The Gendering of Art Education: Modernism, Identity, and Critical Feminism

The Gendering of Art Education: Modernism, Identity, and Critical Feminism

The Gendering of Art Education: Modernism, Identity, and Critical Feminism

The Gendering of Art Education: Modernism, Identity, and Critical Feminism


This book traces the main gendered themes of modernist art education from the nineteenth century to the present day.

In the period of industrial modernization, art education emphasised the importance of productive modes of creativity in 'making and doing' and promoted rational 'design processes' productive of masculine identities.

With the decline of industrial production and with the rise in leisure, services and consumption, art education has shifted its relevance to the more feminine skills of flexibility, management, responsiveness and combinatory modes of creativity. The Gendering of Art Education looks at the way art education has always been implicated in producing gendered identities for modernity's gendered divisions of labour.


At the end of the twentieth century it is not a new idea to have a series on feminist educational thinking – feminist perspectives on educational theory, research, policy and practice have made a notable impact on these fields in the final decades of the century. But theory and practice have evolved, and educational and political contexts have changed. In contemporary educational policy debates, economic efficiency rather than social inequality is a key concern; what happens to boys is drawing more interest than what happens to girls; issues about cultural difference interrupt questions about gender; and new forms of theory challenge older frameworks of analysis. This series represents feminist educational thinking as it takes up these developments now.

Feminist educational thinking views the intersection of education and gender through a variety of lenses: it examines schools and universities as sites for the enacting of gender; it explores the ways in which conceptions of gender shape the provision of state-supported education; it highlights the resistances subordinated groups have developed around ideas of knowledge, power and learning; and it seeks to understand the relationship of education to gendered conceptions of citizenship, the family and the economy. Thus feminist educational thinking is fundamentally political; it fuses theory and practice in seeking to understand contemporary education with the aim of building a more just world for women and men. In so doing, it acknowledges the reality of multiple ‘feminisms’ and the intertwining of ethnicity, race and gender.

Feminist educational thinking is influenced both by developments in feminist theory more broadly and by the changing global educational landscape. In terms of theory, both post-structuralist and post-colonial theories have profoundly influenced what is conceived of as ‘feminist’. As is true elsewhere, current feminist educational thinking takes as central the intersecting forces that shape the educational experiences of women and men. This emphasis on the construction and performances of gender through both . . .

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