets better"... and Jasbir Puar


I think Dan Savage's It gets better (IGB) campaign came up in one of our classes as one of the possibilities for social media to intervene in the lives of people. Bullying and suicide are very real, especially for queer youth. However, since the inception of IGB, there have been critics who have rightly complicated who the movement is targeting and also what it will mean for queer youth to hear the "bootstrap" narrative that seems to be so closely linked to neoliberalism. I thought i would post this commentary by Jasbir Puar on the IGB campaign to see what others thought. Another one of the of the the critiques is that the IGB campaign centers on a narrative of it "getting better" without complicating how this is so closely linked to being "white, cisgendered and middle class." A video response to the IGB campaign from a self identified gay woman of color states, "it kinda doesn't get better..." Puar quotes a blogger named Quiet Riot Girl who charges, "Basically the YouTube project suggests support for queer youth has to stay 'on message' and 'upbeat'. Dissent and diversity does not seem to be encouraged. This is borne out by the vast numbers of videos being uploaded by white university-educated gay men, in comparison to those from women, transgender people, and working-class people, and people from diverse ethnic backgrounds." So I thought I would share this article to see what others thought. I think it speaks to the notion of audience as well as accessibility (and maybe representation?) that we have been grappling with all semester long. I am including the video I mentioned by the gay woman of color. what do you all thinks??

Facebook Learning Activity Group

Hoping we could be in touch over the holiday for our presentation on December 1st. My email is If you'd like, use this post as a way to begin planning.

Feminist Pedagogical Example #4 - Denis Rancourt


Since we began this class, I have been thinking off and on about Denis Rancourt, a tenured professor at the University of Ottawa who was fired for using critical pedagogical methods (see the Globe and Mail story if you want more details). Rancourt describes himself as an anarchist and the main offense seems to be his refusal to give his students meaningful grades. When denied the ability to offer pass/fail grades, he announced to his students the first day of class that he would give everyone in the class an A+. He still offered the students assignments, taught the class, and engaged with the work. The only difference was that students and professor alike who engage in this work outside of a grade system are presumably working on the basis of a more intrinsic motivation. Those students who have no interest in learning from the class will presumably check out and not complete anything, leaving the classroom space and instructor's time reserved for those who are engaged.

I think about this man's pedagogical methods every time I am grading a batch of papers.

Ok, so that's partially because I wish I wasn't swimming in essays to read, but also because I wish I didn't have to wade through a bunch of hastily completed assignments in order to get to the students who actually care. I fantasize about how much more feedback I might be able to give and how much less I might resent this task if I knew that all or most of the students put some effort into their work and actually wanted to know how it could be improved. (Not to mention how much I flinch every time I give a B to a spectacularly lackluster assignment.) We've talked a bit on the blog and in class about how to not let the least-interested students determine our pedagogical strategies, and this seems like one fascinating way to do that.

Rancourt's experiments are clearly an example of critical pedagogy (directly described as such in this interview), but is this an example of feminist pedagogy per se? For me this case raises some questions about the differences between the two. In particular, I'm interested in the masculinist overtones hinted at in some of the conflicts Rancourt has been embroiled in, especially his latest skirmish with editors of a peer-reviewed journal. Is a critical pedagogy always a feminist pedagogy? Is it the method or the person that makes it a feminist pedagogy? If I were to apply the same methods, I would call it feminist pedagogy, but if I don't see Rancourt as especially feminist, does that change things?

Regardless, Rancourt's case not only provides a compelling example and rationale for flattening classroom hierarchy, but also a clear warning that challenges to authority will be resisted by power, raising (even more) questions about our own positionality in this system and the extent to which we are in control of "our" classrooms.

Bill Nye the Science Guy Pictures, Images and Photos

My professor from back home just posted this story on fb, and i thought it would add significantly to our twitter discussion. The title reads, "If the Science Guy passes out and nobody tweets it, did it happen?" The article centers on Bill Nye the science guy's collapse at USC. Apparently, before going to his aid, students consulted twitter and fb, while some even posted pictures. This is interesting when we consider that it may very well not have been "real" until the students put this out in the social media world...or whatever that means...
even more disturbing is the murder of Anthony Barre aka "Messy Mya" and the role of the internet played in his "documenting" his death (this link is from the original Bill Nye article).

what do you all think??



