Welcome to MAI Issue 5: 'Feminist Pedagogies'

Dearest MAI Readers,

The last decade drew to a close against a backdrop of catastrophic environmental and political disasters—and, it must be said, for many of us working in academia, the drive to complete on utterly unbearable workloads under fractious and precarious working conditions. In the face of relentless difficulty and uncertainty, it can be very hard to gather the strength and courage to keep pushing back against what often feels like an encroaching darkness. We don’t know how this affected you directly, but we felt like retiring permanently under the duvet by Christmas. That said, we must keep on both through individual endeavour and collective organisation. In the wake of disappointment comes the determination to fill that void with action, care work, activism, and a renewed sense of political and ethical agency.

With this issue of MAI, which centres on feminist pedagogies, we hope you will find much to lighten your spirits and inspire, as we enter into this new decade. Now, perhaps more so than ever, we need to view the classroom as a space for contestation, for challenge, and for activism against both pernicious political systems of thought and the increasingly egregious neoliberalisation of higher education. Feminism as a form of ethics that demands we engage beyond hermetic boundaries of self and open ourselves up to community is a tool that we dismiss at our peril in this parlous political environment. The future is not determined: it is ours to grasp and to make. And not merely for ourselves, but for generations to come. This rallying collection of essays, toolkits, manifestos and creative work begs each and every one of us to take up the mantle and commit actively to changing the dire situation in which we find ourselves currently.

Anna Misiak and Anna Backman Rogers want to thank especially Clara Bradbury-Rance for her outstanding commitment to and hard work on this extraordinary issue. We here at MAI are absolutely thrilled to be starting 2020 with this wonderful collection of work. We wish to draw attention to the special showcase we have of student work in this issue, which offers ample evidence of why feminist pedagogy matters. We also want to thank Amber Patterson, our new editorial assistant, who has helped us whip this issue into shape!

Finally, we are also happy to announce that in partnership with Punctum Books, MAI will be working throughout 2020 to open up as a publishing press of experimental feminist monographs on a range of visual cultures. To borrow a phrase from Punctum’s own ‘publishing primer’, these will neither be books for ‘your grandmother’s tenure and promotion committee, which somehow, through a strange process of zombie-fication, is still operating within the ossifed crevasses of the Groves of Academe’, nor will these be books that ‘satisfy the requirements of the traditional-yet-also-neoliberalized academic press’s marketing department’. We look forward to revealing more details this year as we establish the MAI imprint.

And now: onwards…and courage, Dear Readers.

Anna Backman Rogers & Anna Misiak

Gothenburg, Sweden & Falmouth, UK

January 2020

 

Here Be Monsters: A Punctum Publishing Primer

 

‘Perhaps too Passionate’: An Introduction to Feminist Pedagogies

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Focus Issue: Intro

Not only does Bradbury-Rance introduce you to the contents of the issue, but she also shares her joy and passion for feminist pedagogies that have underpinned her academic practice from the early days of her career.

1

‘Where Do You Know From?’: An Exercise in Placing Ourselves Together in the Classroom

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Toolkit

Zuroski rethinks conventional first-day rituals of classroom introduction, framing a pedagogical practice that recognises multiple ways of knowing and brings them into conversation with one another.

2

Undutiful Daughters : Results of the ‘Gender, Technology, and Zine-Making in the Neoliberal University’ Workshop

by & Megen de Bruin-Molé

Creative Practice

In this zine, the authors collated materials created by several makers who met in a training workshop on gender and technology, and the role of researcher, educator and artist in the current neoliberal university.

3

The Carrier Bag of Feminist Pedagogy: Zine-Making as Training in the Neoliberal University

by & Megen de Bruin-Molé

Critical Reflection

Inspired by their zine-making workshop, the authors suggest that to resist the metrics-driven, patriarchal university, a feminist academic must commit not only to slow research but also to care work and social activism.

4

Tactics and Praxis: A Manifesto

by , Louise Haywood & Georgina Evans

Critical Reflection

Determined to reclaim their enthusiasm and energy for research and teaching, three scholars test using creative praxis in their institutional space to resist the patriarchal and neoliberal pressures in today’s university.

5

On the Joys of Administration: Or Race, Failure, and the Neoliberal Academy

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Critical Reflection

Khoo explores the role of emotions in knowledge formation, reflecting on how to learn from failure in the midst of the constant push towards greater productivity in the neoliberal academy.

