Course Syllabus

GWSS 5103       Fall 2010       Wed 4-6:30       FORD 400

Blog Address:
Twitter: @femped2010

Instructor: Dr. Sara L. Puotinen
Office Hours: TUES 12:45-2:00, WED 3:00-4:00 and by appointment
Office Location: FORD 444


What are feminist pedagogies? How do we practice them? What class exercises or assignments help to promote critical consciousness about social injustice in its many forms? How do we connect theory with practice (both inside and outside of the classroom)? How can we use social media to further our feminist pedagogical goals? What are the limits and possibilities of social media for cultivating feminist classrooms and feminist teachers and students? And for extending learning/critical thinking/activism beyond the classroom?

These are only some of the questions that we will critically explore in this seminar on feminist pedagogies and social media. Approaching these (and other) questions theoretically and practically, we will study feminist, multicultural and radical theories of education and develop practical strategies for empowering students and teachers (and students-as-teachers and teachers-as-students) to be critical, transgressive and transformative thinkers.

While this class is not exclusively about social media, we will devote considerable attention to bringing feminist pedagogical theories to bear on social media, such as blogs, twitter, facebook and youtube. We will also spend a lot of time engaging with social media through our course blog, twitter feed and class assignments.


  • To critically analyze the theories and practices of feminist, multicultural and radical pedagogies To experiment with online new media as tools for feminist pedagogies 
  • To cultivate a community of learners, both inside the classroom and on our blog 
  • To engage in cooperative learning through peer evaluations of teaching exercises 
  • To collectively develop an online resource for feminist pedagogies across the disciplines 
  • To twist, disrupt, play with, and bust the binaries that rigidly define our understandings and experiences of teaching and learning (binaries like: offline/online, teacher/student, active/passive, university/real world, theory/practice)


This course is a graduate seminar. While I will occasionally give lectures, the focus of our seminar will be on discussion and cooperative learning. We will regularly incorporate our online blog/twitter discussions into our offline class sessions.

Here is the format for most sessions:

  • First, we will begin the class by discussing the pedagogical questions*
  • Second, we will discuss the readings and the theoretical topic of the day
  • Third, we will focus on practical strategies for teaching. On some days this third section will include group presentations (and implementations) of a learning activity/practical exercise**

*Each session will begin with a wrap-up discussion of pedagogical questions that are first raised by several students on our course blog. For more on this assignment see below, under course requirements.

**As part of your teaching strategies grade, you will develop (with a group of 2-4 other students) a learning activity or practical exercise that utilizes feminist pedagogical theories/strategies/techniques. Your learning activity must be designed for and/or implemented on one of the four social media we are analyzing: blogs, twitter, facebook or youtube. A more detailed handout and sign-up sheet will be distributed in the next couple of weeks.


1. Teaching Strategies/Lessons Assignments: 150 points
You and your group (2-4 other people) will develop and implement a brief learning activity or practical exercise connected to one form of social media. A handout on this assignment will be posted on our blog in the next few weeks.

2. Blog Participation: 200 points
You are expected to actively participate on our course blog. In addition to posting your 2 pedagogical questions on our blog (worth 20 points each), you should post 4 examples of feminist pedagogy (15 points each) and 10 responses to others' posts (either as new entries or comments on other class members' entries) over the course of the semester (worth 10 points each). A handout on this assignment will be posted prior to the second week of class. We will discuss blogs and this blogging assignment during the second week of class.

A note about pedagogical questions: Over the course of the semester you are required to post two pedagogical questions related to feminist pedagogies/social media. One of these questions should be more practical (that is, related to the practice of feminist pedagogies). The other question should be more theoretical (that is, connected to and critically reflecting on our course readings). In the second week of class, you will sign up for the weeks you would like to post. Your question should be posted by Sunday at 12 PM in order to give other students time to read and respond. Your question should be limited to 200 words or less. Why 200 words or less? Check out what I wrote about this question and how I practiced it on my trouble blog. 