Aditi • Meg • Daniel • Madison
Feminist Pedagogies, November 17, 2010

Activity Description:
Our Twitter learning activity assignment uses the idea of a Twitter backchannel to (hopefully) enrich a more standard classroom activity: movie watching. For our activity, we are going to show a short movie to the class, asking you to focus on critically analyzing the content from a feminist perspective. In addition, we are asking those of you with Twitter access in the classroom to live tweet your reactions to or thoughts about the movie as it is playing. This should work in our class context; in order for it to work in any other course, there would have to already be some Twitter component so that the students would actually have Twitter accounts and be likely to see each other's tweets while the movie is on. Because we want to acknowledge that many students have laptops and/or smartphones in the classroom and can tweet, while others stick to paper and pen, we have not designed the activity to require that everyone in class participate in the Twitter conversation. Instead, we think of this as a Twitter backchannel allowing at least some students to engage more actively with the material as it is presented. In other words, in an actual classroom setting, Twitter would not be the purpose of the activity, but a way to enhance an activity we might already be planning, providing students an additional outlet for their thoughts and another avenue for discussion. Once we have completed this activity, we want to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using Twitter in this way.

Statement of the goals of the activity:
The goals of the activity broadly are to encourage students to critically reflect on the relationship between media and power in the circulation of knowledge in society and to engage in a dialogue about how the various participants engaged with the media or not and why. The use of Twitter as social media is to enable participants to express in short, crisp phrases their spontaneous reactions (critical and/or uncritical feelings and thoughts) to a media clip while they watch it. The hope is that a comparison of engagement with the media text through verbal dialogue and Twitter can help one to understand how these two methods can help/hinder in making the classroom a safe place to voice one's experiences, reactions and opinions.

Questions to think about after watching/tweeting about clip:
1. Were you honest about tweeting what you felt? Were you cautious?
2. How did tweeting help/hinder you in voicing what you thought or felt freely?
3. How do you think seeing other people's tweets can affect one's own tweeting? Is that a strength, a limitation or both?
4. How did people without access to Twitter feel while watching the clip? How does mixed access to Twitter affect the class dynamics or discussion?
5. How would the situation be different if everyone had access to Twitter? What difficulties might be avoided and which would remain?

Intended Participants of Activity:

Today, this activity will be used in a relatively small classroom in which some technology is available. We hope that this setting will mimic the larger undergraduate classes at the University of Minnesota. In many cases, technology may be available to share a media clip with the class, either through TV or streaming on the internet. However, we also want to recognize, highlight, and interrogate the mixed availability of technologies such as Twitter to students. What is gained and/or what challenges emerge when we utilize classroom exercises dependent on these technologies? In what settings might this activity work better and what limitations cannot be avoided?

Perceived Strengths and Limitations as a Tool for Feminist Pedagogy:
In this activity, Twitter can potentially break down some boundaries of time and power that traditionally shape the classroom video-watching experience. Instead of keeping thoughts contained until the end of the video, students can tweet their reactions in real time. Tweeting can also allow the students to foster a richer dialogue than that which might otherwise take place. The ability to see each others' tweets while watching the movie can facilitate a dialogue but some voices may be silenced. Moreover, the engagement with the movie itself may be compromised. Seeing the tweets of the class after watching the video may have the advantage of a 'surprise' element that can kick-off the dialogue in the classroom.

In addition, using social media websites like Twitter as a tool for feminist pedagogy allows for the development of these thoughts outside of the classroom. After class, students can reflect on and return to tweets made during class. While many of us are reluctant to take our scholarly discussions into our social lives, (due to culture, language, or because you're leading a double life as a friendly mild-mannered reporter by day and super scholar by night) internet spaces like Twitter allow people to reflect on their knowledge in whole new ways. By enacting feminist pedagogies we are able to decenter the notion that education only happens in books, classrooms, and lectures. Here we can use new ways to connect, create, and grow our understandings as to how social justice work is done.

Still, these spaces may not be accessible to all. While it is true that many people in the U.S. do have access to computers, these spaces continue to be a place of the privileged. By creating a knowledge base that is spread through the Internet, we are centering a particular voice that has accessibility to funds to purchase computers and Internet service. Also, it can neglect those who are simply computer illiterate, or do not want to use technology for personal reasons. Many of these social networks can be extremely confusing and some people (like me, Danny) will not take the time to learn them. This leaves many activists who still thrive on the personal connections to create change, outside these realms. While we are not arguing for just one form of social activism to exist, it is important to understand the strengths and limitations of these tools. Web spaces like Twitter are a great space to grow social justice consciousness for those who choose to use them.

back to Twitter guide home

Day 11: November 17

Today we are discussing twitter and lived experience, daily habits, authenticity and sharing. Before we get into that, here are a few announcements:

  • No class next week
  • Here's the entry that I posted with a recap of final assignments. Any questions?
  • Any other questions (you can post them as comments to this entry too)?
Here's a breakdown of the class:
  • Pedagogical questions
  • Discussion of readings and topic
  • Break at 5:20
  • Begin Twitter group's presentation/assignment at 5:30
A few thoughts...

