Becoming Radically Undone: Discourses of Identity and Diversity in the Introductory Gender and Women’s Studies Classroom


  • Carly Thomsen Rice University


diversity, identity, pedagogy, Women's Studies


I suggest here that introductory Gender and Women’s Studies courses must teach students the narratives that feminism tells about itself and of related activist movements and that we also must engage students in critiquing these very narratives. Drawing from Robyn Wiegman’s (2012) Object Lessons and Sara Ahmed’s (2012a) On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life, I argue that feminist teachers must critically interrogate our utilization of discourses of identity and diversity in the feminist classroom.

Je suggère ici que les cours d’introduction aux Études sur le genre et les femmes doivent enseigner aux étudiantes les discours que le féminisme fait sur lui-même et les mouvements activistes associés et que nous devons également inciter les étudiantes à critiquer ces discours. En m’appuyant sur les articles Object Lessons (2012) de Robyn Wiegman et On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012)de Sara Ahmed, j’affirme que les enseignantes féministes doivent s’interroger d’un œil critique sur leur utilisation des discours de l’identité et de la diversité dans la salle de classe féministe.


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Author Biography

Carly Thomsen, Rice University

Carly Thomsen Carly Thomsen is Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at Middlebury College.  After completing her Ph.D. in Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, she held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Rice University. Her work on queer rurality and on reproductive justice is published or forthcoming  Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Feminist Studies, Feminist Formations, Queering the Countryside: New Frontiers in Rural Queer Studies, and The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory.


Ahmed, Sara. 2012a. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

_____. 2012b. Review of Object Lessons. Feminist Theory 13 (3): 345-348.

Ferguson, Roderick. 2012. The Reorder of Things: The University and its Pedagogies of Minority Difference. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Hemmings, Clare. 2011. Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Thomsen, Carly. 2015. “The Post-Raciality and Post-Spatiality of Calls for LGBTQ and Disability Visibility.” Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 30 (1): 149-166.

Thomsen, Carly. Forthcoming. “In Plain(s) Sight: Rural LGBTQ Women and the Politics of Visibility.” In Queering the Countryside: New Directions in Rural Queer Studies, edited by Mary Gray, Colin Johnson, and Brian Gilley. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Wiegman, Robyn. 2012. Object Lessons. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.


Additional Files





37.2 - Belaboured Introductions