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Applications of Feminist Pedagogy to the College Music Major Curriculum: An Introduction to the Issues

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Preliminaries

In the 1990s, college music is undergoing radical curriculum reform in response to various calls to diversify subject matter and repertoire. Traditional programs of study are being challenged, and classical canons of repertoire broken down. In music as in virtually all other academic disciplines, "new accounts, new theoretical frameworks, and new bodies of knowledge" are generating different ways of thinking about education, knowledge, truth, and power.1 In addition to presenting new subject areas such as world music, popular music, and women's studies, we are also serving a more varied clientele: student bodies diversified by nationality, race, age, economic class, gender, and other factors. New subject areas and new student profiles influence everyone in college music, no matter what our areas of speciality.

Such curriculum expansion calls for evaluation of existing approaches to teaching music. College music probably resembles most other academic disciplines in that discussions about teaching often focus on "what" rather than "how" we teach. However, because content and process in teaching can hardly exist independently of one another, our recent expansion of content demands different methodologies, or at least substantial re-examination of existing teaching methods. Focus on methods of teaching will certainly enhance this diversification of subject matter and may in the long run lead to a much needed large-scale refocusing on pedagogy in college music.

In this article I will examine a particular teaching methodology known as feminist pedagogy. In addition to promoting a variety of pedagogical attitudes which I consider to be good teaching practice, feminist pedagogy is particularly adaptable to many of our current subject areas and student populations. Also, feminist pedagogy is compatible with other socially-based or student-centered pedagogies, and is discussed here as one of several possible methodologies for enriching our expanding music curriculum.

I want to discuss feminist pedagogy in part by referring to the wealth of recent published literature on this topic. Since even the best-intentioned music faculty's access to information about pedagogy of any sort may be limited, I have included citations of some of this literature in the List of Sources at the end of this article.2 This list is intended not as a casual accessory to this essay, but as an integral component, to encourage the reader's own exploration of this topic beyond the scope of this article. I have also included this source list because feminist pedagogy literature has appeared primarily outside the field of music and the other arts, and overall may be less familiar to those in college music. I hope that this essay will provide an introduction to feminist pedagogy for those new to the subject and a usable update on current literature for more initiated readers. Overall my intention is not to summarize particular essays in this literature, but to synthesize ideas found in the readings which are most relevant to college music and then illustrate application with my own personal interpretations and experiences in music history courses for undergraduate and graduate music majors. Comments about individual essays appear largely in footnotes.3

After defining feminist pedagogy as it is presented in these sources, I will describe four important principles which I believe can be successfully applied to teaching music, and then illustrate their implementation. I suggest that these applications are particularly valid because I assume a wide interpretation of feminist pedagogy which encompasses not only teaching about women and gender but virtually all other activities in the music curriculum, whether or not they include women and gender components. From this introduction to the subject, I hope that each reader will develop her or his own particular definition and applications of feminist pedagogy.

Feminist pedagogy was first developed in subject areas such as the social sciences and English, where women and gender studies appeared much earlier than in the arts. Consequently, much of the earlier literature on feminist pedagogy, published in the 1980s and early 1990s, was written by scholars in these disciplines. Not unexpectedly, they usually treated this pedagogy theoretically—borrowing frequently from related writings on feminist theory—and generically—with no particular discipline in mind. Only in the past few years has literature appeared which discusses feminist pedagogy applied to specific subject areas such as physical education, nursing education, and business education, and different disciplines have interpreted feminist pedagogy from different viewpoints.4 The arts seem to be among the last disciplines to incorporate this methodology into actual teaching and to articulate its application in print. For example, my List of Sources includes only two items in college art, and only one each in music and theater.5

This time lag in applying feminist pedagogy to music is due to several factors. Overall, as we well know, the field of music has been among the last subject areas to expand beyond a classical Western European white male canon of repertoire and to include gender and sexuality in critical analysis. These socially-based aspects of our art stand in contrast to the traditional, formalist view of music. Further, feminist pedagogy is highly process-oriented, and so reasonably incompatible with the content orientation of the traditional music curriculum. Additionally, the application of feminist pedagogy to a discipline with the specialized subject matter and physical needs required of music truly is not automatic. Applications to music require "translation," as I will illustrate below.

In the short space of this article, I can only generalize about teaching, all the while realizing that the process of teaching is specific and personal to each instructor. Indeed, as indicated, my own experiences inform many of my scholarly interpretations of this subject. I also realize that many of the principles which I label here as feminist pedagogy are already practiced by many in college music without identifying them by this terminology. Additionally, it is worth underlining the point that my goal here is not to demonstrate how the teaching methodology outlined here is particularly "feminist," even though it lends itself extremely well to women/gender courses: to do so risks a singular definition of a term which has wide-ranging interpretations and inferences. Instead, my goal is to examine a method referred to as "feminist pedagogy" which is rooted in principles of feminist theory. Even if features of this methodology may be well-established teaching habits for you, I hope this article will stimulate re-examination of the complex process of teaching.