Today we are discussing twitter and its value (or lack of value) for our practices and visions of feminist pedagogy. We could talk about the limits and possibilities of twitter in many different ways in relation to feminism and feminist pedagogies. For example, how does twitter work for (and/or against) activism? Lots of folks are critically reflecting on this question. Earlier in the semester, we discussed Malcolm Gladwell's article about twitter and "Why the Revolution Will not beTweeted" (check out ha78na's response here). Over at DigiActive, they put together a guide to Twitter for Activism. And Ronak Ghorbani offers up a series of podcasts + analysis on tweeting feminists. We could also talk about how twitter works in encouraging back channel conversations in classrooms (during lectures and discussions) and in conferences. We already started to talk about the problems and possibilities of twitter in this way in our discussion of "Designing Choreographies for Attention" a few weeks ago. Sample Reality offers up an interesting take on the value of "snark" in the classroom. In terms of using twitter for conference conversations, check out how it was used in the 2010 NWSA conference (they had the live feed on their website). A couple of my queering desire students used it to live tweet yesterday's Interrogating Complicities conference too. 

While we can continue these conversations today (and online), I wanted to add in another important topic concerning twitter and feminist pedagogy: Lived Experience, Daily Habits, Authenticity and Sharing. Here are some key questions for me: 

  • What sort of authentic expressions are possible via twitter? 
  • Is authenticity counter to/in conflict with performativity/performance? 
  • Ped Question (danny): How is performance informed differently for different bodies? Do spaces like Twitter allow for a "true" reflection of ourselves or do we perform there too?
Lived Experiences: 
  • Can we use twitter to express (and value) our lived experiences? 
  • What are the problems and possibilities of expressing/relying on/invoking lived experiences?
  • In a youtube video about twitter it is suggested that twitter is concerned with documenting "the real life that happens between blog posts and emails." What value do you see in expressing and documenting these aspects of real life?

  • See johnnyblaze513's ped questions.
  • How are those expressions valued and/or devalued when presented in twitter-logic (with 140 characters + random followers + the impulse to be witty and "cute" and quick)? 
  • What happens when our authentic/crafted/performed tweets are taken up by others? Joel Johnson writes
It's a website where people post things they choose to display to the public, including--unless one has a perfect follower-to-follows ratio or a private account--several people you don't know at all who choose to pay attention to your life, your thoughts, and whatever else you choose to share.

Rather than worry that I might be viewed as a sociopath for using Twitter exactly in the way for which it was designed, I choose to instead be excited about all the new people and perspectives that are right at my eyeballs' fingertips. But that doesn't mean I want--or am even capable of--becoming fast friends with every single person I observe (or read, or watch, or whatever) on the internet. No one really wants that--except for creepy people.

Is Twitter designed in order to "other" people? Does it encourage us to pay attention to each other in ways that are objectifying and oppressive? Can we imagine sharing and expression of self in ways outside of this model? Does twitter allow for that? What does Zandt think? How is Johnson defining "creepy" people here?

  • Can sharing help build up trust and empathy?
  • How should we think about sharing in relation to the binary of production/consumption?
  • Check out what Deanna Zandt has to say about the value of social networks for sharing and mapping relationships:
We've always belonged to multiple spheres, but in the offline world, the piece that was missing was clear documentation or mapping of those relationships. We could exchange information about ourselves, but physical limitations and social expectations prevented us from widespread information sharing. You wouldn't, say, set up a conference call with a bunch of people you know casually to talk about your family vacation... it would have been expensive and culturally weird. 

Now using a variety of tools -- email, social networks like Facebook and MySpace, microblogging services like Twitter -- we have the ability to create maps of our relationships. I don't mean maps in the pictorial sense, like a giant family tree or anything. I mean maps in the pathway sense. We are able to create and use very direct pathways to engage in immediate, many-to-many conversations with people in our social networks by sharing our experiences with one another. 

