Educating Students about Gender Diversity via Trans Memoirs, Ina Seethaler
In Women’s and Gender Studies, discussions about gender identities/expressions are crucial. Yet, students find it difficult to abandon patriarchal understandings of the gender binary. In this presentation, I offer insights into how I use memoirs by writers who identify as transgender to bring students to a deeper and more empathetic conceptualization of gender as a spectrum. I see the intentional combination of feminist theory and life writing texts as a successful pedagogical approach to create productive conversations about diverse gender experiences. Specifically, the presentation addresses examples of texts and assignments, discusses possible discomfort in students, and outlines forms of assessment.
Ina C. Seethaler serves as Assistant Professor and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Coastal Carolina University. Her research connects gender, migration, and life writing. She has published, among other topics, on a fake mail-order bride website as feminist activism, undocumented migration and life writing, and feminist service learning.
Writing Identity and Difference: Teaching creative writing online, Jeanine Leane & Laura-Jane Maher
In 2020 The University of Melbourne piloted a Creative Writing subject: Writing Identity and Difference. This subject was led by Dr Jeanine Leane and explores how creative writing practice encounters identity and alterity. Students engaged with the politics of representation through critical theory, intertextual reflexivity and deconstruction of inherited categories of self and other. This paper explores the means by which this subject decentralises Eurocentric narratives of the self and encourages students to critically reflect on their positionality in their writing practice; and to consider the ethical responsibility of literary representation and its impact and legacy for those represented.
Dr Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, and academic. She holds a doctorate in Australian literature and Aboriginal representations and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at ANU.
Dr Laura-Jane Maher is a settler-coloniser academic. She holds a doctorate in transmedia and life-writing.
Teaching Life Narratives of Violence, Oppression and Trauma Through Radical Survival Narrative Pedagogy, Dawn Shickluna
Radical survival narrative pedagogy involves a reconceptualization of trauma through a dialectical historical materialist framework, revealing the social relations of violence and oppression that constitute and mediate that trauma. This pedagogy further incorporates the critical concept of ‘radical vulnerability,’ and the notion of ‘survivance,’ originating in Indigenous literary theory. Through such reconceptualizations and alternative knowledge production, this pedagogy aims to contribute to social justice and transformation. I outline the components of radical survival narrative pedagogy and discuss its application with examples of political prisoner memoirs and autobiographies of Indian Residential School survival.
Dawn Shickluna recently completed her PhD at the University of Toronto, in which she developed a critical pedagogy of life narratives of violence, oppression and trauma. Dawn is a Registered Psychotherapist specializing in working with survivors of trauma and is an instructor at Brock University.