I was introduced to feminist pedagogy through a faculty development workshop sponsored by my university's women's studies program in summer 1993. Following that seminar, I proposed a new course on Women and Music, which needed to pass a vote of my faculty colleagues in music in order to be added to the curriculum. To gain their approval, I needed to work through my colleagues' fears about a course devoted "solely" to women, and misconceptions about anything labeled "feminist" (I announced that the proposed course would be taught with feminist pedagogy).6 However, I also realized that some of my colleagues' challenges to feminist pedagogy were valid: it is not simple, or at least not automatic, to implement a socially-based methodology such as feminist pedagogy for artistic subject matter as specialized and yet diverse as music, a subject taught in formats as varied as classrooms, studios, rehearsal halls, and football fields, in tasks as different as building reeds, blocking operas, drawing Schenkerian diagrams, and transcribing Medieval notation.

One of my students recently suggested that the vision of university education offered here is pipe-dreaming, far removed from reality, at least as she and I know it in our state university environment. In that way this article might be viewed by some readers as only hypothetical, but even hypothetical images of future possibilities are important to pursue if we hope to change day-to-day realities.7

 

Feminist Pedagogy: Definition and Justification

Higher education overall and music departments specifically seem to focus surprisingly little attention on teaching as part of faculty and student development, when in fact teaching touches all critical aspects of academic life. No matter how we choose to identify ourselves, each of us occupying a post in college music is a music educator, and virtually every instructor's evaluation, renewal, and promotion are influenced by her/his teaching effectiveness. Could it be that it is only the term "pedagogy" itself which has been avoided, perhaps because it implies a more scientific analysis of teaching than some instructors are comfortable with, or perhaps because it identifies teaching as a skill—versus an art or an innate talent—which can be challenged and so improved upon? Regardless of terminology, it seems clear that college music has not rewarded teaching nearly as strongly as research and performance, and in many institutions training in any type of pedagogy for graduate students or faculty is minimal.8 In the past there truly may have been little need to examine and analyze teaching, which was seen by some as a process of conveying a standardized body of knowledge (the canon) to students of predictable age, identity, and cultural background, the latter probably not much different from the instructor's. In strong contrast, our new curricula and student bodies demand new paradigms for teaching, paradigms which regard methodology at least equal in importance to content.

The literature I am presenting in this article defines feminist pedagogy as follows: feminist pedagogy, rooted in feminist theory, addresses subject matters, teaching methods, and personal dynamics in and out of the classroom which are particularly conducive to studying women and gender issues by using vocabularies which address aspects of gender and sexuality as integral components of this subject matter.9 Feminist pedagogy promotes an understanding of how gender and sexuality shape teaching, learning, and awareness of knowledge. Feminist pedagogy is rooted in a socially-based, student-centered orientation to teaching, which considers learning as encompassing not only mastery of a specific body of knowledge but also the process of becoming, a personal assimilation of culture for each of us individually. Consequently, feminist pedagogy permits faculty and students alike to speak with their own voices, on their own terms.10 Clearly feminist pedagogy contrasts with traditional teaching in the traditional music curriculum, which emphasizes formal constructions, static content, and context-free artistic creation. More clarification of specific features of feminist pedagogy appears in the next section of this article.

Feminist pedagogy is presented here as a specifically codified philosophy and methodology of teaching. Published literature does not use the term "feminist pedagogy" generically to encompass automatically anything about women teachers teaching women's content, as I have frequently heard it referred to. Additionally, the gender of the instructor does not automatically determine feminist pedagogy: certainly there are many male teachers who meet the criteria of feminist pedagogues, and women who run "patriarchal" classrooms.

It is easy to understand how feminist pedagogy can enhance teaching of women and gender subjects in music. Indeed, my experiences suggest that it is hard to imagine not using feminist pedagogy, or methodology which resembles it, in Women and Music courses.11 However, applying feminist pedagogy only to women and gender subjects reaches a relatively small group of students. One of the advantages of feminist pedagogy is that its principles can also be applied to a wide range of teaching situations. I prefer to regard feminist pedagogy as a methodology which I can apply, to a greater or lesser degree, in all teaching in the music major curriculum, no matter what the course content, including courses with no obvious connections to women and gender. General application of feminist pedagogy promotes an overall operating environment supportive of diverse viewpoints and voices, as well as a critical attitude toward all musics. Furthermore, broad interpretation of feminist pedagogy echoes the multi-disciplinary origins of most women's studies courses and activities. Examples of both specific and general application of feminist pedagogy to the music curriculum are discussed below.