3. Class Notes: 75 points

You are required to take notes for one class session and post them on our course blog. Do not simply post a transcript of our discussion. Instead, try to be creative in your presentation of these notes. Spend some time thinking about how to summarize, organize, and synthesize the key points of our discussion. The purpose of your notes is to document and archive our discussion and the process of critically and creatively engaging with the authors and their ideas for your chosen week from your perspective. Your notes do not have to be comprehensive, so focus your energy on answering this question: What do I want to remember from this discussion? (Instead of this question: What all was said/discussed?)

Note: Another possible option for this assignment is to live tweet our class. Instead of taking notes and posting them later, you would be responsible for tweeting thoughts, questions, comments and/or reactions to this class as it was happening. I have never tried this but would enjoy seeing it action, so let me know if you want to try it. 

4. Class Participation: 125 points
You should attend class regularly and contribute to class discussions offline and online. Active engagement is crucial as we experiment with new technologies and how to bring them into conversation with feminist pedagogical theories and practices. 

5. Twitter: 100 points  You are expected to engage regularly with our twitter account (@femped2010) and our twitter feed. In concert with our blog, we will be experimenting with this popular microblogging platform. Over the course of the semester, you should do (at least) 10 tweets related to the class (10 points each). A handout on this assignment will be posted on our blog soon. We will discuss twitter and this twitter assignment during the second week of class.

6. Collaborative Blog Resource Project: 200 points
You are expected to contribute to our feminist pedagogies resource project. As a class, we will collaborate on developing our course blog as a resource site for feminist pedagogies. This public resource site will enable us to practice feminist pedagogy as we learn about and engage with it in its many forms. During the first few weeks of class, we will collaboratively determine (offline and online) our plan for this project (this will include developing and divvying up assignments).

7. Summary/Statement on feminist teaching with social media: 150 points
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. More information about this assignment will be posted and discussed later in the semester.

note: Once I post the details for each assignment on our blog, I will make the title of each assignment (e.g.: Blog Participation) a link to those details.


A achievement outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements
B achievement significantly above that level necessary to meet course requirements
C achievement meeting the basic course requirements in every respect
D achievement worthy of credit even though it does not meet the basic requirements
F performance failing to meet the basic course requirements
S equivalent to a grade of C or better


In this course, we will experiment with online technologies as a way to engage in feminist praxis. Two key words here: experiment and praxis. While we will devote some serious attention to learning the basics of how to use social media (especially blogging and twitter), our main focus will be on experimenting with these technologies by bringing them into conversation with feminist pedagogies and by pushing at their limits and using them in (sometimes) unexpected ways. The purpose of this experimenting is to critically reflect on feminist pedagogy and social media, while simultaneously engaging in practices of them (praxis). Another purpose of our experiments is to have fun, to be inspired, and to find ways to engage with technology in productive (effective, critical and creative) ways inside and outside of the feminist classroom. 

This class requires that you spend considerable time on our course blog and following our twitter feed each week. This time is not intended to be merely in addition to other readings/assignments, but a central part of our critical exploration of feminist pedagogy. 


Academic Dishonesty
This includes cheating on assignments, plagiarizing (misrepresenting as your own work any work that has been written by another author), and submitting the same paper or substantially similar paper to meet the requirements of more than one course without the approval of all the instructors concerned. I will report such dishonesty. It is grounds for failure in the course.

Disability Services
Students with disabilities who require accommodations in meeting course requirements should meet with me as early as possible in the term. Class materials, including this syllabus, can be made available in alternative formats upon request. In order to receive accommodations, you must register with disability services first. 

Non-native English Speakers and Writers
If you need some extra assistance with the reading and writing assignments, please contact me early in the term.

U of M Harassment Policy
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Books (available at the U of M bookstore)
Fisher, Berenice Malka. No Angel in the Classroom (NA)
hooks, bell. Teaching to Transgress (TT)
Kumashiro, Kevin. Troubling Education (TE)
Adams. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (OPTIONAL)

Readings (available on WebCT* or our blog**)
*Access WebCT through MyU. Click on MyCourses and then GWSS 5103. Log in and then click on our class again. The readings will be organized under the week will be reading them and should show up on the front page of our course site.
**Readings posted on our blog will appear in the link section under "readings." The link section is located near the end of the far right column

Additional Readings?
If there is a reading that you would like to include, please let me know


