A Question of Discipline: Pedagogy, Power, and the Teaching of Cultural Studies

By Joyce E. Canaan; Debbie Epstein | Go to book overview

6
Mediating Desire: Visual
Representation, Power, and
Informed Consent in Teaching
Feminist Cultural Studies

Mimi Orner

On January 19, 1994, University of Iowa President Hunter Rawlings and the University of Iowa Board of Regents approved a policy stating that students must be warned in advance of the use in classrooms of any 'unusual and unexpected class presentations or materials' ( Leatherman 1993: A22). The board acted after two students complained about having to watch films representing 'non-heterosexual lifestyles', such as the critically acclaimed Taxi zum Klo and Paris Is Burning. The policy does not directly limit what an instructor may teach, but it does require instructors to warn students before presenting materials -- 'graphic, still photo, motion film form, or otherwise' -- that include 'explicit representations of human sexual acts that could reasonably be expected to be offensive to some students' ( Leatherman 1993: A22). In addition, instructors must allow students to excuse themselves from those classes without penalty and either complete an alternative assignment or drop the course.

The controversies at Iowa captured attention as graduate students protested the board's action by showing these films during the Canned Film Festival. In what follows, I explore the implications for Cultural Studies teaching and my own classroom practice of policies such as the one adopted by the University of Iowa administration. I look closely at this policy and at a curious document entitled 'Consent Form for Courses Using Sexually Explicit Material' ( 1993), which was available through the Women's Studies List on the Internet. The University of Iowa's administrative response to 'sexually explicit material' is very similar to the position represented by the Women's Studies List Consent Form. I argue that

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A Question of Discipline: Pedagogy, Power, and the Teaching of Cultural Studies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1 - Questions of Discipline/ Disciplining Cultural Studies 1
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • 2 - Theory, Area Studies, Cultural Studies: Issues of Pedagogy in Multiculturalism 11
  • Notes 23
  • References 25
  • 3 - Doing Cultural Studies in Colleges of Education 27
  • Notes 39
  • References 40
  • 4 - Teaching Without Guarantees: Cultural Studies, Pedagogy, and Identity 42
  • Notes 69
  • References 71
  • 5 - 'It Ain't like Any Other Teaching': Some Versions of Teaching Cultural Studies 74
  • Notes 93
  • References 95
  • 6 - Mediating Desire: Visual Representation, Power, and Informed Consent in Teaching Feminist Cultural Studies 97
  • Notes 115
  • References 115
  • 7 - Teaching/Cultural Studies (or Pedagogy for 'World'-Travellers/ 'World'-Travelling Pedagogy) 117
  • Notes 128
  • References 128
  • 8 - Mirrors, Paintings, and Romances 131
  • Notes 151
  • References 154
  • 9 - Examining the Examination: Tracing the Effects of Pedagogic Authority on Cultural Studies Lecturers and Students 157
  • Notes 175
  • References 177
  • 10 - The Voice of Authority: on Lecturing in Cultural Studies 178
  • Notes 189
  • References 191
  • 11 - All Roads Lead to . . . Problems with Discipline 192
  • Notes 201
  • References 203
  • About the Book and Editors 205
  • About the Contributors 206
  • Index 208
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