6

Teaching to Resistance and Refusal: Feminist Pedagogical Engagements in the UK Higher Education Classroom

by & Aura Lehtonen

Critical Reflection

To point towards the limits of institutional practices on effective and inclusive teaching in the increasingly precarious UK HE context, Lehtonen & Gibbs consider moments of classroom resistance and refusal.

7

How to Hack Study Regulations

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Creative Response

In 2018 researchers from Teaching to Trangress* replaced the Study Regulations at the E.R.G in Brussels with a radical re-write to expose the covert operations of patriarchy.

8

Learning Is Dangerous

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Conversation

In March 2019, staff at the Queen Mary University organised a study day on de-colonising and de-canonising film studies. Later, Pember met the same scholars to consider these and other ideas against the context of HE.

9

Towards A Femme Pedagogy, or Making Space for Trauma in the Classroom

by & Margeaux Feldman

Critical Reflection

Recognising that teaching is care work, the authors unsettle neoliberal discussions of resilience and survival. They argue for femme pedagogy, a trauma-informed approach to education in which vulnerability, healing, and community are vital to academic spaces.

10

Teaching to Transform: Reimagining Feminist Pedagogies in Contemporary Higher Education

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Toolkit

Seeing students not as passive receivers but as co-creators of knowledge, Morris develops a teaching toolkit to transform them into promoters of social justice, who can resist post-truth, post-racial, and sexist discourses.

11

Teaching on the Edge of Time: Developing a Slow Pedagogy through Feminist Science Fiction

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Critical Reflection

A fresh reading of Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) leads Guest to consider what we can learn from the novel about teaching. She suggests that slowing down in order to learn how to teach can both enrich our pedagogies and offer a form of resistance in the contemporary university.

12

Teaching Feminist Theory through Jill Soloway’s I Love Dick

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Video Essay

Sinwell’s video essay examines I Love Dick (Soloway 2016-17) as a means of popularising feminist theory in contemporary media.

13

The Supper Club

by & Allain Daigle

Video Essay

A short video chronicle of a student journey on a project about women’s erasures from history. Inspired by Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, young women from Wisconsin embraced local archives to express their critical ideas.

14

Graphic Medicine as Feminist Pedagogy

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Video Essay

In this video essay, Martino discusses their experiments with graphic medicine in the undergraduate classroom as a case study to consider the implications of graphic medicine for feminist pedagogy.

15

Levelling Up: A Critical Feminist Pedagogy for Game Design

by & Amy Corron

Toolkit

In response to a ‘crisis of toxicity and harassment’ in the games industry, Rouse and Corron present a feminist toolkit for teaching games design that reconfigures not only the syllabus but also the classroom.

16

Naming our Pedagogies: Legitimising Feminist Teaching in the Media Studies Classroom

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Toolkit

Considering what it means to find anxiety in the naming of pedagogy as a legitimising or delegitimising force in the classroom, Rajabi advises us not to shy away from using a ‘feminist’ label.

17

DIY Feminist Pedagogies: Making Feminist Practices More Apparent in Technical Rhetorics Classrooms

by , Nupoor Ranade & Missy F. Hannah

Toolkit

Using a DIY feminist approach, the authors share three tailor-made courses they’ve introduced to engage feminist ideological work in classrooms where such topics are deemed unusual.

18

Breathing Deeply: A Personal Pedagogy of Social Justice in Higher Education

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Critical Reflection

Drawing parallels between breathing and working as an academic, Hornbeck invites us to implement a gentle and considerate approach to leadership and pedagogy—one that promotes social justice like deep breathing.

19

Becoming a Blockade: A Diffractive Reading of an Academic Office as the Site of a Queer Feminist Pedagogy of Resistance

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Critical Reflection

Having lost her office space, Wight looks back at it using diffractive methodology to show how work spaces can function as sites of self-expression, feminist pedagogy and resistance in heteropatriarchal, neoliberal institutions.

20

Fugitive Spaces

by & Morgan Bimm

Creative Practice

Following ‘Fugitive Spaces’ workshops, the authors of this zine present a creative collage of responses to the proposed pedagogy of bringing marginalised voices to the centre of educational debates.

