This pedagogical practice is geared toward students in a 101 level women's studies course and aims to support Ann Donaday's assertion that women's studies courses must, from the very beginning, resist monist (gender-only) discourse when analyzing oppression in favor of integrated curriculum that engages students in feminist discussion of race and class (and other systems of dominance).
The practice itself has been taking from the women's studies textbook Women's Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings by Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee (p. 61). Rather than creating my own pedagogical practice to shed light on the way each of us experience varying degrees of privilege and oppression based on our multiple subject positions, I intend to make use of, and add to existing tools that have been developed by feminist teachers before me (this exercise was created by authors and is based on Peggy McIntosh's "White and Male Privilege," a featured reading in the text's second chapter, "Systems of Privilege and Inequality in Women's Lives."
Unpacking Your Knapsack
Author Peggy McIntosh lists a number of ways that she experiences White privilege.
Based on your various non-target statuses*, make lists of the ways you experience
the following categories of privilege:
Middle or upper class
*Target groups are groups that are targeted as “less than” or different because of their race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and/or other differences. Non-target groups are defined as groups that are more likely to receive privileges and benefits in a society, i.e. part of the dominant group.
Addition to exercise for graduate students: Share with the class one or two lists of the ways that you are privileged based on your various non-target statuses, and take a moment to speculate (on paper or verbally) how taking responsibility for your social location is important to a holistic and integrated women's studied curriculum that highlights intersectionality. How might this exercise benefit you as a future teacher of women's studies? of some other discipline? in non-traditional teaching environments?