FEMINIST EPISTEMOLOGIES AND PEDAGOGIES

Ed. St. 6622-001

Autumn 2000

Audrey Thompson
 University of Utah
Class meets in 106 BuC
Tu 4:30 - 7:30
Office: 308C M.B.H.
 Off. hrs: Tu, Th 3:00-4:30 & by appt.
Voicemail: (801) 587-7803
Receptionist: (801) 587-7814
Fax: (801) 587-7801
Mailbox: 307 M.B.H.
email:
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 the course will focus primarily on feminist standpoint theories, it will also look at post-structural and liberal feminist epistemologies. 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 packet is available electronically at 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 15% of the grade; the first short paper represents 20% of the grade; the second short paper (together with the biography handout) represents 25% of the grade; and the final paper is 40% of the 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.

SCHEDULE


Week 1     Introduction: Gender Socialization Theorists’ View of Classroom Dynamics
    29 Aug.

    Large Group Activity: Deconstructing films
    Small Group Activity: Deconstructing textbooks
    Handouts: Deconstructing textbooks, Deconstructing yearbooks

Week 2     Gender Difference Theorists’ Views of Morality and Education
    5 Sept.

Week 3     The Construction of Knowledge as a Feminist Project
    12 Sept. Week 4     Critiques of Universalist, Androcentric Epistemology
    19 Sept.     First short paper due:   What are the major criticisms that feminists have levied against universalistic, androcentric epistemologies? (5 pages)

Week 5     Feminism and Science
    26 Sept.

    Handout on feminist biographies

Week 6     Women’s Life Narratives
    3 Oct.

    Responses to biography handout due/Small group projects

Week 7     Feminist Standpoint Epistemology, Pt. I
    10 Oct.

    Second short paper due:  1) Drawing on Keller, Painter, Yee, Brown, and Torres (where appropriate), as well as any other relevant readings from the course (Davis, for example, might prove useful, as might Lloyd or Jaggar), and 2) focusing on the children’s biography you read for last week (or a different one, if you prefer), 3) discuss how the woman who is the subject of the children’s biography you read is constructed as knower and as known. How are your sense of her and your way of knowing her shaped by such factors as selection of details, proclaimed significance, identified historical context, interpretation of evidence, use of images, organization, coherence, meta-narratives (regarding quest, marriage, individualism, or nationalism, for example), and simplification? (5-6 pages)

Week 8     Feminist Standpoint Epistemology, Pt. II
    17 Oct.

Week 9     Race and Feminist Epistemology
    24 Oct. Week 10     Black Feminist Epistemologies
    31 Oct: Week 11     Divided Selves
    7 Nov: Week 12     Researching Women’s Lives: Feminist Research Methodologies
    14 Nov:     Guest speakers: Sofia Villenas and Dolores Delgado Bernal

Week 13     Post-Structuralism and Feminist Epistemology
    21 Nov:

Week 14     Post-Structural Feminist Pedagogies
    28 Nov: Week 15     Feminist Pedagogies
    5 Dec: Week 16
    12 Dec.
    No class meeting; 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, if pre-arranged). (12-15 pages)

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