Feminist Academics: Creative Agents for Change

Feminist Academics: Creative Agents for Change

Feminist Academics: Creative Agents for Change

Feminist Academics: Creative Agents for Change

Synopsis

This text brings together leading feminists who explore questions of feminist interventions in organisations of knowledge production, covering both the structure and culture of academic institutions and the social divisions between women. Feminism is located as a force for change, empowering women to gain a political understanding and providing a methodology for new approaches to teaching, learning, research and writing in the academy. Contributions demonstrate how an analysis of the micropolitics of the academy in terms of power, policies, discourses, pedagogy and interpersonal relationships provides a framework for de- privatising women's experience and influencing change. Using theoretical constructs and their own biographies and experience, the contributors present predicaments, inequalities and strategies. Power and influence are considered in conjunction with gender, 'race', social class and sexuality.

Excerpt

Louise Morley and Val Walsh

This book discusses feminist interventions in dominant organizations of knowledge production. As a feminist anthology, it attempts to be both a political and strategic act, bringing authors together through a shared commitment and purpose. In this it breaks the primary taboo of women being seen together, especially women congregating with intent. Feminisms are located as creative energy for change and critique, empowering women to apply political understanding to methodologies for teaching, learning, research and writing in the academy. Contributors demonstrate how feminist analysis of the micropolitics of the academy in terms of power, policies, discourses, curriculum, pedagogy and intra- and interpersonal relationships, provides a framework for deprivatizing women’s experiences and influencing change. Academic feminism is also problematized and deconstructed, particularly in relation to the linkage of the two terms. For many, academic feminism is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron (Elam, 1994), selling out feminists’ commitment to everyday praxis. Yet, on the other hand, academic feminism is also frequently viewed by the establishment as being insufficiently academic. Using theoretical constructs, our own biographies and experience, as impetus, example and frame, women map present predicaments and inequalities, and identify sites and opportunities for strategic interventions. We notice the transformative possibilities of feminism as an oppositional discourse whilst acknowledging that all experience is mediated by a discourse. As multi-dimensional actors, feminist academics are conceptualized as innovative rather than reactive, creating optimism about the permeation and permanence of change. Feminist process acts as both politics and self-care.

As agents for change, feminist academics frequent a territory in which micro and macro processes are analytically related. The chapters are set against a backdrop of major educational reform, particularly in the UK, and the rise of New Right policies and practices. The transition from welfare to market values and the socioeconomic climate of recession, have resulted in a new economy of power (Ball, 1994). Now that the methods of managerial capitalism are entering and reshaping the academy, academics are beginning to experience . . .

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