By Christine Overall
Our universities are the locus of ongoing debates over the politics of gender, of sophistication, of drawback and disability—and over the problem of "political correctness." In A Feminist I Christine total bargains wide-ranging reflections from a first-person viewpoint on those matters, and at the politics of the trendy college itself. In doing so she regularly returns to underlying epistemological matters. What are our assumptions concerning the ways that wisdom is built? To what measure are our perceptions formed by means of our social roles and identities? some time past iteration feminists have led the way in which in recognising the significance of such questions, and recognising too the ways that own event might be a useful reference element in educational concept and perform. yet reliance on own adventure is fraught with difficulties; how is one to accommodate tensions among the autobiographical and the analytic? This ebook issues tips to resolving a few of these tensions, and to fruitfully maintaining others. it's a booklet of substantial perception, hot humanity, and real value.
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My understanding of these matters has come about partly because the academic environment has forced me to rethink my preconceptions and my behaviour. Page 24 Much of what I now believe about teaching and learning, as well as my views about feminist politics, masculinist power, and the hierarchical operations of institutions of higher learning, originated in my immersion in the realities of university life. My understanding has also come about partly through my direct encounters with others' sometimes-unthinking reactions to my identities, both ascribed and chosen.
The lure of a secure job with a good income invites me to buy uncritically into the traditional values of the university, to become complacent about problems of injustice outside academia, or to be over-confident about the degree to which the institution is able to separate itself from prevailing social conditions of racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism. While the university is no ivory tower, especially for poorly-paid staff and for kids without race or class privileges, it is a relatively sheltered environment for those like me who are permitted a permanent connection via tenure.
The pain I experience on hearing or reading such claims is quite different from my reaction to being discussed or reviewed by non-feminist writers who are much less likely to assail me on grounds of alleged feminist inconsistency or disloyalty. The fear of rejection, the wish to be supported and liked (or at least not attacked), the concern to be politically correct and consistent, the defensiveness, and the anxiety about risk-taking are far greater when my audience is feminists. Perhaps 1 Cf. Tancred-Sheriff (1990, 1) on the corresponding constraints (self-)imposed by being a feminist reviewer.
A feminist I: reflections from academia by Christine Overall