The Feminist Classroom

Dynamics of Gender, Race, and Privilege

By (author) Frances A. Maher, Mary Kay Thompson Tetreault

Publication date:

11 April 2001

Length of book:

336 pages

Publisher

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780742509962

The issues explored in The Feminist Classroom are as timely and controversial today as they were when the book first appeared six years ago. This expanded edition offers new material that rereads and updates previous chapters, including a major new chapter on the role of race. The authors offer specific new classroom examples of how assumptions of privilege, specifically the workings of unacknowledged whiteness, shape classroom discourses. This edition also goes beyond the classroom, to examine the present context of American higher education. Drawing on in-depth interviews and using the actual words of students and teachers, the authors take the reader into classrooms at six colleges and universities - Lewis and Clark College, Wheaton College, the University of Arizona, Towson State University, Spelman College, and San Francisco State University. The result is an intimate view of the pedagogical approaches of seventeen feminist college professors. Feminist scholars have demonstrated that American higher education has long represented a white, male, privileged minority. The professors here bring together the twin upheavals that have challenged this tradition: namely a rapidly changing student body and the more inclusive knowledge of feminist and multicultural scholarship. They uncover the voices, concerns and experiences of groups hitherto marginalized in higher education: women, people of color and working class students. Through concrete examples of classroom practice, the work of these professors challenge the traditional split between knowledge and pedagogy that has long characterized higher education.
The Feminist Classroom takes us on a journey with seventeen differently situated feminist professors. As an anthropologist, I find compelling its ethnographic approach to the study of feminist classrooms in diverse institutional settings. As president of Spelman College, I applaud the classroom practices of my colleagues and their commitment to empowering Black women students.