4.4.2 A Guide to Feminist Pedagogy

“Conversation on Teaching” Panel at Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching. Photo Credit: Anne Rayner ; VUMC, 2010. CC BY-NC 2.0.


While the previous learning material gave a historical overview of feminism situated in the Global North and West, it only hinted at the underlying philosophy that makes feminism a distinct ideology. Feminism introduces an ontology and epistemology distinct from and at times in opposition to the core tenets of dominant liberal philosophy. This guide to feminist pedagogy produced by Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching highlights the theories of personhood, knowledge, and relationship that lead feminist practice and scholarship to attend to experiences and social dynamics elided by other fields.


Read: A Guide to Feminist Pedagogy // Vanderbilt Center for Teaching


Guiding Questions:

  1. How does feminist pedagogy, and its contention that knowledge is socially produced, differ from teaching practices based on assumptions of hierarchy and individualism? Have you experienced both of these teaching styles?
  2. Does feminist pedagogy believe it is possible, or even desirable, to be a neutral and objective scholar?
  3. Why does feminism question “rational” scholarship that denies emotion? Do you see any parallels to religious forms of knowing that may also be labelled “irrational”?
  4. What do you think it means that “perspectives, emotions, and resulting opinions are… contextualized, limited, and bound to structures of power (Ellsworth)“? How does a person’s place in various identity hierarchies—their social location—affect their perspective?
  5. What are the identities you bring to the classroom? How do these affect your interaction with things you learn?
  6. How is power integral to pedagogy? Whose voices are included in the texts you have studied? Whose voices and perspectives are marginal, or not included at all?