Today I will be speaking at the Educating Girls conference sponsored by NYSAIS (New York State Association of Independent Schools) to be held at the all girls Chapin School. The title of my workshop is “Engaging Girls in Feminist Activism.”
I will begin the workshop with the following video highlighting some of the most exciting moments of my course Fierce and Fabulous: Feminist Women Writers, Artists, and Activists between the years 2008-10.
Focusing on best practices, the rest of the session will explore how I have engaged girls—and boys—in feminist activism using a range of texts such as literature, theory, art, and media. I will talk about how students in my class have taken action on the commercial sexual exploitation of children in New York by supporting GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services); have created their own feminist blog, F to the Third Power; launched a movement against the sexualization of girls and women in the media at the SPARK Summit; and blogged about their social commentary on art and culture. I will also talk about how the male students in the class have also found their voices as allies to girls and women.
For those who will be at the session and for those who are unable to attend, I have posted a draft of my syllabus for the course as well as an assignment that asks students to write personal essay on intersectionality. I have also posted here a an assignment that asks students to examine both Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls and Tyler Perry’s film of the same title.
I’m excited to share my work with educators who are interested in bringing a gender lens to teaching and curriculum design, especially one that also examines race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality alongside gender. This is the exciting if challenging work of feminist education and I’m thrilled to be a part of a day dedicated to sharing best practices for greater social justice in our classrooms.
I just watched the video of your students speaking at the TedxYouth conference, and I was so impressed by how thoughtfully they spoke about what feminism means to them. You seem to have made a significant impact on their thinking–it’s terrific!
Your blog is inspiring to me; I am an English teacher at a public school and would be thrilled if I could teach a class like yours. Unfortunately, public schools tend to have rigid and traditional curricula–but I think we’ll get there someday. In the meantime, the work you do at the private schools serves as an excellent example of what’s possible. Thank you for sharing what you do online for all of us to see–hopefully someday what you teach will become the norm in schools instead of the exception!
Thank you for your very kind and generous words. If you ever have any questions about how to make even small changes/additions in your English classroom, we could always brainstorm based on what you already teach. Let’s keep fighting the good fight!