33 SES 01 B JS, Working Across Disciplines and Differences for Gender Justice: Methodological, theoretical and practical challenges for feminist educators Part 1
Joint Symposium NW 27 and NW 33 to be continued in 33 SES 02 B JS
Traditionally, an academic discipline is a way of knowing the world; it is a specialist way of thinking and doing reinforced by a set of beliefs, values and attitudes; it designates a ‘territory’ (Becher and Trowler 2001) for its discourse community, which it consolidates and regulates through the ‘valid’ procedures for knowledge-making it generates. Traditional academic disciplines have, in these ways, promoted a view of knowledge as something which is named, bounded and has defined edges. These traditional views of disciplines have been subject to serious challenge. They have been critiqued as ‘epistemological essentialism’ (Trowler, 2010) which serves to regulate and discipline subject-based ‘tribes and territories’ (Trowler, Saunders and Bamber, 2014) by obscuring the contextual contingency of disciplinary boundaries and practices. Such traditional views tend of ignore the potentially transformative role of disciplinary knowledge (Ashwin, 2014). Internationally; they also tend to prioritise western and particularly anglophone ways of thinking, researching and educating.
However, feminists have provided a sustained criticism of disciplines, arguing that disciplines produce a ‘containerised’ way of thinking (Sanford, 2015) and have worked as key epistemological sites for maintaining gendered and western knowledge-making practices (Harding, 2008; Haraway, 1988). Feminists argue that disciplines tend to reify knowledge as a product; and that they pay little attention to knowledge as a process which emerges in relation to gendered, classed, ableist and raced politics of knowledge. Feminist critiques challenge male-stream views that only disciplinary knowledge can be powerful knowledge (Young, 2009). For these reasons, Osborne (2015: 4) asserts that ‘disciplinarity has become problematic in multiple and contested ways’. It therefore seems timely that, as feminist educators working for gendered social justice, that we explore the relationship between working across disciplines and challenging gendered structural differences and inequalities. This is the focus of the papers is this double symposium. Our research contributes to gender as a key theme of recent work in Network 27 and responds to the theme of Network 33 regarding stimulating critical theoretical and methodological approaches to gender.
Feminist educational researchers aiming to improve gender justice have traditionally focused on engaged practices that involve ‘working together’ and ‘working across’ a wide range of differences. This includes working across subject and disciplinary boundaries (arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences), sector boundaries (schools, colleges and universities), generational boundaries (age-related differences, and second, third and fourth ‘wave’ feminisms) and structural boundaries (class, race, nation, religion, ability). This double symposium takes forward this work by focusing on ways in which feminist educators are currently developing pedagogies, practices and research approaches which work across disciplines in order to find new ways to promote gendered social justice. The symposium as a whole is motivated by the research questions:
- How can practices of ‘working across’ be developed to effectively combat gendered educational inequalities?
- What are the methodological challenges which arise when ‘working across’?
- How can we use and develop theoretical and/or conceptual frameworks to help us ‘work across’ in new ways?
The authors form an international group of feminist educators – from UK, USA, China, Sweden, France, Germany and Turkey. Each of the six papers takes these questions up in different ways in order to consider the advantages and challenges of ‘working across’ disciplines and differences in relation to: innovative feminist methodology; post-colonial knowledge frameworks; innovative teaching approaches; connecting theory-praxis; and developing initiatives to effect educational change. Together, the papers speak directly to the main conference theme of ‘Inclusion and Exclusion’ by bringing to the fore inter-, multi-and trans-disciplinarity as powerful resources to effect social change.
Ashwin, P. (2014) Knowledge, curriculum and student understanding in higher education, Higher Education, 67:123-126. Becher, T. and Trowler, P. (2001) Academic tribes and territories: intellectual enquiry and the culture of disciplines. 2nd edition. Maidenhead: Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press. Haraway, D. (1988) 'Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective, Feminist Studies, 14(3): 575-599 Harding, S. (2008) Sciences from Below: Feminisms, Postcolonialities, and Modernities: Durham and London: Duke University Press. Osborne, P. (2015) Problematizing Disciplinarity, Transdisciplinary Problematics, Theory, Culture & Society, 32(5-6) 3-35. Sanford, S. (2015) Contradiction of Terms: Feminist Theory, Philosophy and Transdisciplinarity, Theory, Culture & Society, 32(5-6) 159-182. Trowler, P. (2010) 'Beyond epistemological essentialism'. In: C. Kreber (Ed.) The University and Its Disciplines: Teaching and Learning Within and Beyond Disciplinary Boundaries. London: Routledge. Trowler, P., Saunders, M. and Bamber, V. (Eds.) (2014). Tribes and territories in the 21st century. London: Routledge. Young, M. (2011). Knowledge matters. In L. Yates and M. Grumet (Eds.), Curriculum in today's world: Configuring knowledge, identities, work and politics, World yearbook of education. New York: Routledge.
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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