The challenges of establishing a feminist ethos in the composition classroom stories from large research universities

Shelly Whitfield, Veronica Pantoja, Duane Roen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Drawing on our experiences in composition classrooms and programs at large research universities, we describe some of the challenges facing a teacher striving to establish a feminist ethos in a composition classroom. Part of the struggle can be internal to the individual teacher-one in which conflicting Bakhtinian voices compete with one another. An internalized svoj ("one's own word, one's own world view"-Dialogic Imagination 427) dialogues with an internalized cuzoj ("the word or world view of another"). To exemplify such struggles, we offer the narrative of a teacher whose feminist academic work contrasts with the subject positions of some of her students. We examine some of the fractures that emerge as a result. However, such struggles are as varied as the individuals and sites in which they are enacted. Frequently, the struggle between svoj and cuzoj is more public, and here we reflect on the narratives of some young, usually female teachers who enter the classroom to find voices that are skeptical of or openly hostile to a feminist ethos. Negotiating these hostilities is neither simple nor easy, even for the most experienced teachers. Although we draw on a range of sources and our own professional experiences, we weave these voices and events within a case study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFractured Feminisms
Subtitle of host publicationRhetoric, Context, and Contestation
PublisherState University of New York Press
Pages131-142
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)0791458016, 9780791458013
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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