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Claudia Mitchell

I met Roxanne Harde, the guest editor of this Special Issue, at the Second International Girls Studies Association conference in 2019 when I attended the panel discussion, “Representations of Rape in Young Adult Fiction.” I recall Roxanne’s passion vividly and, indeed, the enthusiasm of all three presenters as they discussed a variety of texts in superb presentations that aligned well with Ann Smith’s notion of feminism in action in their seeing “a fictional text not only as a literary investigation into issues of concern to its author but also as the site of educational research” (2000: 245). Their papers pointed to the ways in which the analysis of how rape culture is treated in Young Adult (YA) literature, film, and the print media can take scholars and activists so much further into the issues, and, at the same time, noted the ways in which rape culture in all its manifestations as a global phenomenon has inevitably led to its becoming an everyday topic of YA fiction.

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Roxanne Harde

In 1983, Andrea Dworkin addressed the Midwest Men’s Conference in Minneapolis. She discussed the rape culture in which we live, noted the similarities between rape and war, and, following the title of her talk, asked for a “24-hour truce in which there is no rape.” And she asked why men and boys are so slow to understand that women and girls “are human to precisely the degree and quality that [they] are” (n.p.). Every sexual assault begins with the dehumanization of the victim. And sometimes, after the violation, after the pain and the fear, comes the institutional dehumanization visited upon the victim who seeks medical or legal help. Two recent memoirs bring to the surface rape culture, evident in the young men who raped these girls and the systemic dehumanization they suffered when they sought justice. Chanel Miller’s Know My Name (2019) describes the aftermath of being sexually assaulted, when she was just out of college and still living at home, by someone she met at a fraternity party. Although the case against her rapist was as strong as possible–there were eyewitnesses and physical evidence was collected immediately–he was sentenced to only six months in the county jail, and she was repeatedly shamed, her humanity denied by the judicial system. Lacy Crawford’s Notes on a Silencing (2020) describes the aftermath of being sexually assaulted, when she was 15, by two boys, students at her New England boarding school, including an account of how school officials refused to do anything other than label her promiscuous and protect the boys. The ways in which she was silenced by St. Paul’s, which disregarded her health and future, and denied her humanity because she was only a girl, were profound. In both cases, the promising future of the perpetrators was prioritized over the humanity of the girls by many institutions, including the judiciary and the press. Crawford was raped just seven years after Dworkin made her plea to that men’s conference, but Miller was assaulted twenty-five years after, making perfectly clear that rape culture has become only more entrenched.

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Steven Roberts and Karla Elliott

Abstract

Raewyn Connell famously theorized hegemonic masculinity, explaining its dominance over femininity and “subordinated” and “marginalized” masculinities. Attending to representations of the latter, we argue that “men in the margin” are commonly wrongly and/or simplistically depicted as regressive and violent in response to their marginalization. Focusing on representations of working-class boys and men, we illustrate the stereotypical treatment of “men in the margin” more broadly, making clear that this goes against Connell's treatment of such men. Conversely, privileged boys and men are commonly held up by critical studies on men and masculinities scholars as paragons of progressive change. The characterization of boys and men in the margin as regressive and patriarchal impedes the ability to address problems like violence, misogyny, and homophobia and overlooks the possibilities for transformation that emerge among marginalized communities.

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Creating a reflective space in higher education

The case of a Swedish course for professional principals

Katina Thelin

Abstract

This article considers the conditions, possibilities, and challenges of creating what is referred to here as a ‘reflective space’ within a higher education course for principals. It is informed by the findings of a qualitative research inquiry conducted in the interests of enhancing the principals’ learning and professional praxis and the university educators’ pedagogical praxis, within a Swedish course for school and preschool principals. Analysis of the findings highlighted two significant patterns. The first relates to the transformative benefits of creating a ‘reflective space’ for the principals attending the course. The second is more ambiguous and reflects their relation to and engagement with scientifically constructed knowledge. Based on these findings, the article offers considerations relevant for creating ‘reflective spaces’ as a means to enhance the quality of learning in higher education. Additionally, some guiding pedagogical implications are included in the final remarks.