Feminist pedagogy broadly conceived can have many positive effects on faculty and students. For those who consider themselves feminist pedagogues or who otherwise already identify with this methodology, broad applications allow one to promote feminist principles even without opportunities to teach Women and Music subjects. For faculty who rarely engage in women's issues, or who have ingrained misconceptions about anything labeled "feminist," wide application can introduce salient features of feminism into the college music curriculum in relatively non-threatening ways, helping promote the better way of life which many of us are seeking. Certainly there are many advantages to the student-centered learning which feminist pedagogy promotes. Therefore, paralleling the on-going development of feminist theory in music stimulated by feminist theory in other fields of criticism, it is time to articulate a feminist pedagogy in music, and to do so in part by turning to experiences from other disciplines and existing printed literature as represented in the List of Sources. Understanding some of feminist pedagogy's basic operating principles is the first step in our process of application.

 

Principles of Feminist Pedagogy

Much of the published literature describes feminist pedagogy's characteristics as a way of defining what it is.12 The following discussion of some of these characteristics amplifies the definition I offered above. While many more features could be addressed, four which seem most applicable to college music can be identified as: 1) diversity; 2) opportunities for all voices; 3) shared responsibility; and 4) orientation to action. All of these characteristics have many implications for the teaching/learning process generally.

 

1) Diversity: In part reflective of its multidisciplinary origins, feminist pedagogy's commitment to diversity may be its most powerful characteristic. Feminist pedagogy recognizes and fosters difference in subject matter, learning styles, lifestyles, and cultural backgrounds of teachers and students.13 Obviously, diversity is driving the current curriculum expansion.

Feminist pedagogy promotes diversity in both content and approach. Content is not divided into tight and mutually exclusive compartments as in traditional research.14 Feminist pedagogy is non-hierarchical: one subject is not better than another, and subject matter is not ordered by assumptions about inside and outside, about belonging to and being excluded from. Further, feminist pedagogy discredits the traditional linear approach as the only viable method of problem solving, instead nurturing multiple perspectives of analysis. For example, circular, patchwork, and cubist structures are some of the visual metaphors particularly illustrative of analysis in this system. Based on its respect for difference, feminist pedagogy engenders trust and risk-taking in both students and instructors. Further, because there should not be hidden curricula in feminist pedagogy, students and instructors alike understand fully each others' motivations and goals.15 Trust and risk-taking should be carefully promoted in college music since they are vital to creativity. Unfortunately, environments lacking in trust can easily stifle or at least neutralize creativity within students, faculty, and administrators.16

 

2) Opportunities for all voices: Feminist pedagogy is committed to supporting operating environments which provide opportunities for all voices to speak and to be listened to, a characteristic with many implications.17 Feminist pedagogy recognizes that the process of hearing one's own voice is an effective means of learning and growing. Spoken words concretize one's thoughts and can verify or even deny the validity of concepts which otherwise might have remained as unspoken thoughts. Furthermore, as with subject matter, these voices are not ranked in a hierarchy. The feminist teacher is not a central authority figure, no longer King Henry V, as described by Linda Woodbridge.18 Additionally, in a feminist environment we not only listen to those who come forward to speak, but we provide optimum opportunity for speaking and listening on the part of all, particularly those less accustomed to exercising their voices. An important impact on women students is the opportunity to operate in an environment which values and validates their experiences as women in relation to subject matter.

Equality of voices promotes collaboration, not competition. Collaborative learning, a pedagogy based on relationships and dialogue, is an effective partner to feminist pedagogy.19 While feminist pedagogy respects the voices of all, in some ways it is not democratic if democracy implies that someone has to win and someone has to lose. Feminist pedagogy strives for win/win as often as possible. Furthermore, a sense of humor and lightness, not severity and fear as I have personally known in several traditional settings, pervades the learning environment. Such openness fosters ever greater confidence and creativity.20

In an instructional setting which respects all voices, disagreement can occur but disagreement is also resolved whenever possible. In fact, some suggest that in many situations disagreement is a necessary stimulus to greater creativity. Discussions with students about how to disagree may be necessary, since some may have learned in other courses or in their families that disagreement is to be avoided at all cost.21 Supporting the process of disagreement, the feminist setting recognizes that one's personal values and opinions are relevant to interpreting subject matter. Personal experiences and emotions may carry at least as much weight as intellectual or artistic concepts and contents.

The "voices of all" principle also extends to grading. Feminist pedagogy recognizes that there are no absolute standards for defining quality and progress: louder, longer, and bigger are not automatically synonymous with better. Consequently, this principle suggests that methods of evaluation remain flexible, subject to individual instructional settings. Content and quality of work, not personalities or personal favoritism, will be the basis of evaluation. Grading criteria may be mutually agreed on and should not be changed without consultation between instructor and students. Finally, feminist pedagogy's respect for diversity of lifestyle suggests that an instructor will be prepared to deal with personal emergencies which can temporarily alter work habits of students.

 

3) Shared responsibility: The third principle presented here, mutual or shared responsibility, helps promote opportunities for all voices. Feminist pedagogy develops structures which, to the extent possible, are based on the collaboration of all, not the domination of a few, and particularly not the absolute domination of the instructor. Additionally, in situations where leadership from one or more individuals is required, rotation of responsibility can promote greater ownership in the functioning of the whole.

