This is an archived course. A more recent version may be available at ocw.mit.edu.
My philosophy of teaching is based in the notion of student-centered learning. My working hypothesis is that students can learn most effectively when they feel a direct need to take in new material, digest it thoroughly, and integrate it into their understanding of the world.
Accordingly, my goal is to provide readings that will challenge students to think about the world around them in new ways, whether to open their eyes to the suffering associated with poverty or to introduce them to the global interconnectedness in sneaker production. I ask them to analyze thorny issues such as pornography, free speech, and the protection of women; the evolution of motherhood and the devaluation of women's work in the home; the politics and practices of the welfare state; the challenges and dilemmas of militarism for women's participation in the body politic, and so on.
Recently, I have asked students to learn practical forms of writing as well: how to write a letter to the editor and an opinion piece and how to analyze the materials they are reading from a feminist theory perspective. Letters to the editor and op-ed pieces can empower students to feel that their views matter; and, writing such pieces can encourage students to research a topic thoroughly so that they have all the information at their fingertips. The world we live in has grown so complicated that it more than ever requires everyone to add his or her voice, to demonstrate a sense of citizenship through careful attention to issues and to communicate those insights and understanding.