How should we teach a class on family in the twenty-first century, when the meaning and makeup of “family” are under attack from all political angles? This article relates an attempt to rethink the family course as interdisciplinary, thematically arranged, heavily dependent on student engagement, and collaborative. From course conception to pitfalls and retrospection, this article provides an overview of a course implemented by the authors and their students as part of the honors program at the University of Portland. At the center of the course was a common curiosity for the material that emerged in hallway conversations at the intersection of different disciplines, at the intersection of ecocriticism and feminist theory, and at the intersection of popular media and personal life. The authors argue that collaborative teaching and intersectionality led to more productive classroom discussions and destabilized assumptions for all the course participants, instructors included.
Remaking Relationships: Renewing the College “Family” Course through Collaborative, Feminist Pedagogy
Alexandra M. Hill is professor of German at the University of Portland, where she directs the German program and codirects gender and women’s studies. She teaches all levels of German, from beginning language courses to seminars titled German Women’s Writing, Remembering Divided Germany, and Multicultural Society. Feminist theory infuses Hill’s teaching, and she seeks to diversify the variety of life experiences represented in each course she teaches, including beginning German.
Sarah Weiger is associate professor of English and environmental studies at the University of Portland. She teaches the courses Nineteenth-Century British Literature, Environmental Literature, and Literature and Posthumanism, as well as courses in introductory literature. Her courses feature literary engagements with the nonhuman, as well as texts of all kinds that grapple with environmental challenges and climate change.
Alexandra M. Hill, Sarah Weiger; Remaking Relationships: Renewing the College “Family” Course through Collaborative, Feminist Pedagogy. Pedagogy 1 January 2021; 21 (1): 179–191. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-8692788
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