Academic journal article Canadian Woman Studies

Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education: Critical Theory and Practice

Academic journal article Canadian Woman Studies

Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education: Critical Theory and Practice

Article excerpt


Tracy Penny Light, Jane Nicholas, Renee Bondy, Eds.

Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2015

Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education: Critical Theory and Practice, edited by Tracy Penny Light, Jane Nicholas, and Renee Bondy, brings together educators working within a range of academic disciplines in higher education to reflect on feminist pedagogy in the classroom. The book consists of a short introduction followed by 15 chapters written by educators in disciplines ranging from Women and Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, Education, English, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Marriage and Family Studies, and Sociology. The editors note that the collection is rooted in feminist praxis, in contrast to traditional divisions between theory and practice and as a result, all chapters provide critical theorizations and reflections on classroom strategies and offer practical tools for educators. A few themes encompass the collection as it relates to feminist pedagogy including neoliberalism in higher education, reflexivity, and teaching praxis and strategies.

First, the theme of neoliberalism in higher education emerges in Llewellyn and Llewellyn as they discuss restorative approaches to university education that challenge neoliberal models, while Silva Flores examines feminist pedagogy within higher education in the United Kingdom under new neoliberal reforms. Finally, Briskin reflects on the use of activist feminist pedagogies in her classrooms to advocate for social justice within the neoliberal university.

Reflexivity emerges as a theme in the collection through Nicholas and Baroud's chapter as they reflect on and challenge the ways in which educators frequently conceptualize "students these days." In addition, De Santis and Serafini consider their use of dialogue and critical self-reflection as part of their feminist pedagogy in a practicum course, while Dorney reflects on teaching a course on women and anger. Thinking through bodies in the classroom, Gullage explores fatness and feminist pedagogy through a reflection on three interactions with students, while Labinski's closing chapter reflects on the uses of sex in the Women's Studies classroom.

Finally, many of the authors discuss their own teaching praxis and provide feminist pedagogical strategies. The ideas provided are varied, for example Bondy discusses her use of a book club in her Women and Friendship course, while Srigley provides an examination of her practices on indigenizing the first-year Canadian history classroom, offering approaches to the teaching context, curriculum, and modes of evaluation.

The importance of narrative methodologies and strategies is also significant in this collection as Gotlib explores the possibilities of bringing narrative methodologies into the medical ethics classroom, while Iverson engages with imagination-intellect in the classroom using creative tools such as music, art-making, and personal narrative performance. …

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