Those pathways create the opportunity for us to take advantage of our relationships in revolutionary ways, particularly when we share information with each other, rather than simply receiving information passively from sources outside of our personal relationships.

What benefits and drawbacks can you imagine in this ability to map and take advantage of our relationships?

Daily Habits: 
  • Does twitter/tweeting encourage us to be more "authentic" or less authentic or both?
  • What sorts of practices does it encourage or discourage? 
  • Are we more authentic when we tweet a lot--is tweeting about amassing lots of tweets that, when taken collectively, make visible a tentative crafting of a version of the authentic self? Is tweeting a lot, without careful reflection, central to twitter's "authentic" possibilities? Is this something to encourage or discourage in the classroom? 
  • Can/should we (as instructors) use twitter to express our beliefs? What is relationship between "authenticity" and beliefs? 
  • What about our "feelings"--can we express them through twitter? ( this part of the "snark" that Sample Reality discusses?) Does twitter encourage us to express our "outlaw emotions" (Fisher, 69)? What are the benefits and drawbacks of those expressions?
  • On page 74, Fisher discusses the need for spontaneity and intentionality in theory-buliding (especially theory built from/in relation to experience). How do spontaneity and intentionality work within twitter/tweets? How does Orenstein imagine them working? How have we negotiated them in our tweets?
One last set of questions: Is twitter fundamentally flawed? Is it possible to use it subversively and disobediently (in ways that it was never intended) in order to further our feminist goals? How might we use it in tandem with other methods (a both/and instead of either/or model)?

Even more thoughts...

I have been thinking and writing about twitter a lot this semester. Here are a couple of my recent entries:

Queering the Classroom - Feminist Pedagogy Example # 3

In today's discussion section my job was to make sure the students understood what the term queer and queer politics mean as it relates to our class on visual and popular cultural production. I relied on specific passages from Cathy Cohen's article "Punks, Bulldaggers and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential Of Queer Politics" to describe the challenge that Cohen had possed to queer studies scholars and activists. Particularly, I aimed for students to begin to think about queer as a term that has challenged traditional gay and lesbian politics toward a mode of critique that interrogates heteronormativity and other societal normalities that permeate across race, class, gender and sexual orientation. I then made sure that students understood Cohen's argument and her call for the present and future of queer politics. In this class in particular we focus on film, television and cultural production and this week is our week on the current popular media's "obsession" with vampires. I had the students watch a 5-7 minute clips of the HBO show "True Blood" and then had them locate how the show was queering vampires. Overall, the discussion section went great!

However, I believe my act of feminist pedagogy occurred while exploring Cathy Cohen's usage and challenge to queer politics by having my two year old daughter present in both of my discussion sections. Despite the fact that I did not strategically plan to have her their today, I found a way to utilize her presence to further their understanding of the term queer as not limited by the traditional gay and lesbian politics. I talked with them about what types of bodies and engagements they expect to have in the University Classroom and what was not accepted as "normal" and seen as deviant. I also, told them about the few graduate students in the Feminist Studies Department who received bad reviews by students, because at some point in the semester they have had to bring their children to class because of reasons out of their control.

I used my daughter's presence in the classroom as a way to queer the classroom space, disrupt their understandings of what bodies should or should not be engaged in University classrooms and challenge them to think about what types of normative thinking then compels students to believe that by bringing a child to class a teacher is then illegitimate and they should then be policed or reprimanded.

If we are committed to a feminist pedagogy how much of our personal politics should we feel comfortable presenting to the classroom? How important is it to a pedagogy of discomfort is it that we potentially risk our own personal discomfort to challenge the classroom?

Class Notes 11/10

Notes for 11.10.10

• Discussed using blogs in the feminist classroom tips
• We decided the class or small groups of people in the class can create a video to serve as the summary/statement on feminist teaching with social media assignment.
• We also decided that our groups for the Learning Activity Assignment will also be used to fulfill the Blog as a Resource Assignment (due by last day of class time).
• We moved onto the questions starting with the practical question: What is lost without face-to-face interaction?
o While blogs may take us away from our local communities, we become active in a global community
o Social media is not just for the young...many are used more with the 30 plus population
o Only certain types of voices or knowledge are online...a sheltered view
o It is not possible for some people to escape their geographic communities...access is still very much an issue
o Facebook is corporate based while Twitter is open sourced and user based (hash marks)
o Are online identities more honest or dishonest?
• Moved on at end to next question about tracking participation on blogs.
o Credit or grades...Is feedback enough? Who ultimately needs to be satisfied by the instructor's choice?

