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A DIALOGUE ON CREATING A FEMINIST IDENTITY

Dawn Stracener, dawns@unm.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION

The narratives of our past are permeated with the myths of inner-patriarchy which repeatedly separate us from our ‘mothers’ and often force us to seek an identity in a masculine defined culture.  Our present is a journey of re-storying, of finding our feminine ‘spirit’.  Our future is an imaged narrative in which we create a vision of ourselves as a feminist who learns to view her hard-earned skills and successes as opportunities for achieving her goals. Students in this seminar will learn how 'love' is sacred, redemptive, and healing through the feminist lens of bell hooks. We will study and explore environmental, feminist and women's spirituality movements while understanding an ethos focused on affirmation of beauty, life, and love rather than patriarchal domination, power, and violence. Participants in this course will identify the past, present, and future parts of themselves through dialogue, readings, service, and journaling, learning in the process to integrate and balance feminist, spiritual energies.

 

READINGS AND TEXTS

            Irene Diamond & Gloria Feman Orenstein, Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism

            China Galland, The Bond Between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion

            bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

            Carol P. Christ, Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality

            Small course reader

FILMS AND OTHER COURSE MATERIALS

N/A

COURSE FEE

None

STUDENT REQUIREMENTS

All students are expected to voluntarily and regularly contribute to class discussions. Effective participation is dependent on you keeping up with all the reading assignments. Effective participation is dependent on several factors:  First, you must be engaged in the readings.  I think you will really enjoy the books selected for this class.  Class discussions are a part of your grade and if you are not prepared, it will be difficult to contribute your wonderful insights.  Secondly, you will be asked to write some personal journal entries and then share them with the class.  Therefore, it is important that we develop a circle of trust and respect for one another.  This will be your first lesson in developing feminist compassion.  Finally, I want each of you to remember that you cannot measure your self-worth against the performance of others.  You are each unique individuals with creative talents and intelligent insights that are yours alone.  Learn to honor that part of yourself and you will discover that participation comes much easier. All articles and books must be brought to class the day the reading is due or I will deduct participation points for that day. Various short in-class assignments will be given often, i.e. free writes, role play, debates, mind mapping. These assignments are designed to generate class discussions and/or give you a place to start when analyzing texts or doing written assignments. Responsible and serious effort on these exercises will make up a substantial portion of your participation score. In addition to participation, attendance, and assigned readings students will also be given the following assignments for assessment: a personal praxis journal; service learning project; 2 short papers (one analytical essay, one interview paper), and final paper which needs to be a dialogical narrative in which you weave personal reflections, academic knowledge, experiential learning and course reading materials together in order to create your own theory on Feminist Identity. My expectation is that you will design your own creative final paper.

 

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Dawn Stracener has spent the past 40 years experiencing and studying the nature of women and our spirituality.  On an experiential level, she lived in India and Nepal for three years in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.  She is an active Buddhist and works in the community as an advocate fighting against institutional discrimination and racism.  Dawn honors our Great Mother and goddess culture recognizing that ancient energy that flows through all women.  Dawn has an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies with a focus on Feminist theory.  Dawn is looking forward to learning from her students and teaching her favorite subject.