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Editorial

Walking on the edge: Educational praxis in higher education

Lill Langelotz, Kathleen Mahon, and Giulia Messina Dahlberg

Abstract

This special issue is a collection of articles that emerged from a series of symposia on praxis in higher education, aimed at critically exploring challenges and possibilities for educational praxis, including its role in the contemporary university. The collection highlights the need for asking critical and uncomfortable questions about what is and what could be in higher education. It calls for more focused attention on the consequences of what we do as teachers and university communities, both intentionally and inadvertently, so that higher education can be more socially just and responsive to student and societal needs amidst contemporary challenges. In explicating the concept of ‘educational praxis’, the editorial introduces the metaphor of ‘walking on the edge’ to illustrate the concept's ‘uncomfortable dimension’ in terms of academics’ responsibility to engage critically with challenging issues in endeavours to address educational concerns.

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Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta, Giulia Messina Dahlberg, and Sylvi Vigmo

Abstract

This article focuses on the Swedish context of upper and post-upper secondary education provided in two sectors, universities and the Swedish Folk High School. The article is centred on the analysis of the support services offered by fifty-five university and Swedish Folk High School institutional websites to individuals and groups designated as being ‘peripheral’. Taking as a point of departure a ‘practiced policies’ theoretical position, the study focuses on the ‘situated nature’ of institutional policies, that is, how policies become operationalised in local institutional contexts. Of interest is the nature of expectations placed on participants in the provision of support, and the ways in which different target groups are conceptualised and categorised. The findings of this national scale mapping, that build on two ongoing projects concerning equity and social justice, are discussed in terms of fundamental dimensions of democracy that shape students’ opportunities to access upper and post-upper secondary education.

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Aimee Haley

Abstract

Using Bourdieu's Theory of Practice, this study examines the practices of Swedish students when entering higher education. Logistic regression is used to examine relationships between the educational resources and geographical origins of students born 1973–1982 (N = 382,198) and 1) their probability of migration when entering higher education and 2) the type of institution they entered. The results indicate that students’ practices differ by geographical origin, suggesting that students use migration in different ways to access higher education. For example, the students with the highest probability of migration are students originating from rural areas with high upper-secondary grades and students from large urban areas with low grades. Implications for expanding access to higher education while also creating sustainable communities are discussed.

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Ghostly Presences OUT THERE

Transgender Girls and Their Families in the Time of COVID

Sally Campbell Galman

Meet Lily: Hi! I'm Lily. I'm 12 years old and I'm going into junior high school next year. I have curly black hair like my dad and green eyes like my mom. It's been 170 days since school and life and shops and stuff all shut down and my little sister Chloe and I really REALLY want COVID to be over. We play dolls and read and go for walks but I also spend a lot of time online texting and stuff with my friends.

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The Girlhood Project

Pivoting our Model with Girls During COVID-19

Cheryl Weiner, Kathryn Van Demark, Sarah Doyle, Jocelyn Martinez, Fia Walklet, and Amy Rutstein-Riley

Abstract

The Girlhood Project (TGP) is a community based, service-learning/research program that is part of the undergraduate course at Lesley University called “Girlhood, Identity and Girl Culture.” TGP works with community partners to bring middle and high school girls to Lesley's campus for nine weeks as part of intergenerational girls’ groups that are co-facilitated by Lesley students (also referred to as TGP students). TGP fosters the development of feminist leadership, critical consciousness, voice, and community action, and activism in all participants. In this article, we describe how we adapted TGP's model to a virtual and synchronous platform for students during COVID-19 and supported their learning competencies. We reflect critically on this experience by centering the voices and perspectives of girls, students, and professors.

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Jennifer A. Thompson, Sarah L. Fraser, Rocio Macabena Perez, Charlotte Paquette, and Katherine L. Frohlich

Abstract

In this article, we feature photographs and cellphilms produced by 13 girls and young women (aged 13 to 19) from urban, rural, and Indigenous areas of Quebec, Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Framed within girls’ studies, we present girls’ and young women's creations and co-analysis about wellbeing during a period of lockdown. We explore how girls and young women restructured their routines at home as well as negotiated motivation and the pressure to be productive. We note that girls had more time than usual for creative activities and self-discovery and that they engaged with the politics of the pandemic and advocated for collective forms of wellbeing. Importantly, girls reported that participating in this research improved their wellbeing during this lockdown.