Additionally it should not be assumed that shared responsibility in teaching means absence of structure. Quite the contrary, structure which promotes inclusive dialogue is vital to a de-centered classroom. It must also be emphasized that shared responsibility does not let the instructor off the hook. In fact, shared responsibility actually demands much greater ingenuity and energy from the instructor than do most traditional hierarchical instructional settings. As expressed by Woodbridge: "Decentered teaching is hard, much harder than an old-style dictatorial lecture. If we simply abdicate sovereignty without having something in its place, the classroom will be like a country that has had a revolution but has no democratic institutions in place. A teacher must forge such institutions, from the beginning of each course."22

A de-centered classroom also enjoys a variety of teaching formats and approaches. Lecturing probably will not be abandoned, but a responsible teacher will know when and how to use lecturing to best advantage.23 Alternative methods of presentation will probably demand more preparation time from the instructor than does the traditional lecture format. The instructor must function as an interpreter of multiple perspectives, or as a facilitator or even model for shared communication and active listening.24 Again Linda Woodbridge pointedly sums up the feminist teacher's role: "Learning to teach undomineeringly is hard. Creating a cubism [i.e. her metaphor for post-modern structures] of the classroom calls forth intellectual and pedagogical sweat."25

 

4) Orientation to action: Finally, committed as it is to process, feminist pedagogy promotes learning by doing. To that end, the feminist educator recognizes that education should consist of both a body of knowledge and skills to implement that knowledge, which obviously is crucial in the performing arts. The feminist educator advances projects and activities which reinforce application as well as theory.26 Consequently, the instructional setting becomes a model for real life, a place which promotes skills of personal interaction which will significantly benefit students outside the classroom. Education becomes relevant, as students see academic subject matter illuminating lifelong personal experiences. The reverse also applies: experiences from the "real world" have application to intellectual pursuits in the academy. Resulting empowerment can lead to social and political action, particularly crucial during current budget and program cuts which threaten the very existence of the arts and our educational systems. 27

 

Applications of Feminist Pedagogy to College Music Teaching

Implementation undoubtedly constitutes the most difficult phase of any new methodology, in part because this is when one is likely to encounter most resistance, spoken or unspoken, as actual change starts to occur. My experiences to date indicate that implementation of feminist pedagogy as I have defined it here requires pro-active promotion of gender equity and also of multiculturalism, multidisciplinarity, and even the fundamental idea of professional development in teaching. Neutrality or passivity in these issues probably will not bring about long-term change in our teaching environments.

College music might take inspiration from the field of college art, which has recognized women and gender studies longer than has music and has recently begun to analyze feminist pedagogy in relation to teaching art. The field is represented in the source list by two articles. Renee Sandell has summarized basic principles of feminist pedagogy in relation to studio arts, much as I have suggested in relation to applied music. Dietrich and Smith-Hurd, likewise committed to finding new ways of teaching new contents, have described creative ways of developing community in large classes, developed basic vocabulary for discussing art by examining a series of images of cows, experimented with creative formats for papers, and developed new methods of giving exams.28

I will illustrate application of the four principles described above to both women's studies in music and the general music major curriculum. I have compartmentalized these applications for purposes of discussion, at the same time recognizing that teaching techniques usually do not exist in isolation from one another, particularly in a process-oriented methodology such as feminist pedagogy. While we might anticipate that feminist pedagogy is easiest in traditional, moderate-sized classroom teaching—that is, teaching situations resembling those of most authors on the source list—I suggest that feminist pedagogy can also occur in the wide range of formats that exist in college music.29

 

1) Diversity: On a practical level, diversity seems the easiest principle to implement across the music curriculum. Minimally, no matter what our specialization, instructors can consider including music by women composers or activities of women musicians in each course, lesson, or rehearsal.30 Lack of accessibility to repertoire can no longer be an excuse for not diversifying repertoire, in light of on-line worldwide cataloguing and electronic transmission of materials. Further, written accounts about the activities of women in music—composers, performers, teachers, leaders, patrons—such as those documented in newspapers, diaries, and on-line discussion groups, are available on microfilm, library databases, and electronic networks. Teaching situations in which women's content truly is not applicable could be used to generate discussion about gender's role in that particular area of music. Diversifying repertoire is an important step toward changing mindsets.

 

2) Opportunities for all voices: Hearing the voices of all may be more difficult than diversifying repertoire. My experiences indicate that equality of voices in the women's studies classroom is relatively easy to achieve. However, in larger classes such as my music history survey course, whose enrollment is usually about sixty, developing skills in active speaking and listening in all students is much harder and demands far greater promotion from the instructor than in smaller classes.

The principle of "all voices" can be implemented in varied venues. Among the more common ways of restructuring classroom settings are small-group interactive sessions, team research projects and presentations, and peer evaluations, with the instructor playing an active role in monitoring and equalizing participation to ward off unfocused conversation and wasted time. However, applied instruction can be organized in similar fashion, through master classes in which students observe and also teach or coach one another. Large ensembles can also invest in varied rehearsal formats: for example, students may be given responsibility for a portion of a sectional or a full rehearsal on some sort of rotational basis.