Theoretical Question for 11/17


After reading the article "I Tweet, Therefore I Am" by Peggy Orenstein the topic of performativity raised some concerns for me. In her article she uses Erving Goffman's definition of performance that states, "...all of life is performance: we act out a role in every interaction, adapting it based on the nature of the relationship or context at hand." If we all are performing, we must be trying to appease our audience and while the audience may change in every interaction, how does this performativity affect our "true" self? In my case, a Chicano that was forced to lose my native tongue and conform to the U.S. mainstream, how is my performance informed by the assimilation that was forced on me? How is performance informed differently for different bodies? Do spaces like Twitter allow for a "true" reflection of ourselves or do we perform there too?

While Joe Johnson's blog entry contains many problematic concepts such as an exoticism of African Americans and a refusal to acknowledge a sense of white male heterosexual privilege, what potentially positive outcomes can exist from following individuals or groups on Twitter that engage in experiences much different than yours? In what ways does Twitter provide a limited outlook and perspective in attempting to interpret the experiences of others? Is Johnson really attempting to understand the experience of this African American woman or simply giving approval of her "performative self" on Twitter? Given the backlash through discussion board comments and other blog entries, in what ways can Twitter provide opportunities to engage in critical discussions of racist and sexist dialogue? In what ways are these discussions often hidden or ignored among other new media discourse? Additionally, based on previous discussions inspired by Malcolm Gladwell and Peggy Orienstein, what barriers exist for Twitter to be viewed as a legitimate source of media and not simply a fad?

Feminist Pedagogy Example #3: A Success!


Sex Pistols, London, 197 .jpg

Today I was in charge of teaching the class I normally TA for. The professor is out of town this week, and we decided at the beginning of the semester that I would pick the readings and 'lecture' for today (though we had already decided the class would revolve around Dick Hebdige's Subculture). Since I'm taking this feminist pedagogies course, I put a lot of thought into planning a class that would not involve me lecturing to the students from a powerpoint, but I also struggled with how to 'plan' a class that I wanted to revolve around an organic discussion of the reading where I was not necessarily searching to get the students to come to specific conclusions.

My process: I re-read what I had assigned, and selected 2 or 3 major points that I felt I wanted the students to come away understanding. This was somewhat easy to do, because it mostly involved thinking through why I had assigned those chapters in the first place. Then I worried a lot that I knew I could get those points into a discussion, but what if the students didn't bring other things to the table? What would we do for the other 60 mins of class? Then I thought long and hard about the kinds of reactions the students might have to the reading (as well as the reactions they posted on the class blog), and how I might push them to keep thinking beyond those initial reactions. I used this train of thought to come up with a list of several questions I could use to provoke more discussion (which isn't that hard if you aren't specifically trying to get anywhere). I also decided that I would begin the class by asking them to discuss in pairs three questions about the reading (questions assigned by areas of the room): what did you like about it? What would you critique about it? What did you learn from it? I used our class blog to post some Wikipedia links and videos as optional material for students to get excited about the material (how often do you get to teach about punk?!), and as a backup location for videos I could show in class if we had time. Finally, I had an idea to dress up for the class (I usually wear jeans, t-shirts, and athletic shoes to sit in as a TA), in order to provide an unmistakable example of how style/commodities are used to communicate in meaningful and not always shallow or coopted ways (one of my three major take-home goals for the lesson).

The class session: At the beginning of class, I had the students discuss the three questions. I started the class off by having a few students tell me what they had discussed, but then instead of continuing to go around the room, I dwelled on a point someone made. I did that because I have noticed trying to go around the room to hear what everyone talked about right away can often create a flat, inauthentic kind of discussion, where everything students are excited to contribute gets put out there, but none of it really gets explored in any depth. My plan was to go back to these discussions if I needed more fodder for our large group discussion (but I never did). The students' comments parlayed naturally and easily with the first thing I wanted to cover. I tried to generate a diagram of our discussion on the board (a suggestion from a friend for making sense of an organic discussion), but wasn't terribly successful. It didn't matter though--we kept dwelling for a bit on one point, slowly switching to something else, and then these new points continued to cover relatively well the few things I wanted to cover. This was helped by the fact that I made 3 slides with the major concepts on them and then a question to push the class to think harder. I think the slides helped focus all of us a little bit, without squashing students' own creative reactions to the reading or providing too much structure or direction. Toward the end of class, I did a little bit more lecturing to make sure that my own thoughts on Hebdige's argument got out there on a particular point about punks' positionality and the political content of their style. This was the reason for my clothing change--to discuss how we all communicate and interact with established semiotic codes via our appearance. I asked if they noticed my clothing and the reaction was great! They had clearly been dying to mention it, and immediately said that my different clothes conveyed power, authority, teaching, and maturity/age.

