Challenging Academic Norms: An Epistemology for Feminist and Multicultural Classrooms

National Women's Studies Association Journal 19 (2):55-78 (2007)
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Abstract

Even while progressive educators and feminist standpoint theorists defend the value of marginalized perspectives, many marginal-voice texts continue to be deprecated in academic contexts due to their seemingly "unprofessional," engaged, and creative styles. Thus, scholars who seek to defend a feminist and multicultural curriculum need a theory of knowledge that goes beyond current standpoint theory and accounts for the unorthodox format in which many maringal standpoints appear. In response to this challenge, this essay draws on feminist and postcolonial critics of objectivity, including Dorothy Smith, Chandra Mohanty, Barrios de Chungara, and Arhundati Roy to theorize the epistemic value of texts that respond with passion and creativity to marginalized people's struggles. In conclusion, the author distinguishes ethically oriented engagement with such texts from mere "politicized teaching," and she suggests ways to teach such texts that cultivate their critical potential.

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Shari Stone-Mediatore
Ohio Wesleyan University

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