The issue of grading is subject to many different applications. Theoretically, one could argue that feminist pedagogy's equalizing principles are incompatible with a system which endows one person, namely the instructor, with the power to award grades to the others in the system. Once again, turning to process helps reconcile these possibly incompatible conditions. In smaller classes I have opened up the discussion about the process of grading to everyone, with my voice an equal partner in discussions, to decide which activities will determine grades for the course, while the final decisions about grades remained totally my responsibility. In larger classes (my largest for general students can total 250) obviously such personalized discussion about grading or any other matter is impossible, but I frequently offer students some options in the activities they apply toward their total points for the course.

Finally, I believe we must understand respect for "all voices" to also mean respect for "all parts of students' beings." My experiences to date suggest that power plays between instructors and students can occur on many levels and assume many guises, particularly in the various private settings in music instruction such as the one-on-one of studio teaching. Promoting feminist pedagogy's principles can help condition students to realizing that power playing is not appropriate professional behavior: communication should be personalized but must not become personal. Feminist pedagogy's ethical standards do not in any way justify physical or psychological abuse between instructors and students.31 Feminist pedagogy's commitment to action can help students pro-actively take a stand against such conduct.

 

3) Shared responsibility: The principle of shared responsibility is one of the harder principles to promote in music programs since the process of professional development as a musician often includes internal focus on the self, rather than outward responsibility to a system. Consequently, shared responsibility is one of the greatest challenges for the feminist pedagogue and, in my experience, the principle which commands the most on-the-spot attention.

For students, shared responsibility is stronger in smaller classes. The challenge for me has been to instill individual ownership within students in larger classes and activities, particularly those whose subject matters the students are not strongly committed to. Finding means of conveying the message that each and every student is recognized and important, and also that success of the course depends on total participation from each person, is one of feminist pedagogy's greatest challenges. Personalizing interaction between instructors and students as often as possible, and assigning various practical tasks to students are two ways of promoting shared responsibility.

For the instructor, shared responsibility includes her/his commitment to getting the job done, no matter what the circumstances of the instructional setting. On a practical level, a committed feminist pedagogue sees to it that pedagogical goals will be met no matter what, which may involve scheduling appropriate rooms, personally moving furniture and equipment, or finding alternate ways of getting the job done.32 Pedagogically, new teaching methods may require modeling or clarifying from the instructor. For example, before walking into your class some students may unfortunately never before have been given an opportunity to learn that their voices are important. In such cases, the instructor must be prepared to demonstrate active talking and listening, to provide models for a new and potentially threatening operating procedure. New methods of instruction and evaluation may also need to be explained to faculty colleagues and administrators. To many, deviations from traditional instruction and evaluation may seem the ultimate relinquishing of power and authority on the part of an instructor. Particularly to optimize promotion and tenure reviews, discussing new instructional procedures with colleagues, and inviting them to observe classes might allay misunderstandings about changes which any new pedagogy sets in motion.

 

4) Orientation to action: An action-oriented curriculum suggests learning by doing. Action can be stimulated by varied activities which engage students directly, activities which also enhance intellectual growth and self-identity. Orientation to action is important for all music students, but in different ways and to different degrees for men and women. Women's studies classes can include activities which model practical ways for women to recognize impediments to professional advancement because of gender, and means for overcoming such impediments. All music students can benefit from classes which demonstrate extra-musical skills, such as in computer software and technology, or publicity and promotion, which can significantly enhance their professional profiles.

Instructional activities such as journal-keeping, discussions of historical developments, and advocacy, engage all students in some degree of immediate action or reaction to the learning process. Classroom instruction may be the most conducive to journal keeping, but any type of performance activity also can be enhanced by the reflection and review which journals promote. In all courses, discussions concerning what history is and how it is written can help clarify why marginalized groups have been left out of the canon of history, and how our past still influences current professional practices. Understanding written history as a product of personal interpretation, not an absolute record of quantifiable facts, opens up many doors to greater awareness and curiosity. Finally, in this current threatening political climate, instruction in social and political advocacy teaches students important professional skills and, if successfully implemented, also helps the arts.

 

Advantages of Feminist Pedagogy

I have tried to demonstrate some applications of feminist pedagogy to college music. In addition to enlightening students and enhancing teaching, these applications can improve the overall environment of music departments. Through applications across the music curriculum, feminist pedagogy can actually unite women and men, faculty and students, and colleagues from diverse interest areas in music. Its focus on student-centered learning and personal development suggests that feminist pedagogy can improve communications in departments beleaguered by interpersonal abuses and violations of personal and professional boundaries. Personal empowerment, which is fostered by feminist pedagogy, should promote better understanding of appropriate boundaries between students and professors.

