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Transgendered transitions:

Apprentice academics reflecting on their adoption


of scholarly identities via transgender research
Kate Power
IGALA 9, May 19 - 21, 2016
City University of Hong Kong

katpower@mail.ubc.ca

Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

WRDS 150 (Writing, Research &


Discourse Studies)

Disability studies
Disgust
Forceful feelings
Health, medicine & science
The human body
Homelessness
International development
Linguistic landscapes
Oral history
Religion
Self-control
Social media
Transgender studies
Travel
Human rights

http://asrw.arts.ubc.ca/firstyear/wrds-150/course-descriptions/

Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Research questions

1. What are students learning, and how does that


relate to the instructors social reform goals?
2. To what extent, and in what ways, do students take
on an academic identity by reading, critiquing and
producing their own scholarly research in
transgender studies?
3. In what ways might transitioning be a helpful
metaphor for understanding and facilitating
students self-identification as academic
apprentices?
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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Data collection & analysis


Student perspectives:
a. in-class written reflections (59)
b. email interviews (2)

Instructor perspective:
a. syllabus and other materials
b. e-interviews (2)
c. in-person interview

Content & discourse analysis


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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

https://twitter.com/heatjarvis/status/685065082246688768?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/jennatalackovas-disqualification-from-miss-universe-canadasparks-fresh-outrage

1A. WHAT ARE STUDENTS LEARNING?


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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Research & writing (R&W)


learning outcomes
What have you learned about academic research and
writing in this course? (97%)
Ive learned how to break down an academic article, how to
identify a state of knowledge, knowledge deficit and
method. Ive learned how to make gist notes and the
importance of rephrasing rather than regurgitating to
understand. 150-18-01

Have you used anything you learned in this course


outside of this course? (68%)
What I found incredibly fascinating is how applicable
academic writing is to my other courses. WRDS 150 really
prepared me for writing a solid microeconomics research
essay. 150-20-14
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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Topic area (TA)


learning outcomes - unprompted
LEARNED about transgender issues (6/37, 16%)
the overall topic of my WRDS 150 course is very interesting
to me, and I think that I have learned a lot about
transgender people and the struggles they must
overcome in their everyday lives. 150-19-10
I found that the topics discussed in class surrounding
transgender people and the community itself was
something that I had never really exposed myself to;
actually learn and understand the issues that run in
society about transgender people and how they face
multiple obstacles along the way is very interesting. Not
only did I learn about academic writing, I learned more
about transgender people which is essentially two courses
in one. 150-20-07
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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

TA learning outcomes unprompted


USED NEW KNOWLEDGE about trans* issues (3/37,
11%)
I think the articles Ive read in this class give me a better
understanding of transgender people, and I feel that I
respect them and support them more. 150-18-08
I want to remember to be more open-minded when it
comes to both diversity in gender and sexuality and to be
more empathetic and understanding of the issues
surround these topics 150-20-05
a very interesting and mind opening topic that should be
discussed more about in any classroom setting as it is an
important to be more aware and accepting. 150-20-07
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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Topic area

Research &
writing (R&W)
outcomes

R&W use

Topic area
outcomes

Topic area
use

2/2

100

0/2

1/2

50

0/2

52/53

98

30/53

57

18/52

34

10/52

19

6/6

100

0/6

2/6

33

1/6

17

Disability studies

26/26

100

12/26

46

7/26

27

6/26

23

Transgender

36/37

97

25/37

68

6/37

16

3/37

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Linguistic
landscapes

50/53

94

29/53

55

8/53

15

1/53

International dev.

45/46

98

21/46

46

6/46

13

3/46

Social media

53/57

93

32/57

56

2/57

0/57

Human body

14/15

93

7/15

47

0/15

0/15

6/6

100

3/6

50

0/6

0/6

Medicine, etc.
(mental health)
Human rights
Self-control

Forceful feelings

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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

TA learning outcomes prompted


learned about transgender issues (11/22, 50%)
I was also entirely uninformed on transgender people
when I began the course, so I have learned an enormous
amount about the gender binary, self-identification, etc.
150W-16-01

applied new knowledge about transgender issues


(6/22, 27%)
When talking to my friends, I have better vocabulary and
know terminology when talking about transgender issues.
150W-15-01

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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

1B. SOCIAL REFORM GOALS


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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Pratt, D. (2002) Good teaching: One size fits all?