All in all, I would say this was a huge feminist pedagogical success for me. I felt it was both more feminist in content and in method than I have really been able to attain in the past. I was able to insert a discussion of race, gender, class, and sexuality into a lesson where one could have tried to avoid those things (or just not made them as evident). I also was pretty successful in feeling like I was teaching while not feeling like I was lecturing or that I was the sole carrier of knowledge in the room. I can list a number of things I feel like the students taught me, and I even got them to respond directly to each other a few times. At the same time, I could tell that they were learning and seeing new aspects of the reading through my comments' and others'. I even used our class blog in a new way I hadn't thought of (though I got the idea from one of you all) to post extra material that I could decide on the fly in class whether to show or not. I think in the future I might like to reduce those lecture-y moments even more (they were excellent for my ego, but I think that is probably telling that I should avoid them), but I have learned a tremendous amount about planning for an unplanned discussion.

FemPed Example - Thinking Back

For two years I taught a course titled "Fundamentals of Human Communication" for the university at which I received my Masters. The course is a required for all undergraduates, its sections are taught by Masters students in sections of 30 (each graduate student teaching 3 sections per semester), adjuncts, and in large-lecture/lab formats with 400 students (TAs facilitating the lab portions).

I am often troubled by how ill-equipped I was to address the many ways that this course and its required text were (and are) problematic. I am equally troubled by the fact that this course still serves thousands of students annually, that its text is a best-seller, and that the experience I had as an instructor was not exceptional in personal, local, national, or disciplinary terms.

Many graduate students are faced with their employing-departments' repressive pedagogy, lack of pedagogy, or active dismissal of pedagogy (let alone critical or feminist pedagogies). Here I'd like to briefly contemplate how feminist pedagogical principles may have been helpful to me as I tried to navigate an ocean of oppressive pedagogical practices.

To understand this fully, you may just have to take my word for it (or imagine your own version of my experience) when I say that the text we were required to teach from was uncritical, heterosexist, stifling of difference, and generally only functioned to deliver applied knowledge of communicative practices. I could not -not- use this text, however, because the course's examinations were preset and required (and directly related to the content of the textbook). Furthermore, the evaluative materials in the course came from this text, students had to tear out rubrics from the book, and we had to use those too. Unfortunately this book is one of the best selling intro comm books and is widely used.

I had to require an informative and persuasive speech from each of my students. I think that if I had known more about feminist pedagogies and their principles then, I would have used these speeches as an opportunity to ask students to be critical of the material we'd been working with and to present counter-narratives to those in the text. This way I could have satisfied the expectations of my department and still have managed to reward students in material ways for thinking critically (since they otherwise were only rewarded via points for thinking decidedly uncritically).

I also could have attempted more group activities, asking students to work together to uncover the assumptions within the text as they also produced study guides and developed a small network of support. Perhaps then I would have been able to enable their success on the exams, and provided them with opportunities to prepare, but also used our class time to problematize what we're being told was True and Valuable.

Finally, I wish I had been plain honest with my students more often. Feminist pedagogies often call upon us to articulate our political purposes to ourselves and to our students. Understanding that, then, would have instilled in me a sense of agency that I longed for but did not have access to. Toward the end of my teaching this course I found ways to resist the text, encourage critical dialogue, and still make As on the exams possible. I did not, however, recognize these actions as related to my position as a feminist, or as someone interested in critical pedagogy; I then lacked theory on each. If I had opened up to my students more readily about why/how I hesitated to teach certain "conflict-resolving" methods, "intercultural communication" strategies, and so on, I think we all would have benefited.

Assignment Review

Here's the recap that I promised in class today about the assignments.