Feminist pedagogy's capacity to respond to the varied profiles of students who populate women's studies courses parallels the broader challenge facing the profession of music to examine its relevance to the world beyond professional music-making. Feminist pedagogy and all its ramifications can help connect music faculty with departments, subject matter, and colleagues across the curriculum. In return, such connections can enhance campus-wide understanding of the particular physical needs and pedagogical conditions which exist in music departments, potentially benefiting funding, evaluations, and tenure reviews for music at the college or university level.

Feminist pedagogy offers many other benefits to college music. Examining literature such as that on our List of Sources can focus our attention on teaching, particularly in relation to new subjects in our curriculum. Feminist pedagogy applied broadly as I have presented it here might suggest different nomenclature. However, identification of this pedagogy as "feminist" can remind us of its roots in feminist theory and also reinforce its appropriateness for the growing number of women- and gender-related activities in college music. Feminist pedagogy enhances numerous aspects of college music as it looks ahead to the twentieth-first century.

In summary, the exhilaration fostered by feminist pedagogy is expressed by Linda Woodbridge (underlining mine): "The postmodern classroom is often uncomfortable and taxing, what with all its unclothings and uncrownings.... here is no solitary drowse of note-taking but a communal effort at learning. Even at its worst, such learning at least builds survival skills. When it is moderately successful, it hones the wits, raises questions about meaning and evidence and logic, and helps bring texts alive as conflicted (rather than safely mapped) territory. And, at its best, it is fun."33

 

List of Sources on Feminist Pedagogy

# collection of essays

Annas, Pam J. "Style as Politics: A Feminist Approach to the Teaching of Writing." College English 47 (1985), 360-71.

Arpad, Susan S. "Learning Hungarian as an Experience in Feminist Pedagogy." Feminist Teacher 8 (Spring 1994), 20-23.

Bartlett, Maria, and Susan Tebb. "Teaching Feminist Practice: Support, Transition, Change." Affilia 10 (Winter 1995), 442-57.

Bell, Lee. "Hearing All Our Voices: Applications of Feminist Pedagogy." Women's Studies Quarterly 21 (Fall/Winter 1993), 107-13.

# Biklen, Sari Knopp. School Work: Gender and the Cultural Construction of Teaching. New York: Teachers College Press, 1995.

# Biklen, Sari Knopp, and Diane Pollard, eds. Gender and Education. Chicago: NSSE: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

Birch, Mary, and Cheri Lucas. "Lifting Our Morale and Inspiring Our Teaching: Developing a Feminist Pedagogy Retreat." Feminist Teacher 9 (Spring 1995), 29-34.

Blair, Maud, Janet Holland, and Sue Sheldon. Identity and Diversity: Gender and the Experience of Education: A Reader. Clevedon & Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters, 1995.

# Border, Laura L. B., and Nancy Van Note Chism, eds. Teaching for Diversity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1992.

Brady, Jeanne. Schooling Young Children: A Feminist Pedagogy for Liberatory Learning. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

Bright, Clare. "Teaching Feminist Pedagogy: An Undergraduate Source." Women's Studies Quarterly 21 (Fall 1993), 128-32.

Brown, Julie. "Theory or Practice: What is Feminist Pedagogy?" Journal of General Education 41 (1992), 51ff.

# Cahalan, Hames M., and David B. Downing, eds. Changing Classroom Practices: Resources for Literary and Cultural Studies. Urbana, Ill.: National Council of Teachers of English, 1994.

Casey, Kathleen. I Answer with My Life: Life Histories of Women Teachers Working for Social Change. New York: Routledge, 1993.

# Castenell, Louis A., and William F. Pinar, eds. Understanding Curriculum as Racial Text: Representations of Identity and Difference in Education. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993.

# Caywood, Cynthie L., and Gillian R. Overing, eds. Teaching Writing: Pedagogy, Gender, and Equity.Albany: State University of New York Press, c. 1987.

Chopp, Rebecca S. "Educational Process, Feminist Practice." Christian Century (February 1 1995), 111-15.

. Religion: Saving Work: Feminist Practices of Theological Education. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995.

Citron, Marcia. Gender and the Musical Canon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Code, Lorraine. What Can She Know? Feminist Theory and the Construction of Knowledge. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.

# Culley, Margo, and Catherine Portuges, eds. Gendered Subjects: The Dynamics of Feminist Teaching. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985.

Davis, Barbara Hillyer. "Teaching the Feminist Minority," 245-52.
Friedman, Susan Stanford. "Authority in the Feminist Classroom," 203-08.

Davis, Fran, Arlene Steiger, and Karen Tennenhouse. Practical Assessment of Feminist Pedagogy. Quebec: Direction generale de l'enseignement collegial, programme d'aide à la recherche sur l'enseignement et l'apprentissage, 1988.

# Deats, Sara Munson, and Lagretta Tallent Lenker, eds. Gender & Academe: Feminist Pedagogy and Politics. Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield, 1994.

