The Intro Course: A Pedagogical Toolkit


  • Jocelyn Thorpe University of Manitoba
  • Sonja Boon
  • Lisa Bednar
  • Rachel Hurst
  • Krista Johnston
  • Heather Latimer
  • Marie Lovrod
  • Carla Rice
  • Alissa Trotz


Teaching, Introductory Courses


This article offers ideas and strategies for teaching introductory-level courses in Gender and Women’s Studies by providing the responses of eleven experienced educators who were asked two questions: What main theme or idea do you hope students will learn in the introductory class you teach? And what practical strategies do you use in the classroom to achieve that learning objective?

Cet article propose des idées et des stratégies pour enseigner les cours d’introduction aux Études sur le genre et les femmes en fournissant les réponses d’onze éducatrices chevronnées à qui l’on a posé deux questions : Quel thème ou quelle idée principale espérez-vous que les étudiants apprennent dans la classe d’introduction que vous enseignez? Et quelles stratégies pratiques utilisez-vous en classe pour atteindre cet objectif d’apprentissage?


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Author Biographies

Jocelyn Thorpe, University of Manitoba

Jocelyn Thorpe is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Manitoba. She has taught different versions of the introductory course, including Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies in the Humanities, since 2010. Her research examines the history and social and environmental legacies of colonialism in the Canadian context. She is the author ofTemagami’s Tangled Wild: Race, Gender, and the Making of Canadian Nature (UBC Press 2012), and co-editor with Stephanie Rutherford and L. Anders Sandberg of Methodological Challenges in Nature-Culture and Environmental History Research (Routledge 2017).

Sonja Boon

Sonja Boon is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Memorial University. She has research interests in feminist theory (particularly corporeal feminisms), life writing, and autoethnography. Her work appears or is forthcoming in such journals as Life Writing, SubStance, Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, and the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies. She teaches the introductory course regularly and enjoys engaging in pedagogical conversations and sharing ideas with colleagues at MUN and beyond.

Lisa Bednar

Lisa Bednar has been teaching Introduction to Women’s
and Gender Studies in the Social Sciences, both in
the classroom and online, at the University of Manitoba
since 2004.

Rachel Hurst

Rachel Hurst is Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at St. Francis Xavier University. Her research focuses on embodiment, (visual) culture, and power from the perspectives of psychoanalysis and decolonial thought. She also teaches the introductory course in Women’s and Gender Studies.

Krista Johnston

Krista Johnston has taught online and in-person versions of Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. She has designed and taught a number of courses in Women’s and Gender Studies for universities in Ontario and Manitoba and recently completed her dissertation on anticolonial political action and responsibilities for decolonization.

Heather Latimer

Heather Latimer is a Lecturer at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice, and the Coordinated Arts Program. Her research and teaching focus on the links among representational politics, social identities, and cultural practices. She has published articles in a number of international journals, including Feminist Theory, Social Text, and Modern Fiction Studies. In 2013, she published her first book, Reproductive Acts: Sexual Politics in North American Fiction and Film (McGill-Queen’s). Since she began teaching full-time in 2009, she has always taught first-year and introductory classes in gender and social justice.

Marie Lovrod

Marie Lovrod is Coordinator of Women’s and Gender Studies and Assistant Professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan. She has facilitated her own and student learning through the Introduction to Women’s Studies for two decades. Her research addresses intersecting constructions of childhood, youth, and aging in the context of traumas and resiliencies produced as localized effects of global capitalization. She values communities of practice that respect research, learning, and social environments as inclusive spaces.

Carla Rice

Carla Rice is Canada Research Chair in Care, Gender, and Relationships in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences at University of Guelph, a position she assumed after serving as Associate Professor in Gender and Women’s Studies at Trent University. Her research in the fields of critical psychology, equity education, gender and sexual development, and women’s health spans three major areas of focus: diverse women’s narratives of embodiment in the passage to womanhood; arts-based inquiry into the experiences of people with disabilities and bodily differences in social and professional encounters; and qualitative research into the body as an equity issue in school settings. For several years, she co-taught Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies with Marg Hobbs, and the two recently collaborated on the introductory reader Gender and Women’s Studies in Canada: Critical Terrain (Women’s Press 2013).

Alissa Trotz

Alissa Trotz is Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, and Caribbean Studies, at New College, University of Toronto. She took the lead in the transformation of the flagship introductory Women and Gender Studies course to reflect a transnational focus and has taught it for over a decade. (For the last three years, the course has been team taught by June Larkin and Alissa Trotz.) She is also Associate Faculty at the Dame Nita Barrow Institute of Gender and Development Studies at the Cave Hill Campus (Barbados) of the University of the West Indies. For the past seven years, Alissa has edited a weekly newspaper column, “In the Diaspora,” in the Stabroek News, a Guyanese independent newspaper, and she is a member of Red Thread Women's Organization in Guyana.


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37.2 - Belaboured Introductions