It's Diablogical!
A Collaborative Diablog on Feminist Pedagogy
3 examples from my own blogs
Categories: Week 4: July 30

Here are three examples of how I used the blog successfully for writing and teaching.

Example one: This is a feminist issue because…

(Here’s what I said about this category on an earlier blog entry): I developed a category on my feminist debates course blog titled, “This is a feminist issue because…”. Students were required to post one example of something that they believed to be a feminist issue and then respond to at least two other students’ examples. Here is my explanation:

So, this category is for posting images, news items or anything else that you feel speaks to issues related to feminism. It could also include anything that you believe especially deserves a feminist analysis. And it could include topics, issues, or events that you feel are connected to feminism or deserve a feminist response, but you are not sure how or why. Entries filed under this category should invite us to apply our growing knowledge of feminism/feminist movement/s to popular culture/current events or should inform us about ideas, topics, or images that are important for feminism. When posting an entry/example, you could pose a question to the reader or provide a brief summary on the example and/or why you posted it.

While the purpose of this blog category was to document a wide range of feminist issues and approaches, the unanticipated (and somewhat anticipated) effect of this category was to demonstrate to students that feminist movement is not any one thing and that we can’t ever fully know what feminism is or how it should proceed. While this made some students angry (“if feminism is too broad, it becomes meaningless!”) and many uncomfortable, it made other students curious and inspired them to rethink debate and feminism outside of its rigid borders. In the context of this blog, the failure to come up with any definitive or comprehensive conclusions as to what feminism or a feminist issue is resulted in a larger success–it opened them to new ways of thinking about feminism and enabled (at least some of) them to embrace not knowing (check out what I write about this idea in my final thoughts entry).

Example two: Organizing class discussion

This past spring, I experimented on my two course blogs (here and here) with using single blog entries as the foundation of and content for my in-class discussions. I imagined these entries as alternatives to powerpoint.  Here is an example from my feminist debates course:

A Feminist Response to the Arizona Immigration Bill (SB1070)

This entry was used as the format for a discussion about the Prison Industrial Complex and “protection: for whom? and at what cost?” in my mid-level undergraduate feminist debates class. The class met just days after Gov. Brewer had signed SB1070. The topic of immigration rights, the PIC, and problematic claims of “protection” and “safety” seemed to fit very well with the bill and how it was being discussed by a wide range of bloggers and media outlets, so I decided to make this entry the focus of our class. I used this entry:

  • to provide some context and more information about the bill by summarizing parts of the bill and the discussions surrounding it, and by posting a wide range of links–including a link to the actual bill and to Gov. Brewer’s explanation of it
  • to offer a brief overview of some critical responses to the bill and the implications of it for people living and working in Arizona
  • to connect the reading to an important recent issue and allow students to apply their growing knowledge of feminist critiques of the PIC to current events
  • to post a video clip that encourages students to be curious and to think critically about current events and how they are represented within the news (or the “fake news”–can we call The Colbert Report fake news?)
  • to provide a space, and an example, that could enable students to revisit all of the issues we discussed during the semester and that would encourage them to be curious about the bill

Example three: Generating ideas for class assignments

I am always using my own blog to experiment with potential blog assignments for students. I like to try out different formats and styles for expressing and archiving ideas. In a recent entry (from last week), I experimented with a different format for a brief annotated bibliography. I think that I will use it this upcoming semester in my queering desire and/or feminist pedagogies classes. I like how the format allowed me to archive the source, offer up my own thoughts about why it mattered, and track where I found the source.

One key goal of my feminist pedagogy is to encourage students to critically and creatively engage with ideas and to effectively express that engagement. To achieve this goal, I devote a lot of attention (and labor) to developing new models that speak to students and their own methods for engaging/expressing. I frequently use my blog to try out these ideas. When I assign these different types of entries to my students, I link to my own examples from my blog as models for how to complete the assignment.

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