Woodbridge, Linda. "The Centrifugal Classroom," 133-151.

Dietrich, Linnea, and Diane Smith-Hurd. "Feminist Approaches to the Survey." Art Journal 54 (Fall 1995), 44-47.

Dooley, Deborah Anne. Plain and Ordinary Things: Reading Women in the Writing Classroom. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995.

# Downing, David B., ed. Changing Classroom Practices: Resources for Literary and Cultural Studies. Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 1994.

Dunn, Kathleen. "Feminist Teaching: Who Are Your Students?" Women's Studies Quarterly 21 (Fall 1993), 39-45.

Fain, George. "Teaching Women's History." Clearing House 68 (May 1995), 268-69.

Ferber, Marianne A. "The Study of Economics: A Feminist Critique." American Economic Review 85 (May 1995), 357-61.

Finke, Laurie. "Knowledge as Bait: Feminism, Voice, and the Pedagogical Unconscious." College English 55 (January 1993), 7-27.

Fiol-Matta, Liza. "Litmus Tests for Curriculum Transformation." Women's Studies Quarterly 21 (Fall 1993), 161-63.

Fisher, Berenice. "The Heart Has Its Reasons: Feeling, Thinking, and Community-Building in Feminist Education." Women's Studies Quarterly 21 (Fall 1993), 75- 87.

. "What is Feminist Pedagogy?" Radical Teacher 18 (1981), 20-24.

Fisher, Jerilyn. "Returning Women in the Feminist Classroom." Women's Studies Quarterly 21 (Fall 1993), 122-27.

# Fonow, Mary Margaret, ed. Beyond Methodology: Feminist Scholarship as Lived Research. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.

# Gabriel, Susan L., and Isaiah Smithson, eds. Gender in the Classroom: Power and Pedagogy. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990.

Flynn, Elizabeth A. "Composing as a Woman." 112-26.
Heilbrun, Carolyn G. "Politics of the Mind: Women, Tradition, & the University." 28-40.

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1Frances A. Maher and Mary Kay Thompson Tetreault, The Feminist Classroom (New York: Basic Books, 1994), 4.

2The published literature on feminist pedagogy has burgeoned in the past several years. My List of Sources reflects perhaps one-quarter to one-half of the available material. Related topics such as women in higher education and feminist theory in varied endeavors constitutes an even larger body of resources. I have tried to emphasize more recent publications, particularly from 1993-96, work which tends to be more discipline-specific and so more relevant to our application to music. I have personally read or surveyed the contents of all items on the list. Collections with multiple authors are noted and in some cases particularly relevant articles are cited after the title of the collection. Most items on the source list should be available in any moderate-size college library.

3This article also is not intended to be a resource for materials on teaching women/gender in music, information accessible by a variety of databases and bibliographies and already known to many readers.

4See Carolyn Shrewsbury, "Feminist Pedagogy: An Updated Bibliography," Women's Studies Quarterly 21 (Fall/Winter 1993), 151, for some course/discipline specific repertoire.

5Certainly my list is not comprehensive, but does reflect the relative imbalance in the literature by discipline. Marcia Citron, Gender and the Music Canon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), comes closest of any published work in music to date to address feminist pedagogy. See her final chapter on "The Canon in Practice," particularly in the section on "Canonic Modelings and Teachings," 199-228. Clearly canon development is closely related to issues of pedagogy. See also Renee Sandell, "The Liberating Relevance of Feminist Pedagogy," Studies in Art Education 32 (Spring 1991), 178-87; Linnea Dietrich and Diane Smith-Hurd, "Feminist Approaches in the Survey," Art Journal 54 (Fall 1995), 44-47; and Stacey Wolf, "Talking About Pornography," Theatre Research International 19 (Spring 1994), 29-36. Proceedings from the recent International Conference on Music, Gender, and Pedagogics, ed. Margaret Myers, at the University of Goteborg, Goteborg, Sweden, in April 1996, will appear in print at an unannounced date.

6Change in academia can encounter multiple roadblocks. A recent essay examined higher education's lethargy toward change. See John J. Siegfried, Malcolm Getz, Kathryn H. Anderson, "The Snail's Pace of Innovation in Higher Education," Chronicle of Higher Education 41, no.36 (19 May 1995), A56. Is the resistance to change even stronger in the arts than in other fields? In my experience, Women and Music courses hardly ever find clear sailing. I may have a lopsided view of education, but it often seems that change in the arts faces as much opposition from within individual disciplines as from outside pressures.

7As Carolyn Heilbrun has argued, it may actually be politics and not gender which is at the heart of much discrimination and warfare on campuses: gender is just easier to attack than politics in many cases. Carolyn Heilbrun, "The Politics of the Mind: Women, Tradition, and the University," in Gender in the Classroom: Power and Pedagogy, ed. Susan Gabriel and Isaiah Smithson (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), 28-40.

8Conversations with colleagues around the country suggest that many are eager to discuss teaching techniques, although direct access to such conversations is minimal. The College Music Society has sponsored a variety of professional development activities and workshops, including those on teaching world music, women and music, and tonal theory.

