"Survivors of Gendered Violence in the Feminist Classroom," by Janet Lee, "Dangerous Responses," by Cox and Tirabassi, and Estelle Freedman's "Small-Group Pedagogy: Consciousness Raising in Conservative Times," each illustrate a very real need to address issues surrounding violence against women and gendered violence from a sentipensante approach. Students often experience difficult/uncomfortable/painful emotions when learning about discussing violence, and professors are not immune.
As students engaging with course material regarding pedagogical practices for teaching about gendered violence, we too are put in a position where spiritual, "physical and emotional tensions arise" (Thompson 1998:70). This may be especially true for survivors of gendered violence in our seminar.
The authors suggest various methods of addressing this tension. How about we try one of their exercises out in order to address ours? (Class chooses one Pedagogical Exercise).
1. We will form a c.r. group (or story telling group) in seminar where we will each take turns to speak uninterrupted for 1 minute, then we will have one more minute to wrap up our thoughts. Just as Freedman tailored her student's c.r. prompts to the lecture for that day, I would like folks to speak to how reading about (teaching about) gendered violence made them feel. If you are uncomfortable speaking, please invite the group to meditate on this prompt for your 2 minutes. During this practice we should engage in active listening, as described by Dr. Lara throughout the semester.
2. In the spirit of Martha E. Thompson, let's form a "NO Circle." In the circle will each take turns calling out something (rape, stalking, racism, etc.) we would like to say NO to, something we want to stop happening. In the no circle we can channel our anger, frustration, sadness, or whatever into our voices. When each of us has contributed, we will all yell "NO" to gendered violence together on the count of three. When we are finished we can reflect on the usefulness of the exercise.
See you in class,