Worcester State University

 

Women’s Studies Abstracts


CONFLICT AND CONVERSATION: FEMINIST PEDAGOGY IN TEACHING AND LEARNING SOCIAL JUSTICE

Andrea Dottolo, Ph.D., Sandra McEvoy, Ph.D., Lori Dawson, Ph.D., and Champika K. Soysa, Ph.D.

This symposium explores issues of social justice in the classroom. Panelists address how they use interdisciplinary theory and method in the classroom. Presenters describe pedagogical strategies that infuse social justice into course content and class assignments and activities intended to encourage consciousness-raising and dialogue. Presentations include: A self-censoring assignment about sexuality and homophobia, a classroom simulation about war and conflict, service learning in studying violence against women, and examinations of power in teaching about therapist-client relationships. Panelists reflect upon the importance of incorporating feminist values in their teaching, mentoring and collaboration.

 

THE APPROPRIATION OF WORLD WAR II AS DECOLONIZING STRATEGY IN ZADIE SMITH’S WHITE TEETH AND ANDREA LEVY’S SMALL ISLAND

Josna Rege, Ph.D.

Two recent novels by black British women, both daughters of Jamaican immigrants, have enjoyed tremendous popular success: White Teeth (2000) by Zadie Smith and Small Island (2004) by Andrea Levy. Both created white and black British main characters, both reached back in time and place to tell the stories of their parents’ generation, and both featured the experience of World War II, shared across racial lines. This paper discusses the postcolonial appropriation of World War II as a key factor in each novel’s success across race, class, gender, and generation in contemporary Britain.

PEDAGOGICAL TIPS FOR TEACHING ON DIFFICULT SUBJECT AREAS IN PSYCHOLOGY

Beth Russell, Ph.D., Champika K. Soysa, Ph.D., and Marc J. Wagoner, Ph.D.

This symposium presents a collection of suggestions for teaching across a range of topics often experienced as challenging. As is the case for many of the social sciences, Psychology classrooms often cover material that has personal meaning - in many cases these personal experiences strengthen the learning process by providing personal meaning to the topic at hand. There are, however, sets of topics where personal experience may be negative and powerful enough to interfere with pedagogical goals. The goal of this symposium is to provide instructors with techniques for approaching these topics.

 

TEACHING PREVENTION ON SENSITIVE TOPICS: KEY ELEMENTS AND PEDAGOGICAL TECHNIQUES. JOURNAL OF PRIMARY PREVENTION, 29(5), 413-433, 2008.

Beth Russell, Ph.D., Champika K. Soysa, Ph.D., Marc J. Wagoner, Ph.D., and Lori J. Dawson, Ph.D.

The goal of this paper is to present a set of topical and pedagogical considerations for instructors teaching material on sensitive topics with either the primary or secondary aim of addressing prevention. Prevention can be approached as an effort to create changes in an individual’s attitudes/beliefs, knowledge, and behavior. Following this framework, classroom content that goes beyond providing information to challenge students’ perceptions, preconceived notions, and attitudes can be seen as preventive in nature. Preparing students to work through the same layers of complexity that thoroughly trained and experienced researchers and practitioners struggle with requires particular attention to classroom environment.

 

WONDERFUL PHILOSOPHIES OF MARY SEACOLE

Kristin Waters, Ph.D.

Accepted for publication (Vol. 12:2 August, 2009) in Philosophia Africana. Mary Seacole’s 1858 memoir, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Strange Lands is an illuminating recollection of her life that reveals sophisticated observations about race, gender, class, and nation. This paper explores five different accounts of which Seacole is, examined in relation to a set of metaphysical positions: realism, materialist constructivism, and relativism. This essay demonstrates the importance of objectivist metaphysics and argues that Seacole was one of the early writers to explicitly explore the power of objectivist constructivism against racial realism. In the process, the reader learns more about Mary Seacole, the Jamaican hotelier and healer, and also about the ontologies of race.

 

NEO-BAROQUE SPECTACLE AND THE FEMALE BODY IN THE WORK OF JENNY SAVILLE, LISA YUSKAVAGE, AND JOHN CURRIN

Catherine Wilcox-Titus, Ph.D.

This chapter examines the work of three very successful contemporary figurative painters, Jenny Saville, Lisa Yuskavage, and John Currin, whose paintings depict women with bizarrely exaggerated features. Saville’s women are morbidly obese, Yuskavage’s girl/women have exaggerated kewpie doll features, and Currin’s women have gigantic breasts. These painters seem to express contemporary anxieties about women’s bodies. My essay looks for connections between the earlier Baroque period of the seventeenth-century, typified by a preoccupation with the expansive, fleshy women of Rubens and Tiepolo, and our own. Both eras seem to mark the summation and end point of grand ideals and high aspirations. The essay is from the book, Baroque Tendencies in Contemporary Art, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008.

 
 
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