New Directions for Adult and Continuing
Education, 93, 5-15.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Transmission
Apprenticeship
Developmental
Nurturing
Social reform

http://www.teachingperspectives.com/tpi/

awaken students to values and


ideologies embedded in texts and
common practices within their
disciplines challenge the status
quo encourage students to
consider how learners are
positioned and constructed in
particular discourses and
pratices take critical stances
take social action to improve their
own lives and the lives of others
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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Countering
a lack of institutional support for trans* studies

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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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Humanizing, de-exoticizing work

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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Student research paper titles


(2016 sample)
Transgender People in Islamic Communities: Cultural Hegemony
and Islam
A Path of Thorns: Transgender Engineering Students Lives in
Higher Education
Candy Darling: A Superstar Legacy, an Inspiration
Transgender Families: The Effects of Parent Gender Transitions
on Their Children
Comparing Cisgender and Transgender Media Writers
Representation of Transgender People in Developing Countries
Words and Pictures: The Representation of Transgender
Characters in Childrens Literature
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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

my research project revolved around the ways in


which language can influence our perceptions of
the transgender community. I explored how the
number of gender distinctions inherent within a
particular language can contribute to the rate of
transgender discrimination on a global basis. I
chose this topic to attempt at finding an underlying
cause in the perpetuation of transgender
discrimination.

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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Promoting trans* epistemologies

http://www.570news.com/2016/01/15/university-of-victoria-announces-worlds-first-chair-of-transgender-studies/

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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Syllabus
While the course readings come from several disciplines, they
are also linked through their subject matter. All are drawn
from transgender studies, a multidisciplinary field of research
which investigates the increasingly visible and important
presence of transgender people in western culture. Because
scholars working in the field of transgender studies come from
many disciplinary homes, we will be uniquely positioned to
examine varying approaches to this research field. To this end,
the course readings include journal articles from three broad
disciplinary areas: (1) education, (2) sociology, and (3) cultural
studies.
while our focus will be on academic writing, you will also
develop a knowledge base in the field of transgender studies.
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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Sample student research proposal


I will take into consideration that I am a cis person
myself, and thus will have consultation from trans
people as I do my research. [. . .] My own research
will be significant because it will allow trans students
themselves to do the analysis after the data created
by the cis students is collected.

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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

2. ADOPTING AN ACADEMIC IDENTITY


VIA TRANSGENDER STUDIES
Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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I have a complicated relationship to academia


doing my own research helped me uncover my
own academic voice. As a mature student, thinking
of myself as an apprentice academic is
simultaneously discombobulating and synergising. It
stimulated my critical thinking to be sure, and I
gained some insight into the academic take on
professionalism, in particular professional courtesy.
It helped confirm for me that I have things to say
that are not being said...so it gave me insights into
my own insight as well.
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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

http://vancouver.ca/newscalendar/park-board-launchesbold-trans-inclusive-awarenesscampaign.aspx

3. TRANSITIONING ACADEMIC IDENTITY?


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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Student identity issues


Cultural, e.g., international students (We dont
talk about this in my culture)

Religious
Hobbies
Sexual/gender, incl. cisnormative, trans

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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

Helpful? Appropriate?
Gender transition sometimes normalized by being
expressed in everyday terms, e.g., We are all
transitioning

BUT
How appropriate is it to parallel privileged students
transitions into scholarly life with the harsh realities
of gender transition?
Nature of transition:
Becoming something new? Becoming ones self?
Simply volitional?
Apprenticeship?
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Kate Power 2016. Not to be copied, used, or revised without explicit written permission from the copyright owner.

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