The lecture last night was intense and, for me, different from other lectures I've attended at Bryn Mawr. Partly it was the sheer scale of it and the buildup beforehand: while I'm sure there were some audience members only there for a class, there was a collective excitement that you just don't usually feel in an academic setting. The only event I can think of that came close was the lecture by Angela Davis. So first, there was a difference in the audience.
Then there was the difference in the speaker. The biggest difference, and the one I talked about with some friends afterwards, was that Judith Butler was there as an academic and theorist but taking a strong political stance. How often have we seen that? I can tell you how often I've heard it: never. Not once. I've occasionally had a professor take up political issues in the classroom, but not often. And never in a way that tied them so thoroughly to theory. I'd never heard a lecture that was both very academic and intensely political-- they tend to be one or the other. I'd never seen theory and practice so thoroughly entangled (to borrow Barad's term, which I may or may not thoroughly understand. But it seems right here).
Then there were the ideas themselves. Other people have complained about how hard it was to take notes with hardly any light, but I did it anyway because I knew that otherwise there was no way I'd be able to remember even half of what was brought up. I can even read most of what I wrote.
Gender and Sexuality in the High School Biology Classroom: Fostering Critical Thinking and Active Engagement
Gender and Sexuality in the High School Biology Classroom:
Fostering Critical Thinking and Active Engagement
Summary: This project was undertaken with the hope of changing the ways we think about teaching and engaging with science. This paper will discuss ways to help students recognize that science is interdisciplinary and can both affect and be affected by the social and/or political context it exists in.
By asking students to think about the way science is presented and conducted, and giving them the tools to think about science not as an isolated body of information, but as a dynamic and shifting discipline, we will not only be encouraging more engaged science scholarship, but will also help students begin to notice the ways science is used as evidence in different contexts and evaluate these uses.
The goals of this project are two-fold. I hope to suggest ways for biology teachers:
While I was writing my educational autobiography, I was surprised at how hard it was for me to focus on one aspect of my education, as if my education was an accumulated product of my experiences and interactions with different people - my family, friends and classmates. In this sense, I began to view education as a shared experience that these people were participants in my development as a person and helped me find my place and role in society.
Nonetheless, I was likewise disturbed by and reminded of how deeply class relations and more specifically, the status of my classmates affected this role. For many, a big part of growing up is finding a role and trying to fit into society;however, since my parents were immigrants to this country, like Rodriguez's story, a big part of my educational experience was based on being self aware, seeking acceptance, and assimilating into a culture and community that my parents were foreign to. Thus, for me the distance from my classmates' society left me very anxious about my position in the community.
So after writing my educational autobiography some questions had popped into my head about the position I took. I believe the classroom was not the key component in my education instead my community was. I made the claim that because of the way people in different economic background created their own world within their own class that it pushed me to become more aware of myself and taught me how to understand different people's stories. It also pushed me away from being open to the influences of the neigherborhood that I viewed as destructive. So this is where I am at now. I have been known to want to help people out and get them on a better path. But in my paper I had said that class has turned into being what defines a culture. So because I made the claim that people of lower class have their own culture, is it right for people to try to change them? Yes, the lower class are associated with high health risks, high poverty and crime but if that is their culture, who are we to say that the way they live is wrong? After reflecting on that another question arose. Maybe that is my culture? Maybe that it part of the American culture? To come in unannounced, and change what we see unfit. Looking at American history we can see several times when we stepped in and justified with a 'we're creating change' campaign. So maybe it is part of my culture to want to help people I think are on the 'wrong path?' But does that still make it right?