The following reading schedule is subject to change. In fact, more than likely, this schedule will change at least once this semester. I will announce any changes on this post, in class and on twitter.
Books (available at the U of M bookstore)
Fisher, Berenice Malka. No Angel in the Classroom (NA)
hooks, bell. 
Teaching to Transgress (TT)
Kumashiro, Kevin. 
Adams. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice (OPTIONAL)

Readings (available on WebCT* or our blog**)
*Access WebCT through MyU. Click on MyCourses and then GWSS 5103. Log in and then click on our class again. The readings will be organized under the week will be reading them and should show up on the front page of our course site. 
**Readings posted on our blog will appear in the link section under "readings." The link section is located near the end of the far right column.

Additional Readings?

If there is a reading that you would like to include, please let me know.


8          Introduction to the class

15        Teaching with Online Technologies, part one



22         What are Feminist Pedagogies? part one


  • Shrewsbery, Carol M. "What is Feminist Pedagogy?" (WebVista)
  • Fisher, Berenice Malka. "Introduction" and "Ch 1: What is Feminist Pedagogy?" (NA)
  • Omolade, Barbara. "A Black Feminist Pedagogy" (WebVista)
  • Mahler, Freda. "Twisted Privileges" (WebVista)

29         What are Feminist Pedagogies? part two


  • Elenes, C. Alejandra. "Transformando Fronteras. Chicana Feminist Transformative Pedagogies"  (WebVista)
  • Keating, AnaLouise. Excerpts from Teaching Transformation (WebVista)
  • Boler, Megan. "A Pedagogy of Discomfort" (WebVista)


6          Feminist Pedagogy and Critical Pedagogy


  • Ellsworth, Elizabeth. "Why Doesn't this Feel Empowering?" in Feminism and Critical Pedagogy" (WebVista)
  • Torres, Edén. "Wisdom and Weakness" (WebVista)
  • Anderson, Robert C. "Teaching (with) Disability: Pedagogies of Lived Experience" (WebVista)
  • Freire, Paulo. Excerpts from Pedagogy of the Oppressed and Learning to Question (WebVista)
13         Feminist Pedagogy as Critical Pedagogy: bell hooks 

  • hooks, bell. Teaching to Transgress (TT)
  • Davidson, Guadalupe and George Yancy. "Introduction" in Critical Perspectives on bell hooks (WebVista)
20         Troubling/Troublemaking as Feminist Critical Pedagogy 

  • Kumashiro, Kevin. Troubling Education (TE
Feminist Pedagogy and New Media 

27         Teaching with Online Technologies, part two 

  • Herbst, Claudia. "Masters of the House: Literacy and the Claiming of Space on the Internet" (WebVista)
  • Gordon, Eric and David Bogen. "Designing Choreographies for the 'New Economy of Attention'" (WebVista)
  • Kellner, Douglas and Jeff Share. "Critical Media Literacy, Democracy, and the Reconstruction of Education" (WebVista)
  • Daniels, Jessie. "Rethinking Cyberfeminism(s): Race, Gender, and Embodiment" (WebVista)
  • Musto, Jennifer Lynne. "Techno-Mindfulness and Critical Pedagogic Praxis in Third Wave Feminist Classroom Spaces" (WebVista)

3           Feminist Pedagogy and Blogging, part one: Voice and Self-expression

10          Feminist Pedagogy and Blogging, part two:  Being Diablogical

17         Feminist Pedagogy and Twitter: Lived Experience, Daily Habits,         
              Authenticity and Sharing

24          No Class: Thanksgiving


1            Feminist Pedagogy and Facebook: Vulnerability, Privacy, Community

8           Feminist Pedagogy and Youtube: More Talking Back and Making Trouble

  • Feminist Collections. Youtube Round-up (WebVista)
  • Kellner, Douglas and Gooyong Kim. "Youtube, Critical Pedagogy and Media Activism" (WebVista)
  • Dubisar, Abby M. and Jason Palmer. "Palin/Pathos/Peter Griffin: Political Video Remix and Composition Pedagogy" (WebVista)
  • VideoANT 
15         Final Class: Wrap-up 

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