1. Learning Activity--this assignment stays the same. Again, here are the due dates:

November 17 Twitter
December 1 Facebook
December 8 Youtube

2. Blog as a resource site.
Here's a recap:

  • Building off of work in Learning Activity group
  • On chosen social media
  • Serving as a learning module about that form of media
  • Up to your group to decide how to create the resource. Possible options could include: links to resources, articles, examples of that form of social media; statement about limits and possibilities of that form of media; key feminist pedagogical concepts that can be connected--explain how/why; parts of syllabus--assignments/readings/techno-mindfulness statement?
  • Must be posted by 12/15. We will discuss in class on final day. 
3. Final Statement (#7 on Course Requirements in Syllabus)
Here's the summary: At the end of the semester, you are expected to post a statement on our blog that includes: 1. a summary of our blog as a resource for feminist pedagogies and 2. your statement on feminist teaching with social media.

You can do this final statement collectively with your group or on your own. You could create a video or a manifesto or whatever else you want to experiment with. The key is to reflect on our blog and how you envision it serving as a resource AND articulate your own philosophy of teaching in relation to social media. This statement is also due on 12/15. 

Day 10: November 10

Today we are continuing our discussion of blogs and feminist pedagogy. I thought we could spend some time in the media lab looking at the "it's diablogical" site and discussing my workshop on blogging tips/strategies/assignments. Here's a breakdown of our class:


  • Slightly revised reading schedule for next week:
17         Feminist Pedagogy and Twitter: Lived Experience, Daily Habits,         
              Authenticity and Sharing

Ped Questions: 

  • one (what is lost in virtual CR?)
  • two (engagement)
Workshop on blogging:
Blog as Resources

open thread for twitter activity group


Hey twitter group,

I thought I would start a thread for posting some places I've seen ideas about how folks use twitter in their classrooms.

Here are some syllabi and ideas I've found on twitter:

@BrianCroxall also just put out a call for uses of twitter in class, so his feed is a good source

Melissa Harris-Perry uses twitter in her class (you may be able to see some examples on her feed)

Practical Question for 11/10


I have never participated in the blogosphere before this class. (I don't regularly visit blogs other than when a friend posts a fb link to a blog they frequent.) Sara Poutinen and Kandace Creel Falcon's essay "Teaching with Blogs and Blogging while Teaching" allowed me to consider the many possibilities of feminist blogging. I was really interested in the idea of engagement. I really liked the idea of "emphasizing feedback, over grading as evaluating." I was very intrigued at this notion that SLP discusses about giving feedback that is not aimed at evaluating or judging the students' performance (18). The footnote on this page directs us to an example of what this might look like. Read it here. I really liked this, because as the authors state if we consider the public nature of blogs (and the vulnerability of participating in them), teachers must develop "more feminist methods for giving feedback" (17).
How can we make sure that our students feel motivated and enthusiastic about engaging not only with the blog, but to have "serious engagements" with one another? What about the "silent or invisible readers"? How do you give them feedback? If blogging is suppose to allow for community building, how can we ensure that the community feels safe enough for everyone to participate and engage? (I'm still thinking about this idea of "authentic self" that we've grappled with...the article talked about feeling "exposed." KCF talks about being hesitant about granting too much access (13) to her students) I like that engagement in blogs offers new and exciting ways for student (and teachers) to develop their writing, but what does busting/blurring binaries between students and teachers mean for students who are still not ready to engage with this "organically?" Blogging is still something i'm getting use to, and although I'm excited about the possibilities for disrupting the notion of "what counts" as academic, how can we work towards making this happen in a way that is exciting and fruitful for all?

Classnotes 11/3


Conversation today orbited around voice, silence, and power, a discussion propelled largely by the Mimi Orner reading, "Interrupting the Calls for Student Voice in 'Liberatory' Education: A Feminist Poststructuralist Perspective" from Feminisms and Critical Pedagogy. I've arranged my notes on the discussion according to how it moved thematically. For instance, Orner early on provides a list of binary oppositions - dualisms (78) such as oppressor/oppressed or voice/silence. Such binaries formed a recurring track of discussion.

Academic alienations

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At an event celebrating a festival where families with children got together to eat traditional food and burst crackers. Men sat down in the living room and discussed politics, economics and in general the state of the world, while women hovered around the kitchen talking about recipes, children's lives and stuff about 'back home' (in India). I was aware about my abnormality of being a single 'girl' pursuing a PhD program: a 'child woman' yet to 'grow up', for I'm truly mature when I have children (and married). Alienated from the conversation that the women are engaged in about their 'private' lives and excluded from the 'intellectual' conversation about the 'public' world, clearly not for women: married or unmarried.

Funny thing this 'privilege' does to women.

