Lesbian Oppression and Marginalization: Teaching Across the Disciplines of Literary Studies and Social Work

By Tyler Hayden, Christine A. Walsh and Katherine Elizabeth Zelinsky.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper brings together the (seemingly) disparate disciplines of Literature and Social Work to investigate issues of teaching lesbian representation, oppression, and marginalization. We will begin by exploring the ways in which such issues remain themselves marginalized in both Literary Studies and Social Work, and how these institutional practices impede imaginative and actual collaborative interchanges. We argue here that Literary Studies and Social Work are not just complementary but, in fact, inextricable pedagogical and disciplinary perspectives from which to explore lesbian literary texts within personal, social and political contexts. In this paper we review the literature regarding pedagogical approaches to teaching lesbian oppression within both disciplines and we outline three bodies of theory that encompass these disciplines, which can inform the development of the course and the pedagogical practices within it. In closing we provide recommendations for course development.

Keywords: Lesbian, Oppression, Collaborative Teaching, Literary Studies, Social Work

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp.533-542. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.224MB).

Tyler Hayden

Graduate Student, Department of English, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Tyler Hayden is a graduate student working on his M.A in English at the University of Calgary. His research interests include creative writing and contemporary literary theory.

Dr. Christine A. Walsh

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Christine A. Walsh is an Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work University of Calgary. Her teaching interests include community-based and art-based research practice, issues of social justice and oppression and experiential education within community-university partnerships. She has a program of collaborative research with communities affected by poverty and homelessness and other forms of arginalization.

Dr. Katherine Elizabeth Zelinsky

Instructor, Department of English, Faculty of Humanities, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Katherine Zelinsky is an Instructor at The University of Calgary. She teaches a wide range of undergraduate courses across the genres, as well as courses in Lesbian Textual Space, Illness Narratives, and Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Literature and Class-Consciousness. Her area of specialization is Eighteenth-Century Fiction, in particular, Women’s Fiction. Her current research interests include lesbian pedagogy and marginalization, and the Female Elegiac Tradition in Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”

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