Teaching Introduction to Women's Studies

Expectations and Strategies

by Barbara Scott Winkler, co-ed., Carolyn DiPalma

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Cover image for Teaching Introduction to Women's Studies

October 1999


Pages 288
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Current Events and Issues/Education
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This edited collection addresses the institutional context and social issues in which teaching the women's studies introductory course is embedded and provides readers with practical classroom strategies to meet the challenges raised. The collection serves as a resource and preparatory text for all teachers of the course including experienced teachers, less experienced teachers, new faculty, and graduate student teaching assistants. The collection will also be of interest to educational scholars of feminist and progressive pedagogies and all teachers interested in innovative practices.

The contributors discuss the larger political context in which the course has become a central representative of women's studies to a growing, although less feminist-identified, population. Increased enrollments and changes in student population are noted as a result, in part, of the popularity of Introduction to Women's Studies courses in fulfilling GED and diversity requirements. New forms of student resistance in a climate of backlash and changes in course content in response to internal and external challenges are also discussed. Evidence is provided for an emerging paradigm in the conceptualization of the introductory course as a result of challenges to racism, heterosexism, and classism in women's studies voiced by women of color and others in the 1980s and 1990s. Sensationalist charges that women's studies teachers, including those who teach the Introduction to Women's Studies course, are the academic shock troops of a monolithic feminism are challenged and refuted by the collection's contributors who share their struggles to make possible classrooms in which informed dialogue and disagreement are valued.

Table of Contents

ForewordIntroductionThe Introductory Course: A Voice from the Broader Field of Women's Studies by Barbara Scott Winkler and Carolyn DiPalmaOverviews/ResourcesThe Ideologue, the Pervert, and the Nurturer, or Negotiating Student Perceptions in Teaching Introductory Women's Studies Courses by Vivian M. MayConceptualizing the Introduction to Women's Studies Courses at the Community College by Karen BojarReading Women's Lives: A New Database Resource for Teaching Introduction to Women's Studies by Mary Margaret Fonow with Lucy BaileyTheorizing ExpectationsBorder Zones: Identification, Resistance, and Transgressive Teaching in Introductory Women's Studies Courses by Katherine Ann RhoadesRevisiting the "Men Problem" in Introductory Women's Studies Classes by Glyn Hughes"Is This Course Just About Opinions or What?" Scripted Questions as Indicators of Group Development in an Introduction to Women's Studies Class by Toni C. KingStudents' Fear of Lesbianism by Margaret Duncombe"When I Look at You, I Don't See Race" and Other Diverse Tales from the Introduction to Women's Studies Classroom by Lisa BowlegInter-Racial Teaching Teams, Anti-Racism, and the Politics of White Resistance: Teaching Introduction to Women's Studies at a Predominantly White Research Institution by Audre Jean Brokes and France Winddance TwineFeminism in the Field of Local Knowledge: Decolonizing Subjectivities in Hawaii by Kathleen O. KaneApplying StrategiesCybergrrrl Education and Virtual Feminism: Using the Internet to Teach Introductory Women's Studies by Martha McCaughey and Carol J. BurgerWebbed Women: Information Technology in the Introduction to Women's Studies Classroom by Maria Pramaggiore with Beth HardinReading GlamourMagazine: The Production of "Woman" by Stacy WolfMY FATHER'S WASP: Spelling the Dimensions of Difference by Helen M. BannanEncouraging Feminism: Teaching The Handmaid's Tale in the Introductory Women's Studies Classroom by Lisa M. LoganThe Outrageous Act as Gender Busting: An Experiential Challenge to Gender Roles by Sandra D. Shattuck, Judith McDaniel, and Judy Nolte TempleOutrageous/Liberating Acts: Putting Feminism into Practice by Ann Mussey and Ann KesselmanConclusion: Undoing Our HabitsWhen Things Fall Apart by Jane A. RinehartReferencesIndex



If you want to know what instructors of introductory courses are doing ^ITeaching Introduction to Women's Studies^R.—NWSA Journal

...adds to the discourse that is creating our community of women's studies, individuals who share some commonality of history, expectations and continuing challenges, especially the persistent question of the meaning of learning and teaching about women and gender.—Association for Middle East Women's Studies


A thorough introduction to the teaching of Women's Studies in the contemporary academy, Winkler and DiPalma's edited book is actually much much more: it documents the vivacity of women's studies as multiple feminisms approach the new millennium, richness of content, the diversity of pedagogy, and especially the interdisciplinary nature of course offerings. As a professional educator and feminist philosopher of education, I am particularly delighted by the inclusionary portrayal of the field of women's studies: so many of us share common sources, struggles, strategies and, as exemplified herein, surely success as well.—Lynda Stone^LUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill^LEditor, ^IThe Education Feminism Reader^R

The essays in this highly readable volume are filled with specific teaching strategies, course content recommendations, and thoughtful examinations of the challenges that surface when teaching women's studies. An important resource for both experienced and first time teachers, it would be impossible to read these essays and not come away with new ideas as well as renewed excitement about the value and variety of feminist pedagogy.—Paula Rothenberg^LThe New Jersey Project on Inclusive Scholarship, Curriculum, and Teaching^LWilliam Paterson University^LWayne, New Jersey

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