Gender Studies: Problematics of Pedagogy in Theory and Praxis
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Gender studies as a cross-disciplinary field has gained currency for the last forty years, an expansive field in which debates on pedagogical strategies bridging theory and praxis have been the crux of research on syllabus framing, selection of theoretical paradigms and empirical methods, philosophy behind policy making, creating instructional design and executing classroom teaching. The history of feminist activism, the specificity of feminist issues seeking resolution, the contemporaneity and urgency of events, the local, global or glocal contents and contexts of occurrences, the dynamism of socio-cultural spaces and the politicisation behind who can ‘speak’ on what can be included and what must be excluded intervene in determining an inclusive and reflective teaching-learning process. Is it possible to prepare a universal formulation for teaching gender studies across levels and purposes? Is it an iconoclastic approach to hierarchy between the facilitator and the learners in the classroom or is it the dissemination of lived experiences foregrounding reflexivity or is it transformative learning that will impact social change? ‘Who’ is the instructor and ‘who’ are the learners? Interestingly, the fluidity of gender studies and seeing ‘gender’ as doing or a performative further problematises the teaching methodology. What is the meaning of ‘feminist’ within the premise of feminist pedagogy? The need for intersectionality of different disciplines to teach gender studies and the engagement of reflexivity both from the teacher and the taught will lead to transformative learning. The teaching of gender studies is a therapy resulting in healing or should it be restricted to academic dialogue alone. Is there too much theorising? Can the nature of the learning environment in institutionalised set ups give way to radical criticism or can the conditions of learning be made free of institutionalised control? Other issues such as understanding men and masculinities with respect to gender studies, gender studies through the e-learning platform, blending affective and cognitive faculties while teaching, understanding the sociology of gender and systematic perpetuation of power structures will be reviewed. This present paper will critically examine the schism between theory and practice in the pedagogy of gender studies by analysing selective feminist texts and situating them in contexts.
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