Practical Question for 11/10


In "The Personal is Political: Feminist Blogging and Virtual Consciousness-Raising" Kennedy emphasizes the importance of blogs as more inclusionary sites of consciousness-raising as opposed to the CR sessions of the 1960s and 1970s. My question would be what is lost without face to face interaction? How can a sense of community or intimacy be developed in virtual consciousness-raising? Kennedy articulates a similar dilemma at the end of her article that her personal and work schedules have cost her spending less time in her geographical community. I also wonder if this is an acceptable consequence of working on blogs and virtual consciousness-raising. Should there be a component in feminist pedagogical classrooms to teach how to balance offline and online advocacy and investment? What would this look like in classes with limited time and students who hold their personal lives completely separate from their academic lives?

Day 9: November 3

For the next two classes, we will focus our attention on blogs in the feminist classroom. Before we get to that, remember to sign up for a learning activity and a blog resource assignment. You can sign up by commenting on the respective entries. Here's a breakdown of who has signed up so far:

Learning Activity:

Blogs: perhaps we should cut this one?

Twitter: Madison, Meg, Aditi

Facebook: Reina, Brittany, Jacqueline

Youtube: John, Alyssa, Erin, Jenny

Missing: Erika and Danny--make sure to sign up either twitter or facebook.

Blog as Resource:

Syllabus: Brittany, Aditi

Suggested Readings: Jenny, John

Modules: Alyssa

Manifesto/Statement (as video?):

Key Concepts explained (does this fit with modules?):

Many of you still need to sign up. 

Here are some questions that we will be taking up today:


Inspired by arux001's (Aditi's) questions, I am struck by Orner's use of poststructuralism and its effects/affects. For example, she writes:

It seems possibly naive to think that there can be anything like genuine sharing of voices in classroom.

I wonder: Really? What is genuine sharing? Does it have to be essentialist or necessarily require that we ignore/forget/reject how power functions in the classroom?

What does seem possible, on the other hand, is an attempt to recognize the power differentials present and to understand how they impinge upon what is sayable and doable in that specific context (81)?

Is this language (of recognizing power differentials) alienating? Does it move us to struggle? Inspire us to engage? What happens to our sense of community/self/engagement when we reject "sharing" and replace it with "recognizing one's power differentials"? While this question may seem loaded, I am genuinely interested in the limits and possibilities of poststructuralism for feminist praxis. And I am interested in what it might mean to think about sharing and authenticity in relation to (as opposed to in opposition to) poststructural understandings of the subject/self. 

Finally, a return to the question of space--physical, virtual, public, "private", safe, inside/outside of the academy. Here are my questions from last week:

  • How does physical space work in social media? 
  • How can we use our physical spaces (classrooms or "public" spaces) in our efforts to teach with/through social media? 
  • How should we negotiate online/offline spaces? 
  • How do they work against/with each other? Citing Saskia Sassen, Daniels writes: "there is no 'purely digital' or exclusively 'virtual' electronic space; rather the digital is always 'embedded' in the material" (109)--what does this mean/how does this work in relation to social media in the classroom? 
  • What challenges do we face with the physical spaces in which we are assigned to teach? How can we work to overcome those challenges? 
  • What happens to non-verbal communication in social media? What gets lost/gained when we can't "read" each other's body language/gestures?
See you later this afternoon!

Addendum: Just finished my virtual handout for a presentation that I am giving at Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) on Friday (see #5). 

Hmmm....I keep thinking of more things that I want to discuss: 
1. the role of comments on blogs. 
  • What kind of engagement do comments encourage/discourage--productive, counterproductive? 
  • Are there others ways to engage in/with blogs? 
  • Other ways to develop community? Should we monitor comments? If so, what guidelines should we use?
2. Reading blogs/using blogs as (re)sources in class discussion.
  • Does blog reading require different reading skills?
  • How much blog reading is manageable for students (undergrads/grads)?
  • When is having so many links stimulating? When is it just overwhelming?
  • Should blog entries be used as reading sources for students? What are the logistical difficulties of assigning blogs?

blogging, accessibility and video "voices" on the web

This video was recently posted on my facebook page, and I thought I would share. I wondered if it had gotten as much attention as the "so you want to get a job in the humanities" video that made its rounds throughout several social media sites. Here, Sarah Palin and Larry King discuss the upcoming performance Adelina Anthony a self-identified "Xicana-Indígena lesbian multi-disciplinary artista."

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