A Passionate Subject: Representations of desire in feminist pedagogy

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My research area is in literature and feminist theory, particularly fiction(s) and theories of the body, of women's pleasures and desires and the ways in which these theoretical discourses are being textually inscribed by contemporary women writers. As a university lecturer I am now finding those theories and fictions particularly useful in reading my role as a feminist pedagogue, and in interrogating the stories and theories in circulation about what it means to be a woman and a teacher in a university. In this article I offer a reading of some recent writing (and conversations) about the bodies and desires of feminist teachers, about their pleasures and dangers in theory and in practice. Amongst others, I draw on the work of bell hooks and Audre Lorde on 'the erotic', Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray on women's writing, Jane Gallop's critique of the maternal 'good' feminist teacher and Helen Garner's 'novel' about a sexual harassment case, to problematise the work of sexed bodies in a potentially volatile workplace. Writing through my desires is also crucial to the performance of the possibilities of desire in feminist pedagogy as I read them. Literature and pedagogy intersect for me through the pleasures of reading and writing, of learning and constructing new knowledges, and now in teaching them. So reading texts on feminist pedagogy through my position as a practising teacher and feminist theorist also involves the inscription of my body as a woman and my desire for writing which incorporates this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
JournalGender and Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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