21

Beginnings

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Feminist Student Work

Beginnings is Brammen’s student film experiment—a non-narrative, somewhat feminist, take on the dominance of narrativity in our western culture and our cinemas.

22

‘Don’t take your hate out on me, I just got here.’: Assassination Nation and Foucauldian Incitement to Discourse in the Digital Age

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Feminist Student Work

Analysing Assassination Nation (2018), MA scholar Nicole Veneto examines how Foucault’s theory of sexuality as incitement to discourse applies to the age of social media and mediated technology.

23

Exploring the Female Film Student Experience in #MeToo Society

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Feminist Student Work

In response to MAI’s own Rebecca Harrison and her article ‘Fuck the Canon’, Ruby Aylin reflects on her time as an undergraduate film studies student in this thought-provoking video essay.

24

The Perfect Woman: Scarlett Johansson as a Cyborg in ‘Under the Skin’ (2013), ‘Her’ (2013) and ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017)

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Feminist Student Work

Saaranen explores three configurations of the artificial women in films featuring Scarlett Johansson in the lead role.

25

Cinema, Labor, and Feminism: Barbara Mennel’s Women at Work in Twenty-first-century European Cinema

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Book Review

Mennel’s 2019 monograph Women at Work in Twenty-first-century European Cinema analyses the increased attention given to women’s work in films of various genres. Regular MAI contributor, Tessa Nunn, elaborates.

26

Woman in Lars von Trier’s Cinema: 1996-2014 by Ahmed Elbeshlawy

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Book Review

Oliver Kenny reviews Ahmed Elbeshlawy’s monograph addressing the contentious cinema of Lars von Trier and his female protagonists.

27

Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny by Sarah Banet-Weiser

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Book Review

Sarah Banet-Weiser’s timely book offers powerful conceptual tools for thinking about popular feminism and its correlative misogyny, argues McNeill.

28

Reframing Diversity for German Screens: Sheri Hagen in Conversation

by & Sheri Hagen

Interview

This conversation started at Berlinale in February 2018 and continued in May 2018 in Toronto, where Hagen showed her film At Second Glance/Auf den Zweiten Blick (2012).

29

Interview with Rebecca Tamás, Author of WITCH (2019)

by & Rebecca Tamás

Interview

With WITCH, Tamás taps into the reinvigorated interest in witchcraft, especially in feminist and queer circles. She speaks to Sophia Kier-Byfield about ecological thinking and the pedagogical potential of poetry to address the environmental crisis.

30

Dead Sites

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Creative Response

‘A dead writer’, wrote the artist Linda Stupart, ‘exists in words’. There are so many women dying right now. We have to learn how to die in onscreen as well as how to live, writes Walsh.

31

A Woman Sits at the Table

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Creative Response

Alyssa Harad considers Letters, Dreams and Other Writings, a collection of writing by the visionary artist Remedios Varo.

32

Youthquaker (Girl of the Year)

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Creative Response

An ode to Edie Sedgwick, ‘Warhol’s muse’, via notions of ‘original’ and ‘copy’ and the difference between being looked at and being seen.

33

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WHO SUPPORTS US

The team of MAI supporters and contributors is always expanding. We’re honoured to have a specialist collective of editors, whose enthusiasm & talent gave birth to MAI.

However, to turn our MAI dream into reality, we also relied on assistance from high-quality experts in web design, development and photography. Here we’d like to acknowledge their hard work and commitment to the feminist cause. Our feminist ‘thank you’ goes to:


Dots+Circles – a digital agency determined to make a difference, who’ve designed and built our MAI website. Their continuous support became a digital catalyst to our idealistic project.
Guy Martin – an award-winning and widely published British photographer who’s kindly agreed to share his images with our readers

Chandler Jernigan – a talented young American photographer whose portraits hugely enriched the visuals of MAI website
Matt Gillespie – a gifted professional British photographer who with no hesitation gave us permission to use some of his work
Julia Carbonell – an emerging Spanish photographer whose sharp outlook at contemporary women grasped our feminist attention
Ana Pedreira – a self-taught Portuguese photographer whose imagery from women protests beams with feminist aura
And other photographers whose images have been reproduced here: Cezanne Ali, Les Anderson, Mike Wilson, Annie Spratt, Cristian Newman, Peter Hershey