Feminist Epistemologies and Pedagogies

Audrey Thompson
ECS 6622/7622-001
University of Utah
Class meets in 130 OSH
Autumn 2006
W 4:35 - 7:35 p.m.
Office: 308C M.B.H.
Off. hrs: Tu 12:00-4:30, W 3:00-4:30 & by appt.
Voicemail: (801) 587-7803
Receptionist: (801) 587-7814
Fax: (801) 587-7801
Mailbox: 307 M.B.H.
web: http://www.pauahtun.org/audrey.html

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to explore feminist epistemologies and their relation to pedagogy. In mainstream, “universal” epistemologies, dichotomies such as that between reason and emotion and that between the public and private spheres serve to legitimate claims regarding objectivity. In problematizing (or rejecting) such dichotomies, feminist approaches to knowledge problematize traditional claims to knowledge. Although a number of feminist theories will be addressed, the course will focus primarily on relational and standpoint theories. Among the questions we will examine will be those concerning objectivity, relational knowledge, situated knowledge, and feminist pedagogy.

Required Texts:

Copies of the required books are on reserve at the Marriott University Library and are available for purchase at the University Bookstore. The readings are available electronically from the Marriott University Library Reserve Desk.

Course Requirements

Requirements for the course are regular attendance and participation; two short papers; and a longer final paper. Attendance and participation represent 20% of the grade; the first short paper represents 20% of the grade; the second short paper represents 20% of the grade; and the final paper is 40% of the grade for the course.

Participation will be graded based on 1) careful and nuanced engagement with the readings (this means both appreciative and critical reading of the texts and learning from the texts rather than simply harnessing them to one’s own pre-existing arguments); 2) thoughtful attention and listening to others, as manifested in how one takes up and works with the contributions of others; 3) respectful forms of address and conduct (e.g., do not dominate discussion or monopolize the floor; do not expect your own questions always to be central; avoid lecturing others. Ordinary courtesy is assumed: please do not leave your cell phone on in class or read instead of listening to others); and 4) careful, well informed contributions to class discussion that thoughtfully take account of others’ contributions. Please make every effort not to be late or absent. More than two absences will affect your grade for the course.

The two short papers are to focus on an assigned theme in the readings. For the final paper, students will be asked to address the implications of feminist epistemology for feminist pedagogy. While the short papers will focus on three or four readings, the final paper is expected to draw on a much wider distribution of readings. The final paper should be about 12-15 pages in length. All papers are to be typed, double-spaced, and have one-inch margins (for comments). References should be in the format that the student would be most likely to use in a published paper or a thesis.


Week 1                             Introduction:  Gender Oppression

Wed. 23 Aug.

Handouts for in-class reading:

Week 2                            Oppression

Wed. 30 Aug.

Week 3                            Intersectionalities of Gender, Race, and Sexuality

Wed. 6 Sept.

Week 4                            Standpoint Theories: Gender, Class, Race

Wed. 13 Sept.

Week 5                            Feminism and the Disciplines

Wed. 20 Sept.

First short paper due: Choosing a particular (carefully limited!) topic, discuss a feminist alternative or a feminist challenge to universalistic, androcentric knowledge claims. (5 pages)

Week 6                            The Politics of Maternalism

Wed. 27 Sept.

Week 7                            Feminism and Spirituality

Wed. 4 Oct.

Week 8                            Performing Ignorance

Process Drama with Professor David Dynak, Theatre Education

Wed. 11 Oct.

Week 9                            Learning across Difference

Wed. 18 Oct.

Second short paper due: 1) Drawing on at least 3 of the readings, offer a feminist analysis of a significant passage from a written text of your choice (this could be a textbook, a classic in philosophy of education, a memoir, or any number of other texts). (5 pages)

Week 10                            The Authority of Experience

Wed. 25 Oct.

Week 11                            Class does not meet; class will be rescheduled on Saturday 11 Nov.

Wed. 1 Nov.

Week 12a                            Identity and Essences

Wed. 8 Nov.

Week 12b                            Multiplicity and Mestizaje

Saturday 11 Nov. from 1:00-3:30 p.m.

Week 13                            Positionality and Relationality

Wed. 15 Nov.

Week 14                            Listening and Responsibility

Wed. 22 Nov.

Thesis statement and outline for final paper due.

Week 15                            Feminist Pedagogies

Wed. 29 Nov.

Week 16                            Gender and the Schools

Wed. 6 Dec.

Week 17                            No class meeting: final papers due

Wed. 13 Dec.

Final paper due (by 6 p.m.) in lieu of exam. This paper should focus on the implications of feminist epistemology for curriculum and pedagogy (or it may address some other topic in feminism and education, if the topic is pre-arranged). (12-15 pages)

Count by Muhammad Muquit

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