Feminist Pedagogy in the Neoliberal University: The Limits of Precarious Labour

Authors

  • Jacqueline Potvin University of Guelph
  • Kimberly Dority Western University

Keywords:

adjunctification, neoliberalism, pedagogy, precarity, relationality

Abstract

In recent years, feminist pedagogy has been advanced as a strategy for disrupting the neoliberal corporatization of the university classroom. In this paper, we both recognize and trouble this disruptive potential, examining how the working conditions faced by adjunct instructors affect our ability to put our commitments to feminist pedagogy into practice. Based on our own experiences as sessional instructors, we argue that conditions such as heavy workloads, alongside limited access to institutional resources and community, contribute to faculty burn-out and hinder our ability to build and maintain feminist student-instructor relationships.  Drawing on existing scholarship on feminist pedagogy, and emerging work exploring the challenges of teaching within the neoliberal university, we argue for the need to extend and complicate dominant understandings of feminist pedagogy as a series of values and practices that individual instructors can implement, and to recognize how its enactment is limited by the adjunctification of higher education.

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Author Biographies

Jacqueline Potvin, University of Guelph

Jacqueline Potvin is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph. Her research draws on theories of reproductive justice, biopolitics, and medicalization to examine critically how maternal and reproductive health is framed and addressed in international development policy and programming, including Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Kimberly Dority, Western University

Kimberly Dority holds a PhD in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies from Western University. Her work takes up feminist and critical phenomenology alongside dance to examine habitual perception and its role in racialization. She continues to explore arts-based research and her interest in feminist pedagogy.  

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Published

2022-04-19

Issue

Section

Original Research