9I have developed this definition from a synthesis of many readings. In particular, see Carolyn Shrewsbury, "What is Feminist Pedagogy?" Women's Studies Quarterly 21 (Fall/Winter 1993), 6-14; and Julie Brown, "Theory or Practice: What is Feminist Pedagogy?" Journal of General Education 41 (1992), 51ff. Additionally, "feminist pedagogy" closely parallels the definition of "radical-teacher" which appears on the back cover of the journal Radical Teacher 47 (Fall 1995).

10Carol Gilligan, In A Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1982).

11It should be noted that the Women and Music course I proposed was passed, and has been given in three different versions to date. Many of my personal applications of feminist pedagogy described below are drawn from those courses.

12Maher and Tetreault found four critical themes operating in the feminist classroom, which they characterized as mastery, voice, authority, and positionality. See Maher and Tetreault, The Feminist Classroom, 15-42. Shrewsbury characterizes feminist pedagogy as centered around empowerment, community, and leadership. See Shrewsbury, "What is Feminist Pedagogy?" 8-11. Sandell's earmarks of feminist pedagogy include collaboration, cooperation, and interaction. See Sandell, "The Liberating Relevance," 186.

13See Lee Bell, "Hearing All Our Voices: Applications of Feminist Pedagogy," Women's Studies Quarterly 21 (Fall/Winter 1993), 108ff.

14Linda Woodbridge, "The Centrifugal Classroom," in Gender and Academe, ed. Sara Munson Deats & Lagretta Tallent Lenker (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994), 143. "Both feminism and postmodernism advocate the dissolution of boundaries. If one of the hallmarks of the postmodern is the permeability of boundaries, especially the boundary between outside and inside, then students who approach canonical texts through schemata provided by television or tabloids are making a postmodern move in effacing the boundary between academic and popular/commercial discourse."

15Sandell, "The Liberating Relevance," 181.

16Shrewsbury, "What is Feminist Pedagogy?" 6.

17See Gilligan, In a Different Voice, and Mary Belenky, Blythe Clinchy, Jill Goldberger, & Jill Tarule, Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind (New York: Basic Books, 1986). See also Bell, "Hearing All Our Voices," 108-09, and Sandell, "The Liberating Relevance," 182.

18Woodbridge, "The Centrifugal Classroom," 134. Woodbridge notes how written history is a record of an elite minority rather than a common majority. "Just as we are beginning to listen, in literature, to marginalized voices, to argue that what the solider William says about the ethics of war may be as important and as valid as what King Henry V says, so we are starting to uncrown the instructor as the classroom's voice of wisdom, to seek postmodern teaching strategies wherein many voices are heard and the instructor is no longer King Henry. A rebellious, anti-authoritarian feminism has taught us to let the silenced be heard. But to believe in postmodern pedagogy is by no means as hard as to practice it." See also Mary Ann Gawelek, Maggie Mulqueen, & Jill Mattuck Tarule, "Woman to Woman: Understanding the Needs of Our Female Students," Gender and Academe, ed. Sara Munson Deats & Lagretta Tallent Lenker (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994), 181.

19Some work on collaborative learning includes Sally Barr Reagan, Thomas Fox, and David Bleich, Writing with New Directions in Collaborative Teaching (Albany: State University of New York Press, c.1994); Sandell, "The Liberating Relevance," 182; Gawelek, Mulqueen, & Tarule, "Woman to Woman," 182-183.

20Sandell, "The Liberating Relevance," 181.

21Woodbridge, "The Centrifugal Classroom," 138.

22 Ibid., 135.

23Ibid., 146.

24Sandell, "The Liberating Relevance," 183.

25Woodbridge, "The Centrifugal Classroom," 134.

26Sara Munson Deats, "Navigating in a Brave New World: Teaching Feminist Literary Criticism," in Gender and Academe, ed. Sara Munson Deats & Lagretta Tallent Lenker (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994), 127.

27Brown, "Theory or Practice," 52; Shrewsbury, "What is Feminist Pedagogy," 5.

28Sandell, "The Liberating Relevance;" Dietrich & Smith-Hurd, "Feminist Approaches in the Art Survey."

29Linda Woodbridge argues that the postmodern, feminist approach can be adapted to any classroom teaching. See "The Centrifugal Classroom," 133-151.

30I do not want to promote women as representative of all marginalized groups; to promote diversity obviously one can include the music of many other underrepresented musicians in this diversification of the curriculum.

31Ironically, even though the arts traditionally have been feminized by society, often authoritarian pedagogies and administrations dominate college departments in the arts. Sandell, "The Liberating Relevance," 183, suggests that (visual) art departments have been stifled for so long that some in those departments may not even be aware of the abusive systems under which they live.

32Woodbridge, "The Centrifugal Classroom," 133.

33Woodbridge, "The Centrifugal Classroom," 150.

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